Prologue: Lots of thoughts and feelings going on this week. From the exultation of being ranked for the firs time since 2013 to the great sadness and despair of losing one of our Texas Tech Policemen to a senseless act, we’ve been all over the map. Earlier in the week I edited a hype video to get everyone into the upcoming game at West Virginia and now, I’m having trouble getting excited about it.
We, as Red Raiders, see Lubbock and the Tech campus almost as a separate nation. We feel great sadness when tragedy comes calling to our fellow citizens, whether it’s a hurricane or shooting we feel it. But when it comes to Texas Tech, it’s home. It’s a place I have always felt safe and secure. We’ve all been students there. Some of us send or want to send our kids there. We bring our kids to sporting events so they can share in the pageantry and grandeur of our HOME. And for the first time that I can truly recall, our home came under attack and I feel as shaken as if someone came into my house with the intent to hurt my family.
Texas Tech, the city of Lubbock and the greater West Texas area will obviously come together and be stronger. But when you look beyond the act... to the person and his wife and two kids, our heart breaks.
It’s always our intention here at Viva to make watching Texas Tech sporting events fun. So that’s what I’ll try to do with the mailbag. So, without further adieu...
As a coach I only recommend FRS. It doesn’t have the sugar that a lot of other energy drinks have and it’s mainly used by triathletes and marathon runners. Though I wouldn’t recommend pushing yourself too hard for an 11am game.
The reality is likely more in the 8-4, 9-3 range like it is this year. That’s the crazy thing about college football is the turnover. We may still have our defensive core, but we’ll lose Nic Shimonek, Justin Stockton, Derrick Willies, and Cameron Batson, among others. That’s not to say we don’t have a chance, but winning in college football is harder than most people think. Everything has to fall into place. Tech’s most memorable year in 2008 had most of it fall into place. A lot of seniors in starting positions, which is why their was a drop off in 2009 (if we can call 9-4 a drop off).
We have Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia at home, but we go to Stillwater, Fort Worth and Ames. Not too mention a tough non-conference schedule with an opener against Ole Miss (in Houston) and Houston paying us a visit in a revenge game.
It was coming. Derrick Willies last two games, Houston and Oklahoma State, were down for him. Too many drops and too many pre-snap penalties. Quan Shorts has shown he can be a reliable receiver and though Willies has talent, no better time to refocus him by showing him the bench than against a weak Kansas team.
Either way, Tech’s depth at wide receiver is one thing we shouldn’t worry about. Everyone should get their touches and Kingsbury has said openly, that starting positions are all up for competition during the week. Which is good when the expectation was set all spring practice and fall camp.
After beating West Virginia in 2013, we’ve had them on the ropes in both 2014 and 2015. Last year was awful on so many levels, but don’t think of West Virginia as better than Tech in any way, shape, or form.
Kingsbury should have enough experience with teams dropping eight to start picking them apart in the passing game, if we can run the ball with only 3 in the box. Either way, we’ll win if we don’t beat ourselves. Outside of last year, our losses to West Virginia have been mainly self-inflicted. This is the first test to really see how the kicking game is going to be going forward. Can Texas Tech kick field goals and extra points? If we need a FG will we come away with points or will we give West Virginia a short field after a miss? And of course... no blocked punts.
Why? They beat Texas last year. That earned them at least another 4 years. And besides, there was a time other schools were saying that about us. haha
Jett Duffey had a “sore arm”. Take what you will from that. I’m not sure if that’s code for violation of team rules or what, but we know very well that a “sore arm” wouldn’t necessarily keep a quarterback from traveling. However, it could be that innocent and didn’t feel like he would be needed and left him in Lubbock. I’d be interested to see if he makes the trip to Morgantown. That’ll say a lot more about what’s up with him than anything else.
This has now been the comment used before Arizona St, Houston and Oklahoma State. How much farther is this going to go if Tech keeps winning. There seems to be a group of fans who are so fearful of disappointment that being ranked isn’t enough reason to garner any excitement at all.
But just wait, if Tech beats West Virginia, Iowa State and, just for fun, Oklahoma, those same people will say, “Calm down, get back to me after TCU”. Smh.
TTU somehow always turns into Fredo when they become ranked for the 1st time during a season. Make me a believer it won’t happen this time? pic.twitter.com/vaoQuJUspF— Rico (@TX_Linx) October 9, 2017
I will remind everyone though that rankings are for what you have done to this point, not a prediction of the remainder of the season. I remember in 2013, people said Tech was overrated at #10. In one sense that was true, but the ranking only pointed out that after the first seven games they were the 10th best team in the country. Too many people think it’s about the team going forward. It’s not.
