* Box Score
1. It’s Supposed to be Fun. It’s just a game and it’s supposed to be fun. At least I think it is supposed to be fun. That’s the way I remember it. And I get that things aren’t necessarily fun because the world isn’t fun as much as it has been, but football is supposed to be fun.
It’s not and although there are many problems, this is the biggest problem. I know about the offensive issues, the turnovers, the defensive issues, the special teams gaffes. Whatever it is, it’s just not fun. There’s no joy in following this team and that’s sort of a problem.
And I get it. Getting your ass kicked and “having fun” isn’t going to do it. And I can guarantee you that Alabama probably isn’t having fun, but they’re good with that.
But Texas Tech is not Alabama (not a news flash) and so I err on the side of trying to have fun while trying to watch a game that’s just a game. I remember when Ole Miss hired Lane Kiffin last year and thought that he a bit of a joke and wasn’t sure he was ready to be a Power 5 conference, a bit of a heel on Twitter (not in a bad way, but not necessarily professional either). Now? I think I’d love something like that.
And fun isn’t just Kiffin, but it’s an offense that’s fun, not ridiculous. And I don’t mean Leach, because it was fun when Spike Dykes opened things up late in his career with Dick Winder with Robert Hall and Zebbie Lethridge.
Fans, we just wanna have fun.
2. Not Acceptable.
Television broadcast mentioned Texas Tech wide receiver Erik Ezukanma speaking to the coaching staff late in the game. He provides context of the conversation/message. pic.twitter.com/74K9a3NAuo
— Carlos Silva Jr. (@cmsilvajr) December 5, 2020
Why is receiver Erik Ezukanma having to tell the coaches to get him the best player on the team (arguably) to get him the ball? And Ezukanma feels emboldened enough to say something post-game? Typically, the reason I don’t much cover player post-game things is because they don’t say a ton, mostly out of respect and if they have concerns, they don’t voice them then.
But here we are.
3. This Isn’t About the Players. I want to be clear that even though these players have flaws (as we all do) and no player plays perfectly, this isn’t about them. My gripes aren’t with them, they’re just performing the plan in front of them (mostly) and the plan is the problem. Third and 17? Let’s run a draw. It’s that sort of thing.
I’ll always cheer for the players most of the time (excluding things that are illegal and things that happen off the field). I still love the laundry and no matter what happens, I’ll probably always feel that way (unless Texas Tech hires a guy that either knew about multiple gang rapes or looked the other way).
4. Let’s Talk Offense. The offense was a disaster. Prior to the game, Kansas was giving up something like 45 points a game and this offense managed 16 with only a 53 man roster available for Kansas.
The running game was good, but it was really good because of some really long plays. Just taking the longest play out for Xavier White, Tahj Brooks, and Myles Price then the team really ran for 165 yards on 40 carries for about 4.125 yards a carry. Prior to the game, Kansas was giving up nearly 6. Is it totally unfair to take out the longest runs? Yes, of course it is, but it is intended to indicate that the offense running the ball wasn’t efficient and that the splash plays have skewed the stats and that the running game wasn’t as reliable as the stats indicate.
And maybe the best runner, SaRodorick Thompson gets 7 carries for 17 yards. the running back rotation makes no sense to me most of the time.
And the passing offense? Well, that was an absolute disaster. It was mostly sideline to sideline, Alan Bowman averaged about 4.5 yards per attempt, which is not good. A total of 117 passing yards yesterday and honestly, every completion felt like the Kansas defense knew exactly where Bowman was going to go.
5. Now Let’s Talk Defense. The defense played well, but the Kansas offense is hot-garbage? I don’t know what I can say about that but they allowed 13 points, had to defend 5 extra possessions because of 4 turnovers, allowed only 2.5 yards a rush, 3.5 yards a passing attempt, and allowed 2.9 yards per play. That’s insanely good. They did what they should have done and they had to defend 10 extra minutes of possession in comparison to Texas Tech (34 for Kansas and 25 for Texas Tech).
6. Stats. The sign of a bad offense? Third downs. Texas Tech was 3 of 15 on third downs, while having to average 7 yards a down, and turned the ball over twice on third down. On those third downs, where the average third down was 7 yards to go, Texas Tech ran the ball 9 times and averaged about 5 yards a go, which is technically short of a third down.
Want some weird stats? On first downs, Texas Tech gained an average of 7.8 yards for each first down, but a large part of that was that Texas Tech’s biggest running successes were on 1st down.
Texas Tech was in the red zone 3 times and came away with 6 points.
Technically, Kansas was more successful on third downs, 22% compared to 20% for Texas Tech. The good part about the defense was that they did average 7.6 for every third down and was 0-6 on third and longs.
Kansas scored all 13 points off of Texas Tech turnovers.
7. Special Teams Things. All-day Garibay was not good yesterday, making just 3 of 6 field goals, missing a 40, 41, and 45, which is an indication that the offense simply sputtered when they needed to score. Austin McNamara only had to punt 2 times, and he averaged 54 yards a punt. And Chux Nwabuko was good returning punts as was Chaddarius Townsend in returning a lone Kansas kickoff that didn’t result in a penalty or being short of the 25 yard line seems like a Christmas miracle on both fronts.
8. Quotes. Acting head coach Keith Patterson.
“Before we get started, I’d like to send our thoughts and prayers to the young man who went down for Kansas today. Not sure about the nature of the injury, but definitely want to send our thoughts and prayers from the Texas Tech football family to him and his family. It was a good win. I am proud of our seniors. Winning is hard. It’s never going to be easy, and that was my message to the players, and I am very proud of them and the way they hung tough. Excited to send those seniors out of here with a 4-2 record at home, that’s big in moving our program forward.”
Q: What is your schedule like this week with so much uncertainty?
“We have a three o’clock defensive staff meeting tomorrow and we’re going to the basketball game at 12:45. Then we are going to have a staff meeting at three, it just never stops. And we’ll probably know a little more moving forward what next week looks like. Again, the other dynamic, you got seniors who are trying to get as much information as they can get too make the best decision for their future, to come back or to move on. There is a lot of things have to be wrapped up and I have no idea on anything as far as postseason play. Recruiting is going to be on the front-burner this week.”
9. More Defensive Things. Really want to focus on how well the defense played, trying to leave on a high. As a whole, they had 4 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss, which is really astounding. Despite not having their best defender, Riko Jeffers, the defense really played well. Krishon Merriweather had 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2 TFL, Colin Schooler ended his career with 8 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a pass break-up and a QB hurry. Dadrion Taylor had 6 tackles, and half a TFL. Tony Bradford, Jr. had 6 tackles, a sack, and 2.5 TFL. Eric Monroe had a huge TFL at the end of the game. Jaylon Hutchings had 4 tackles and 1 TFL.
10. What’s Next? Your guess is as good as mine. I don’t know that the trajectory is going up and as I first stated, football should be fun and it doesn’t feel very fun for me. At this point, writing 10 Things is work and not a joy. And I want to emphasize that this isn’t about the players. There’s a confidence missing with the team or something, a chippiness on offense that’s just not there. I miss having fun with Texas Tech football. And even I have no expectations that Texas Tech will ever compete for a National Championship in my life or anything like that because that sort of trajectory is difficult to do (hello Coastal Carolina). But to just win some games and be a pain in the ass for lots of teams sounds like fun right now. I know I should have higher expectations, but I’m willing to crawl before I walk.