Prologue: The response to the mailbag after the West Virginia has been overwhelming. I honestly don’t know where to start. One-hundred and eighty four comments on the Facebook post alone. Some are just comments. Fan outrage over a missed opportunity looking for anyone and everyone to blame. But even if half of those comments are just comments, that means ninety-two are questions. NINETY TWO! So it’s safe to say I will not be answering all of them. When there are ten to twenty, I’ll put each of them in here and give and answer. So if you don’t see yours answered, I apologize in advance. If you really want yours answered, ask again in the comments.
It’s going to be a long one. Get some coffee and buckle in. Let’s do it.
This is a very valid question. The responses of angry fans on Facebook places blame on Kingsbury’s play-calling to being out-coached as a staff to Nic Shimonek being awful and needing to move on. First, to the actual question...
The answer is fairly obvious and at the same time fairly infuriating. Both as the actual cause and the answer. First downs. In each of the games where a drive or drives have stalled to allow ASU, UH, OSU and now WVU back into games is because of getting “behind the chains” on first down. I’ll give you an example from the West Virginia game.
Fans say the entire second half was horrible... simply not true. The 3rd quarter went quite well in fact. Tech and WVU traded punts to open the quarter. Tech went down and scored to make it 35-17 and then, penalties allowed WVU new life again and again (we’ll get to that later) and they too scored at TD to make it 35-24. Tech marches down the field to answer, stalls and then misses a FG. Instead of caving, Tech’s defense draws up back to back blitz’s and sacks Grier twice, making it 3rd and 29, I believe. The next play was an arm-punt that was intercepted by Desmon Smith with 0:01 left in the quarter. This is where it goes wrong.
The first play was a inside bubble screen that was caught and downed for a half-yard gain to end the quarter. Which puts Tech in a 2nd and long to open the quarter. Instead of running it, Kingsbury goes for the kill, but is unable to execute and goes 3 & out. Throughout the final quarter, Kingsbury was going for the kill. Play action deep pass to play action deep pass, that Shimonek pulled down, moved the pocket and was either sacked or threw it away. This is the same play action that had worked so well in the first half, including Shimonek’s strike to TJ Vasher seen here:
How did he do that?!— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 14, 2017
T.J. Vasher went wayyyy up in this #SCtop10 @CocaCola Instant Replay. pic.twitter.com/GYC9q9jwun
You’ll see that Vasher has his man beat with no over the top help from a high safety. That’s what Shimonek saw, he pulled the trigger. Later in the game, WVU started taking it away. Kingsbury, based on the heavy run attack of the previous scoring drive in the 3rd quarter probably thought he had this set up and could put the game away. WVU may have disguised the coverage, but for whatever the reason, Shimonek didn’t let if fly and it put Tech behind the sticks. A few 3 & outs and all the momentum shifted to WVU and the rest his history.
As for the play calling aspect. Half the fans wanted him to run the ball. The other half wanted the killer instinct and deliver a kill shot. We also have probably the best play caller in the history of Texas Tech, in Kingsbury, and people think he’s horrible at it. One fan even reminisced about Mike Leach never taking his foot off the gas and how great that was. Now I love Mike Leach more than most, but that is a thick tint of rose on his glasses. Mike Leach has lost more games by not taking his foot off the gas than he has by going conservative. Not to mention him blowing a bowl game against Colorado State:
Man does that look familiar. Washington State up 35-13 at one point. Gets outscored 35-10 the rest of the way. This is the same game that WSU’s QB threw for 6 TDs. But hey, memories are always thought of in a fonder light than what reality really was. It’s why people obsess over ex’s.
As far as Nic’s performance... I’ll just leave this here:
This is something that people have been saying for at least a season and a half now. The problem is, there is no measurable improvement bringing Sonny Cumbie in to replace Kingsbury. He’s a poor man’s Kliff Kingsbury. He’s not near the play-caller or offensive mind as Kingsbury and if you do replace Kingsbury, you’ll have to do better than Cumbie. He’s an offensive coordinator, with no head coaching experience. Young coach, former Tech QB. It’s all hopes and dreams that all the problems perceived as Kingsbury’s fault would magically fix themselves when replaced with someone exactly like Kingsbury was coming in, in 2013... just not as good. Makes no sense.
This would be the kind of overreaction I’m talking about. Shimonek has excellent stats. He’s posting a 70% completion percentage for 2134 yards (on pace for 4268) and an 18-4 touchdown to interception ratio (on pace for 36-8). The season he’s putting together is actually very comparable to Patrick Mahomes’ 2015 season. That year, Mahomes had a 63.5% completion percentage for 4653, 36 TDs and 15 Ints. That Tech team was pretty good and went 7-5.
