After an exciting win over Arizona State, some still are concerned about the 2017 version of Texas Tech and its defense. Just in case you are still doubting, this team is better. Leaps and bounds better than the 2016 squad that lost 4 games within one possession. Nic Shimonek is silencing doubters with every pass, like every incoming QB has done outside of Graham Harrell (06) and Taylor Potts (09), neither of them were that bad. The defense is much improved and it shows in almost every statistical category. And what has been a sore spot in recent years or just plain non-existent, Texas Tech’s special teams has been rather special in the first two games. So as we recap the Arizona St win and look ahead to Houston, let’s get to this week’s mailbag.
Mason Reed was a growing factor last year and looks to continue his production this year. Technically a full-back, he’s exactly what Kingsbury needs from that position in his offense. Reed has size, decent speed and above average hands... not to mention he just seems to make plays every opportunity he gets. I wouldn’t say he’ll get specified targets his way, but on a key third down look for Reed to make a big play.
Yes and here’s why:
Arizona St 2016: 68 points
QB Watkins – 28/37 351 2-0
RB Ballage – 13 – 137 – 7
RB Richard – 30 – 109
WR Harry – 6 – 72 – 1
Total offense: 652 (301 rushing)
Arizona St 2017: 45 points
QB Watkins – 27/41 326 3-0
RB Ballage – 16 – 56 – 1
RB Richard – 15 – 53 -1
WR Harry – 13 – 148 – 1
Total offense: 494 (168 rushing)
Also doing something we haven’t done much of and that’s get a stop late in the game so the offense could have a game winning drive. We also had some 2nd stringers in due to injuries. Not every play or series, but Dorsey (S) was banged up. Jah’Shawn was cramping quite a bit. Among others. We can be excited that an ASU team returning all their playmakers didn’t get close to what they were able to do last year.
Real reason this game was so close was on Kingsbury (who said as much in post game) going conservative too early in the 2nd half (possibly looking ahead to Houston) and Gibbs going more prevent when the nagging injuries forced some of the 1st teamers out.
Penalties come from two places: Discipline and Aggressiveness. While most post play penalties come down to discipline, most penalties during the play are chalked up to aggressiveness. In recent years, Tech has tried to combat the penalty problem by not being as physical and in turn have given up big plays and a lot of yards. Especially last year where Tech also had a downturn in takeaways on defense. It’s a fine line to walk. Sometimes you have to choose one or the other. If you want to be more sure of tackles, turnovers will suffer. If you go for turnovers, you’ll get a few more, but you’ll also miss more tackles.
I’m fine with penalties as long as they are due to players being physical and setting a tone of aggressiveness. I can’t deal with penalties caused by mental breakdowns, being out of position or failing to control emotions. I think most of the coaching staff would agree.
Did Scott Jordan eat half a chicken? And if we bring roof matador back will the D last longer into 2nd half? pic.twitter.com/iM3A7zySpL— VivaTheDumpster Fire (@vivathedumpster) September 17, 2017
I buried Scott Jordan. Whatever curse he thought he was the cause of... I took care of it. As far as the “Roof Matador” I think it would be awesome. I also think Tech should invest in next-gen lights like at Sun-Trust Park that they can dim at will, and strobe for entrances, timeouts and reviews. Imagine a “Raider Power” chant with the lights dimmed and everyone having their cell phones out right before Tech takes the field or during a timeout. This but in the football stadium:
Turn down the lights - it's time for the Electronic Chop at SunTrust Park! #Braves pic.twitter.com/6fyfaie87a— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) September 10, 2017
Why didn't Texas Tech pull away when they had the chance. What SHOULD the score have been if the team kept playing hard?— Zach Mason (@ZachMasonSports) September 17, 2017
The team did keep playing hard. Play calling on both sides of the ball were to blame for Arizona St coming back to tie it. Not to mention some injuries in the secondary which changed the scheme slightly.
You also have to give credit to Arizona St. They returned all their playmakers from last year that put 68 on Tech (sans Tim White). They also might only win one other game this year. The rest of their schedule goes: Oregon, @Stanford, Washington, @Utah, USC, Colorado, @UCLA, @Oregon St, Arizona. The one win being Oregon St? That’s a brutal schedule.
But if all things being equal and the first half played out similarly in the 2nd.. I could have seen Tech winning 63-27.
1. What was most to blame for second half-collapse?— Cooper Burnett (@cooptr34) September 17, 2017
2. How much better is Houston than ASU?
I understand the question, but I’m not sure I would call it a collapse. Arizona St returned all of it’s offensive play-makers from last year when they hung 68 on Tech. Last year’s Tech team would have lost this game to be sure, but this isn’t last year’s team. They are better in every way including, dare I say, quarterback.
Kingsbury took blame for his poor play-calling and probably too conservative play-calling. Gibbs also went more prevent it seemed in the 2nd half with injuries to some of the secondary.
I think an Arizona St vs Houston game would be awesome to watch. That’s how much I think they compare evenly. One thing Tech cannot let Houston do that they let Arizona St do is have the ball for 5:00 more minutes in the humidity. Part of that is was due to Tech scoring quickly, but it showed in the 2nd half a bit. Now the question is, do you forgo a quick for sure touchdown for a prolonged drive that may end in something other than a TD?
Why did we not have a end zone/pylon cam angle for that "fumble" for the touchback. Obviously couldn't overturn but looked like it crossed— Alex (@APTTU) September 18, 2017
I have no idea why there wasn’t a pylon/goaline cam. That’s Fox’s department of where they set up the cameras. College games also don’t have the number of cameras an NFL game has. The coaches usually know from the replay in the booth whether or not there is a chance the call could be overturned. Because Kingsbury seemed to be okay with the ruling, makes it seem that whatever was seen in the coordinator booth was satisfactory enough to know Nisby fumbled. From what I could tell, it crossed, but he no longer had possession. Fingers touching does not constitute possession. And honestly, after the Coleman strip and return last year against Texas... let’s call it even.
Should we be worried about offensive slump seeing that Nick doesn't extend the play on his feet— Arkansas Raider (@ArkRedRaider) September 17, 2017
I’m not worried at all about Shimonek or the offense. This offense is actually more efficient than it was under Mahomes. Yes, Mahomes could make plays with his feet, but often times that was a result of missed reads earlier in his progression. Shimonek went 37/50 for 543 yards, 6 TDs and 0 INTs. Better numbers than Mahomes vs ASU last year.
That’s it for this week! Thanks for everyone who sent in questions. Look for the next mailbag to be posted after the game against Houston. Leave any follow up questions in the comments!