Obervations – New Mexico
Crowd: I was
pretty hard on the crowd after there were 10,000 no-shows at the opener. So I
have to hand it to you for the New Mexico game. You were loud when it mattered.
Also, the Raider Power chant was as good as it’s been in awhile. That may be a
product of the band being in the south end zone.
Who’s in: Zach Winbush started in place of Sam Eguavoen
at OLB. Good to see Winbush get an opportunity to see
what he can do with the first unit. Michael Starts also got some playing time
in the second half, thus burning his redshirt. He did well, but it’s too early
to tell if it’s a good move or not. There’s a risk/reward when you do it. Best
current example is LaAdrian Waddle starting the 2009
Texas A&M game due to injury and only playing 2 games his freshman year.
I’m sure coaches now are wishing they had another year with Waddle. I’ll say
this, there has to be something either in Starts or on this team that makes
Tuberville think playing Starts will be worthwhile.
Who’s out: Marcus Kennard and Cornelius Douglas didn’t play due to injury, but are scheduled to
return for Iowa St. Tony Morales dressed out, but did not play Out for the season are Aaron Fisher and Matt Wilson. Jeremy Reynolds was carted off after getting upended on
the sky kick kickoff. He said via twitter that he had torn an ACL, which would
keep him out the remainder of the season.
Game ball –
Offense: Neal Brown. When your team
rolls up 702 yards of total offense and the balance is 54% pass and 46% run,
you’re not only doing things right, you’re doing them to near perfection. Most
impressive to me was that Texas Tech rushed for more yards against New Mexico
in one half than Texas did the entire game. Honorable mention
to Eric Ward and Kenny Williams.
Game ball - Defense:
MLBs Will Smith and Blake Dees both played a complete game making tackles on
the option and in coverage. I really like what Dees is doing. He’s a kid who
always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He may not have the
speed or athleticism of Smith, but I’d be comfortable with either a MLB. Smith
continues to get praise from coaches with his smart play.
Everything was at Doege’s disposal for most of the night, as it seemed that
almost everything that the offense tried worked. We saw another missile-screen
to Jakeem Grant that was called back because of a
penalty, but it worked and it was very reminiscent of Nehemiah Glover. The
outside receivers also had a big night. There’s no easy way to defend Texas
Tech right now and the Red Raiders are making teams pay for it. The other
really noticeable thing Texas Tech did offenseively
was put Amaro and Tyson Williams on the field at the
same time as inside receivers. Saturday was really the first glimpse we got of
what Williams could really do. He’s physical and has the speed to outrun a
linebacker in the middle of the field. On Eric Ward’s second touchdown catch,
they inverted the normal 4 receiver formation and had both inside receivers up
on the line of scrimmage and both outside receivers off the line. It was
powerful. And you saw what Ward could do with a couple of steps against his
defender on that play.
Running game: The
last time Texas Tech had two players with over 100 yards rushing in the same
game was 1998. Eric Stephens and Kenny Williams each had their moments.
Williams continues to be the more punishing of the two with highlight level
runs in consecutive weeks. Stephens is getting there. I think the bye week will
really help him recover and give him a boost before the conference season
Texas Tech again holds an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing. Fans hope
what they’re doing translates to the tougher competition that lies ahead. I
think this bodes well for the Iowa State game because it means that Cyclone QB
Steele Jantz will have to try and beat them. The one
thing that’s a little concerning is that the Red Raiders have not faced a
number one running back. Marcus Curry was sidelined for Texas State and DeMarcus Rogers was out for New Mexico as well. Texas Tech
probably would have preferred to face the best version of these offenses in non
conference, but that cannot be controlled. James White will be healthy for Iowa
State so we’ll see in two weeks if the Red Raiders can keep up the pace.
Again, they draw an incomplete. When you only face 12 pass attempts all night, there’s not a lot of conclusions that can be drawn. Eugene Neboh played well again and Bruce Jones did a good job in
place of Cornelius Douglas. D.J. Johnson and Cody Davis were helping with run
support. This unit will have to step up at some point, but it may be another
couple of weeks.
In totality, as Coach Tuberville alluded to, the Red Raiders
can’t play much better than they have in the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Part of meeting expectation is doing what you’re supposed to do, when you’re
supposed to do it and this team has done that. Now it’s time for the fun, unpredictable
part of the schedule. To some fans, this is the part that makes the rest of the
year awful, bearable, or incredible.
from around the league.
TCU has a long way to go. Yes, they beat Kansas on the road
to open Big 12 play, but they had help. The Jayhawks turned the ball over 3
times in the red zone and Dane Crist is showing why he is playing for Kansas
right now and not finishing up at Notre Dame. Kansas’ defense is better than I
thought. If their offense keeps turning the ball over, it’s not going to matter
much. I do like KU’s running game.
Texas is better offensively…maybe…and not as good as
previously thought defensively…maybe. The longhorns churned out 66 points in
Oxford against an SEC school and did it with a majority through the air. Malcom Brown returned to the lineup and Johnathan
Grey continued his progression with 50 yards. Texas also threw a few different
“Boise-type” wrinkles into the offense with Brian Harsin
using Olympian Marquis Goodwin on a reverse. Defensively the horns gave up
several big plays, which is uncharacteristic, but makes you wonder if the
offense is that much improved, they will take more chances and give up more big
plays on D.
Baylor got a scare from Sam Houston State. Watching A&M
and SMU trudge through a half, I kept wondering what this did tell us about
Baylor, but the Bears got it going in the second half. Their test will be
Friday night at Louisiana Monroe, who should be 2-0 against SEC east schools
right now. Don’t know if the scare against SHSU will be enough for the Bears or
if the loss at Auburn will let a little air out of the balloon for the Warhawks.
OSU lost QB Wes Lunt to a knee injury. We won’t know how
serious it is, and with Texas on the horizon for the Cowboys, it will be about
10 days before we know the full extent of Lunt’s injury. That said, J.W. Walsh is plenty talented. He was a rival of Scotty Young’s in high school and the two had epic battles between Denton Ryan and Guyer. There will be little to no drop off between Lunt and
Walsh. OSU still ran the ball all over Lafayette as well. Joseph Randle is the
real deal and right now, the best back in the Big 12.
West Virginia does what it does as well.
Iowa State cruises. We’ll see them in 2 weeks to open
conference play. Their run defense is stellar. I think the Red Raiders will
have to win this one through the air.
Who is the real K-State? The team that steam rolled Miami,
or the team that sputtered and then disposed of North Texas and Missouri State?