As for the kicking situation, Clayton Hatfield is injured. And our kickoff specialist is trying to make the best of a bad situation. This isn’t anything new. We new this was a problem from Week 1 when we heard Hatfield was hurt. He’s not coming back anytime soon and will probably try to get a medical redshirt. You need to hope that Barden can improve otherwise you’re just placing blame just to place blame. If there were better people, they’d be playing. This is your team. They are 4-2 and in good shape going forward.
No. Duffey just got back from a year long suspension where he wasn’t allowed to even attend the university. He won’t be a viable option until next season. Carter maybe, but why pull Shimonek when he’s putting up really good numbers? Kliff would basically be signing his own pink slip to pull Shimonek for an unproven (Spring practice and game included) Carter just to switch things up. Especially when Tech’s 4-2 and outperforming 90% of Tech fan’s pre-season predictions.
Penalties happen. The only thing that’s on the staff is pre-snap penalties. When the game is in progress, it’s on the player. The ridiculous part is that Tech was called for a penalty on almost every play on WVU’s scoring drive in the 3rd quarter. Anyone who watches the game knows that’s just insane. Referee’s interjecting themselves in the game to an incredible degree. I mean, since when is shushing the crowd EVER been taunting?
I would say the actual number of penalties was somewhere in the 9 range, but not 16. One was a bogus pass interference call on Willie Sykes on a 4th an 1 that would have killed that drive. You remember it, it was the one that WVU’s WR had to dive for and wouldn’t have caught it anyway. Everyone was scratching their heads on that one.
You might be reading the wrong articles. Many varied opinions on the staff just like amongst the fan base.
I know you’re making a joke because Texas Tech doesn’t have a men’s soccer team. Good try though. And kicking is difficult. Even Alabama had issues a few years ago. And let’s not act like NFL kickers are just automatic either. And before we start talking about bringing someone out of the stands, though awesome, Matt Williams was never used for long-distance or high pressure situations. He was mainly an extra point guy. Anytime it was at distance, Leach went with Donnie Carona.
I am too. But the sad thing is, everyone does it except Leach up in Washington State. I call it “Prairie Dogging”. It’s not new at Tech either. Tech QBs have been doing this every play of every year since 2010. Neal Brown had Potts, Sheffield, and Deoge do it. Kingsbury has had Mayfield, Webb, Mahomes and now Shimonek do it. But again, it’s not just Tech. Lincoln Riley does it at OU, Gundy does it at OSU, Cumbie does it at TCU. It’s a been a thing. It’s everywhere.
Never know what the circumstances are in a game. Nisby could have tweaked something in warm-up or during the week of practice and was limited. Even without him, the running game did fine. Stockton is avg 6.7 yards per carry, which is more than Nisby averages.
As far as Shimonek goes, yes he isn’t a scrambler. He needs to step up in the pocket and deliver the ball. His internal clock maybe going off a little early than needs to, but this was only his 6th start. He’s getting better each week and to his credit completed several throws after escaping the pocket, just wasn’t able to when blitzed.
On a separate note, a lot of fans are complaining about either Shimonek not running the ball more to keep the defense honest or saying he panics too quickly and doesn’t trust the pocket. I can only hope the same criticisms were said about Mahomes, because he was guilty of the same thing.
Amen man! Honestly, we are back where we were under Tuberville. Half the fan base loving that Leach was gone, half upset with Tuberville and wanting a new coach. Fans right now are divided between, supporting Kingsbury and half saying we need to get someone else in.
One of two things will have to happen to quell the either side. 1) Win the National Championship. Sad, but true. Some fan’s expectations are so out there, any loss is unacceptable. People were angry that Leach would win 8 games a year, but was never able to get Tech over the top. Not knowing that since 1960, Tech has averaged 6.3 wins per year. That includes Leach’s 10 seasons. Take those away and it’s 5.8. Not saying we should be content with that, but for the last 60 years it’s been a historical trend. I think most are upset who we are losing to. I think if you asked some of these disgruntled fans they’d be happy to go 4-8 if it meant beating, OU, OSU, Tex and Baylor. Then two minutes later they’d turn around and complain about not being able to beat West Virginia. So I don’t know. What I do know is it doesn’t do much for Tech’s recruiting effort or the morale of the team.
No and no. Neither are a significant upgrade over Kliff Kingsbury, just someone “other” than Kingsbury. Kingsbury has had a Top 10 offense every year he’s been here. He’s probably the greatest play caller Tech has ever had, including Leach (which isn’t a knock on Leach, just talking offensive statistics). We have a defense that’s improving. Held a Top 30 rushing team and the #1 rusher in the Big 12 to -8 yards rushing through 3 quarters and ended up only giving up 44 yards on the ground of the game. The have a +9 turnover margin and Tech is 4-2. Which is saying a lot because Tech had one of the hardest schedules in the country coming into the season. Every game is winnable and I still see Tech winning 8 games.
