Well here we are. For the first time this season the Red Raiders have found themselves below .500 after a disappointing four game losing streak. What makes this especially hard to swallow is the fact that Texas Tech could just as easily be 7-2 or even 8-1. So what happened? Blame seems to fall on either the kicker, the quarterback or the coach. So who is really to blame, and does there need to be a change?
The Red Raiders have not made a field goal since October 7th when Matthew Cluck hit a 26 yarder during a 65-19 route of the Kansas Jayhawks. Since then the kicking unit have gone 0-5 in field goals with several missed extra points.
So how much has this actually affected the Red Raiders? Three missed field goals against West Virginia prevented Tech from putting the game away and allowed the Mountaineers to come back without altering their scheme. In addition missed extra points and field goals put extra pressure on the offense and caused Kingsbury to significantly change the game plan (it was the poor kicking play that influenced the decision to go to overtime against Kansas State).
Shimonek has been technically solid for the Red Raiders. The fifth year senior has thrown for 3068 yards and 26 touchdowns and has a 69% completion rate. With numbers like that it's clear that he doesn't make a lot of mistakes. The problem is that when he does make mistakes, they are incredibly costly (i.e. the final throw against Kansas State that ended up in the stands). I also think that Shimonek may have some situational awareness issues (throwing the ball short on 4th and long situations etc...).
It makes sense to blame the coach. After all, he is running the show. Kingsbury is an offensive mastermind whose record with quarterbacks speaks for itself. In four seasons Kingsbury has managed to field consistent top 10 offenses and last place defenses. This year the defense is improving but the offense has been underperforming. Blown leads and 4th quarter meltdowns also seem to be a trend for the young coach.
So who exactly is to blame for the disappointing start to the season? The answer is a little of all three.
Losing Hatfield in the preseason was probably the most damaging thing to happen. Not having a competent kicker on the roster has had an astonishing effect on the offense who now has to score or die on every possession. Unfortunately, when the injury bug bites, no one is immune. The good news is now that Hatfield is back, the kicking game should drastically improve. He did miss his only field goal attempt against Kansas State, but it was also his first attempt since the Baylor game last season. I expect to see much improvement in the coming weeks.
Shimonek is a good quarterback. He is also a first time starter, and that fact is never more apparent than in high pressure situations. The problem with Shimonek is the fact that he is a one and done starter. It might be time to start developing the next quarterback but I'm not sure if McLane Carter is that guy. To be fair I said the same thing about Patrick Mahomes in 2014 so you never know.
Of course Kingsbury gets a share of the blame simply because he's steering the ship, but how much blame actually falls on his shoulders? Late game collapses have been an issue since 2013 and the defense is still recovering from the disaster that was Matt Wallerstedt. Where I keep coming back to Kingsbury is the fact that the issues from the previous seasons seem to have improved. Where Tech has struggled this season has been the offense. Wth Kingsbury running the ship, you have to believe that the offense will get back on track in the coming years once their is an established quarterback again.
What's your take?
Who is most responsible for the losing streak?
This poll is closed
All of the above
None of the above