But if you must have reasons for why Tech will beat West Virginia and move up to #21/22, I’ll give it a go.
West Virginia is ranked #105 in Total Defense and 109th in Rushing Defense. Feed the rock to Justin Stockton, Desmond Nisby and Tre King and we will roll West Virginia. I think their offense is inflated as the only two powers they have faced, Virginia Tech and TCU, they put up 24 points in each game. The inflated numbers came against East Carolina, Del State and Kansas. So take their #3 in Total Offense with a grain of salt.
With our improved rushing attack and defense, if we can have steady special teams, we should handle this game quite easily. I’d say in the 48-27 range for a Texas Tech victory.
Will feeding Nisby continue to be a big focus going forward? Also, how are we gonna cover Sills?— Cooper Burnett (@cooptr34) October 9, 2017
Kingsbury said this past week was the first week he didn’t second guess the run game. Even after Nisby was stuffed the first few carries, he didn’t go away from the run like he has in the past. He let the offensive line keep pounding and winning in the trenches and it paid off. I would look for more of the same this week against West Virginia, though whether it’s Nisby, Stockton or King, I don’t know.
You’re going to see some bracket coverage in man, and a lot of zone. Gibbs has never been one to blitz all that much, so I’d expect him to try to sit back and make Will Grier beat him. The good news is he maybe able to do just that. With an improved front seven and a less mobile quaterback (Grier), Tech may not have to allocate a player from the secondary to stop the run. This will make it easier to cover Sills, but like any player he’ll get his touches and yards, but it’ll be in moderation.
Will we be able to run all over WVU? Or at least just enough so they can't drop eight and eat us alive?— Michael Macon (@mikemacon23) October 9, 2017
Oh I think so. They are awful against the run as Kansas showed the world. Some fans might not believe yet because we still tend to inflict too many wounds to ourselves, but this Tech team is the best team Kingsbury has had since he’s been at Tech. And after losing the last 3 to his mentor, I think Kingsbury and this team have something to prove. Tech will run for 150+ yards and win by double digits.
Ranked and will be an underdog going into West Virginia? How many times has TT been ranked and then lose the next week?— VivaThe Dumpsterfire (@vivathedumpster) October 9, 2017
The latest line is WVU by 3. Which in college football for a home team, is basically Tech by 3. West Virginia is struggling and have lost the two games against power opponents and were thrashed pretty good by Kansas in a winning effort. West Virginia is the 2014 version of Tech with a better defense. They’ll put up some points no doubt, but this Tech team is better in almost every way.
And as far as the second question... are we talking first week ranked or ranked period and lost? Because in 2013 we were ranked for weeks after losses. Don’t worry too much about it. If we win, it’ll take care of itself in the end. It’s just nice to have a number up there that isn’t our point total.
It may be a a stretch but looking at our remaining schedule, if we beat OU could our last home game vs TCU be for the title game?— Maguire Mathis (@MaguireMathis) October 8, 2017
If we win out I’m pretty sure we’re in the title game. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Let’s just be excited about being 4-1 and ranked for right now. If we can’t appreciate what we have, that’s when it gets taken away from us.
BU QB MCarter looked good in limited end of game snaps in E.Wash & KU. 'If' TTU is in a losing streak-will KK use MC in prep of next season?— MoscaNoche (@ElMoscanoche) October 8, 2017
First mistake is having “BU” QB Carter. I understand it’s twitter, but Carter is not a Baylor QB haha. It depends on what type of losing streak, when on the schedule and how we are losing. If we are losing because Nic Shimonek is only passing for 124 yards a game and 3 INTs a game, you better believe Carter will be in. If Shimonek is putting up typical Texas Tech stats, and we are losing because of defense... Shimonek will be the quarterback.
As for next season, I like Carter over Duffey. Everyone seems to like Duffey because he reminds them of Mahomes and the fact that Duffey was allowed back on the team after some serious allegations that led to him being suspended from the university for a year. I think Carter is the better QB, but it just depends on whether or not Kingsbury wants a lefty at that position.
That’s all this week. Thanks for your questions and be sure to check out the Air Raid Podcast later this week as well as all the articles previewing West Virginia.