Because in the mind’s of crazed fans, anyone is better than who we have. See Chris Todd over Graham Harrell in 2006 for reference. haha smh
Is it time for Kliff to give up play-calling duties? Where’s Hatfield? What exactly just happened??— Cooper Burnett (@cooptr34) October 14, 2017
No. Again, Kliff is probably the best play caller Tech has ever had. Yes, even better than Leach from a statistical standpoint. Though your question is valid, we need to remember that only Tech fans can complain about an offense that is ranked 7th overall and 4th in scoring. I think we are spoiled. And a lot of that spoiling has been under Kliff’s watch. He’s raised the bar so high, he’s having trouble meeting it this year.
As for Hatfield, he’s injured. Most likely a groin/hip flexer injury. I wouldn’t expect to see him the rest of the year now that we are into Game Week #7. Gotta make due with either a True Freshman, who missed one against Houston, or our Kickoff specialist who is doing the best he can. Hatfield will probably apply for a Medical Redshirt and get two more years with Tech.
1 out of 10 years we are worthy of ranking, every other time we get ranked, we prove we're not.. @texastechfb #wreckem— Wes Culbertson (@realjwc) October 14, 2017
It’s important to remember that rankings are for what you have done in the past. So if Tech was ranked #24 after 5 games... that means that after 5 games they are the #24 ranked team and it has no bearing on the following week. And losing the week after earning a ranking doesn’t mean you didn’t deserve it or were overrated. Besides, losing to West Virginia isn’t like Clemson losing to Syracuse or Washington St losing to Cal. West Virginia was ranked #23 going into TCU the previous weekend, was tied in the 4th and lost by 7. They beat us and they are once again ranked #23.
By the way, Tech is still receiving votes for the Top 25. And rankings tend to take care of themselves. It’s fun, but it’s not everything.
Why can’t we play a complete game? Also, do we get to bring those two remaining time outs into the next game?— Justin Dorsey (@thedorsenator) October 14, 2017
If your definition of a complete game is to sustain an unrealistic video game level success for 60 minutes, we probably never will. The other team makes adjustments and fights to stop you. Look at Arizona St. We were up 21-3 after the 1st and though they came back, we held on to win. I think that is a complete game. Not to mention ASU went on to beat Oregon and #5 Washington.
And Tech only had one at the end of the game. After the interception, down by 11, not much you can do with 30 secs, no timeouts and getting the ball on your own 20 (after a hypothetical punt by WVU). Would need to drive 80 yards, score a TD, get an onside kick and score another TD.
Exactly what does happen during halftime?— Kevin Cole (@kcole8007) October 14, 2017
Halftime adjustments. Ankles tapped. Equipment mended. Focus and schemes. Which we did very well in the 3rd quarter. The 4th quarter was the problem and it’s because there was a lack of success on 1st down that got us behind the markers.
On 2nd and 3rd and long earlier in the game, no one complained about the draw plays Kliff was drawing up that were going for big gains. He tried to do it again late and the Mountaineers adjusted. Just how it goes.
If' TTU continues a losing streak..which is likely-will KK use backup QBs Carter or Duffy for game experience in prep of next season?— MoscaNoche (@ElMoscanoche) October 15, 2017
Tech would have to be 4-7 before a change would be made. Shimonek is putting up really good numbers comparable to Mahomes in 2015 and Tech is 4-2. No reason to put in an unproven JUCO who struggled in the spring or Duffey who just got back from a year long suspension where he wasn’t even allowed to attend Texas Tech and just got back at the end of August.
So there you have it folks. A lot of people saying the same things. “Kliff can’t coach, we want Cumbie or Morris. “ “Shimonek can’t play QB. We want the guy who was suspended for a year and just got back on the field in August”
Epilogue: I feel bad for all the fans pulling their season tickets as if it’s going to force a bottom line change like a pro team. Going to college football games is an experience to be shared with kids and grandkids and enjoyed win or lose. When you pull money all you’re doing is hurting the program more than just trying to get a coaching change made. Look at Kansas. The years that those fans have starved that program will be hard to overcome from an operational budget standpoint. That AD isn’t going to spend money on new facilities or a big name head coach (espcially after Wiess and Gill). Tech is 4-2 and everyone is acting like they haven’t won a game all year. I’m not sure what level of success will satisfy some of you. Whatever your measure of success, I would recommend continuing to go to games... sell out the Jones against Iowa State. Nothing sends a message more to a team than a sold out stadium after a tough loss. They’ll come out like gangbusters.
Until next week. Guns up!