Football

Monday Morning Quarterback : Texas

This week, we’re talking about the role of weather (and an indoor practice facility), depth on the defense and Jakeem Grant.

Weather

Michael_LSRR – Hats off to the TCU/BU fans and players for sticking it out in those miserable conditions this past Friday. How hard was that to watch? I ended up just keeping up with the second half on my phone until the end of the 4th quarter and overtime. Tech had an easier night, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. Mahomes was missing throws that he normally would make, so I just chalked it up to the weather. I have a lot of faith in this guy, but I don’t expect him or any QB to excel in those conditions. An Indoor Practice Facility is getting to be commonplace in the Big 12, so our guys might as well have one. If anyone ran track in high school out in a West Texas spring, you know that you could get stuck with raining mud, 50 mph dust, a wind chill below 20 degrees, or any combination of the three. An IPF would keep conditions ideal all year, and is great for recruiting. It’s not fun to fork over money, but the Jones needs to keep up with the Joneses.

Brian DonCarlos – Thursday night looked absolutely miserable to play in. Maybe not as bad as the TCU/Baylor game, but you could clearly see the effect it had in the first half. It was actually kind of amazing that the Texas Tech defense was able to hold UT the way they did, considering that the weather definitely played more into the style of the Longhorns. It would have been interesting to see how the game had played out if the weather had been clear the entire time, but oh well, we’ll never know. I personally think it’s good that the team got to experience playing in the elements, because, regardless of an indoor practice facility or not, it’s doubtful they would ever practice in weather exactly like that. Not to say that an IPF is a bad idea, because that’s not what I think at all. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, plus it’s great recruiting fodder and it’s always nice to have a new, good looking building on campus.

MeestahRogers – The weather in this game was miserable. Not as bad as Baylor and TCU had it, but bad enough to severely alter the Texas Tech game plan. Mahomes was off early, then seemed to find his way, then the rain got worse. When DeAndre Washington struggled early on running the ball, I was afraid that everything was conspiring against Tech. Washington was able to get things going and Kingsbury was able to lean more on him to pick up big yards and do what he does best. And I know some people believe than an indoor practice facility coddles the athletes and that they need to be practicing in the elements they are going to play in, but there isn’t any way to prepare for that kind of weather, much less what was in Fort Worth on Friday night. And as stated above, it has become almost a necessity, especially in regards to recruiting.  An IPF is a good thing and I can’t wait to see what Texas Tech’s looks like.

Defensive Depth

Michael_LSRR – Things seemed to reverse a bit in my eye as the season progressed. The first half of the season, more or less, Tech’s defense would come out much better in the second half than the first, prompting all of those mythical “half time adjustments” that Gibbs himself began to joke about. I’m not sure if it was fatigue, personnel, injuries, or the quality of the opponents, but the last games of the season showed the opposite. After a good showing in the first half, things would just fall apart the last two quarters. This was especially apparent against OU, OSU, and Texas. Chris Warren was able to go wherever he wanted. That 91-yard run was particularly brutal. Tech’s final shot to bring him down ended up with a half-hearted shoulder-check hoping he would just fall at about the 50 yard line. I think the defense was a bit fortunate that UT decided to pass as much as they did on their last drive.

Brian DonCarlos – And everything was going so well. In fact, I won’t take away from the defense because, after watching an entire season of that run defense, what they were able to do for at least a half against Kansas State and UT, they’ve shown marked improvement. Hinton & Allen are both players to be excited about, the secondary has made some great plays, and I’ve seen a lot of Fehoko in the backfield in this last part of the season. However, the lack of depth coupled with opposing coordinators realizing that they really can just run the ball usually makes games way more exciting than they should be. This will hopefully be solved with this next recruiting class, but it seems like Gibbs is finally making somewhat of a breakthrough. Except, of course, for that 91-yard Chris Warren run. My lord, how miserable was that to watch. The true freshman should have been stopped in the backfield, gets touched by I’m pretty sure every Tech defender at some point, and to cap it all off, two members of the secondary run into each other when almost making a play. If I never see a play like that again, it will be too soon. But anyway, as I was saying. . . progress! The extra bowl practices will be huge for that defense.

MeestahRogers – This game was a perfect example of what is currently ailing the defense. You can watch the start of the game and see how well (figuratively, at least) they are doing at containing the run. And then they fade….fast! I can’t remember exactly when it was, but sometime in the second half, Chris Warren just seemed to figure it out and he was nearly unstoppable. Warren is a great back, don’t get me wrong, but there is no reason he should have run for nearly 300 yards. As the defense fatigued, you saw their technique suffer. And the reason I know that this isn’t a scheme or coaching issue is that there always seemed to be a Tech defender with his hands on the runner at or behind the line of scrimmage on the longest runs, they just failed to secure the tackle. The defense, especially the line, should be charged with all kinds of new depth starting in December when the transfers and redshirts are able to practice with the first team and then again when this large recruiting class gets on campus. It’s going in the right direction.

Jakeem Grant

Michael_LSRR – Up until it was mentioned during the broadcast, Grant’s breaking of the overall receiving record at Tech hadn’t even crossed my mind. It should have, knowing how much he has meant to to the offense during his time here. Going out of your last regular-season game with an “Immaculate Reception 2.0” and the “Little People, Big World” plays has to be an incredible ending to a great career. It’s been floating around on social media, but he even managed to give a Guns Up while running in his last touchdown. Jakeem Grant is one hell of a Red Raider, and I hope someone out there on the pro level feels  the same way about his explosive play ability that I think we all do as fans.

Brian DonCarlos – I don’t know if anybody else feels this way, but it seems like Jakeem Grant had one of the more under the radar record setting careers that I’ve ever seen. I mean, he’s been a blast to watch for 4 years, and has been a valuable part of the offense with a highlight reel to make anybody envious, but when I saw that he took the overall receiving record, I was a bit surprised. I knew his numbers were good, just not that good. And if there’s ever a way to put an exclamation mark on the end of a career, he most certainly did that on Thursday against Texas. After listening to the announcers talk about how Grant couldn’t find a way to get the ball, Devin Lauderdale knocked a UT defender into Earth 2 and jarred the potential interception loose, just in time for Grant to make an amazing heads up play to snatch the ball and take it in for 6. I absolutely couldn’t believe what I saw, it was amazing. Add to that his amazing run on Little People, Big World, which I might add is the most spiteful play design I’ve ever seen, and his senior performance against a team he’s never beaten will be one that nobody forgets for quite awhile. You don’t just replace the career receiving leader in school history, but I sincerely hope that the young receivers, especially Keke Coutee, take note of what Grant was able to accomplish while in the scarlet and black.

MeestahRogers – Michael Crabtree is no longer the leading receiver for Texas Tech. Let that sink in. Yeah, I know it took Grant four years to pass what Crabtree had done in 2, and that if there were some limitation on going to the NFL early and Crabtree had played 4 years his receiving totals would likely never be touched. But as much as we think about how great Crabtree was a receiver for Texas Tech, Jakeem Grant is right up there with him. And like Michael and Brian already said, to cap off his senior season with the game that he had in Austin was truly a fitting end to a spectacular career. Immacualte Reception 2.0 and #LittlePeopleBigWorld, not to mention that go route that got down to the 1 yard line in a very crucial moment in the game, just speak to his ability and skillset. I am going to miss seeing the little guy fly all over the field and make moves that embarrass defenders.

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