Not a Promising Sign. LAJ’s Don Williams writes that the second half of yesterday’s game was not a promising sign of things to come:
Some teams don’t give up five plays longer than 55 yards in five weeks. Tech gave up that many in the second half, every unit chipping in. Special teams, pumped up after Grant’s early kick-return touchdown, returned the favor. There was a protection blunder that led to backup punter Michael Barden tucking and running – and coming up short, in his own end – when it was a 38-28 game.
Jalen McCleskey returned his next punt 67 yards for a touchdown. Barden bobbled another snap.
Barden shouldn’t be punting. He’s in there because of Taylor Symmank’s ongoing hamstring problem.
The defense doesn’t really have an excuse, never mind safety Jah’Shawn Johnson’s second-quarter ejection for targeting. He’s just one man. The Red Raiders have enough experience on that unit to get the job done. They failed miserably, no doubt feeling the heat once abandoned by the offense and the punt team.
Costly Mistakes. LAJ’s Nicholas Talbot writes that costly mistakes cost Texas Tech against Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, the Texas Tech offense sputtered for most of the third quarter.
It fumbled on a fourth and 1 in Oklahoma State territory.
It failed on its first fake punt attempt — a busted play forced by a lack of blocking by the offensive line. And the wide receivers made more than a few drops — again.
And yes, it is hard to complain about an offense that scores 53 points.
But when the offense is stopping itself, then there are issues.
And Oklahoma State rarely stopped Texas Tech.
The Cowboys hadn’t given up more than 225 yards passing this season.
They gave up 480 to the Red Raiders. Only a few teams in college football can move the ball like Texas Tech.
The Texas Two-Step. The Student Section’s Matt Zemek writes about Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Strong:
This brings up the part of coaching hires which is generally under-discussed by both fans and pundits (yes, we in the pundit class are guilty of it on a regular basis). What’s alarming is that it’s the part of coaching hires which also seems to be neglected by athletic directors when they vet the head coaching candidates they bring in.
Though Texas and Texas Tech are very different programs on many obvious levels, the Longhorns and the Red Raiders do share one fundamental trait: Inattentiveness to the coordinator position on the head coach’s “unfamiliar” side of the ball (aka, the side of the ball in which the head coach doesn’t specialize or invest most of his time) has proved to be disastrous.
The lesson should not be lost on any athletic director or search committee who pursues a coach at a Power 5 program in modern college football.
This is a good read and it is something that I think Kingsbury addressed this past offseason, it’s just that the results aren’t playing out this year. Not even a little bit. I’d also add that getting an elite defensive coordinator is sometimes incredibly difficult to get to come to the Big 12. Not impossible, just difficult.
Miscellaneous. The official site (PDF) have their notes for the game and there are no changes really to speak of as the depth chart is out-dated and largely irrelevant at this point of the season . . . LAJ’s Don Williams has his notebook for the game, including Jah’Shawn Johnson getting kicked out, Jakeem Grant’s big day, Taylor Symmank and Baylen Brown sitting out and Derrick Dixon returned after being out since the second game of the season . . . LAJ’s Carlos Silva Jr. has his report on yesterday’s game . . . the ESPN Big 12 blog bros have their power rankings for the week and moved Texas Tech up to 5th (shocking, I know) . . . LAJ’s Nicholas Talbot has a notebooky sort of article this morning on Johnson’s late hit, the run defense and where Texas Tech could go bowling . . .