Monday Morning Quarterback : TCU

This week, Staking the Plains staff look at DeAndre Washington and the rushing performance, continued progress with penalties and turnovers, and covering one of the best receivers in the conference.

This loss may be one of the toughest losses we’ve seen. This wasn’t a blowout. This wasn’t a game that Tech had no business being in. This was a game Tech had a few opportunities to put away, but ultimately came down to a ridiculously lucky play. And to paraphrase the former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, that’s how football go.

DeAndre Washington

Michael_LSRR – If you look up the top individual rushing yards for this season, you’ll find Texas Tech’s very own DeAndre Washington tied for 13th place with a total 475 yards. As a team, Tech has rushed for more yards than Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Texas. The offensive line deserves a bit of this credit, too, along with their ability to give a hobbled Mahomes ample protectionon Saturday, but Washington is a force. His ability to get into the backfield, break tackles and/or make people miss while trucking dudes keeps my jaw on the floor. If I had to pick my favorite play of the night from Washington, I would go with his 26 yard touchdown run in the second quarter. How often in the past has Tech scored on a running play 20+ yards out? This is a real threat now, thanks to Washington. Long live Deandre.

Brian DonCarlos – DeAndre Washington wants the football. And he’ll take those yards however he wants, and probably your sandwich too. After the past 4 games, it seems like Tech is sticking to the “pass to set up the run” philosophy, which is fine with me given the returns we’ve seen from both the passing and the rushing game. But don’t get me wrong, Washington wasn’t just carving through a pass-wary defense; he was running straight through people, making cuts, and earning every single one of his 188 yards. Also, how great was it to see his touchdowns not get poached by somebody else? I always felt bad for him whenever he would be the backbone of a drive last season and not get a goal line carry, but I feel that won’t be the case this season. It has been absolute to watch him run thus far, and I can’t see what he does through the rest of league play. Tech now sports a complete, balanced offense, and if Pat gets nicked up again, we can easily shift gears to be a ground churning offense on the legs of Washington and company.

MeestahRogers – It can not be said enough or too many times; DeAndre Washington is super freaking talented and may be one of the best running backs to have played for Texas Tech. Enjoy this season watching him, because he’s just incredible to watch. 188 yards on 22 carries, 8.5 yards per carry (Mahomes had 8.7 yards per passing attempt), and 4 touchdowns. He surpassed his season touchdown total from last year, twice over, in one game. He’s averaging 8.2 yards per carry on the season…with almost 60 carries. Another 1,000 yard season doesn’t only look possible, but looks like he could hit that mark in game 8 if he continues at this pace. When Washington originally committed back in 2010, a recruiting writer said he was the best running back of the class, which included 4* Kenny Williams, Bradley Marquez, and Ronnie Daniels. I scoffed. He was right. Washington is such an asset to this offense.

Penalties and Turnovers

Michael_LSRR – Watching Texas Christian rack up 10 penalties gave me flashbacks to last season. I almost felt bad for them knowing how frustrating that can be to watch as a fan. It was so nice to be on the opposite end of that frustration for a change and see the yellow flag thrown for only 3 times against the Red Raiders. (P.S. How great did that red look? Loved it.) Anyway, we are still +5 on the turnover margin having ended up at zero on Saturday despite a few close calls. That is a beautiful statistic.

Brian DonCarlos – I feel that we’ve heard that the penalties were going to be cleaned up ever since the Leach years, and every time I heard it I would just generally disregard it. We’ve heard it before, we’d hear it again, and not much would change. But damn if Kliff and the team hasn’t followed through with the two big claims they’ve always been pursuing (the other being turnovers), and what a difference it makes. I was watching the LSU-Syracuse game on Saturday morning, and the Tigers kept shooting themselves in the foot seemingly every drive, wiping out touchdowns and keeping the Orange in the game. It got me to thinking. . . how many points has Tech left off the board over the past 4 years due to dumb penalties? How many points have we given up on defense due to the same? I hope this is the new normal, because if it is, the clean play has distilled our offense into a pure ethanol that could soon render boot flasks obsolete (but never out of fashion).

MeestahRogers – Texas Tech only committed three penalties for 30-something yards, compared to TCU’s 10 penalty, 100 plus yard outing. I think it’s safe to say that this team is clearly improving in this aspect and it’s not just a statistical anomaly. The offense isn’t shooting itself in the foot and the defense isn’t giving the opposition any free yardage and first downs.

Turnovers were even for a second straight game, this time at 0. Good for the Tech offense for not turning the ball over, not so good for the defense for not creating turnovers (although I would consider the safety a turnover, especially with points going to TCU and them receiving the free kick). Being neutral in the turnover margin is just that, neutral. Your offense held onto the ball and didn’t give it to TCU and your defense didn’t create any extra possessions for your offense. But like the penalties, this is much improved from last year. Tech is still positive in the turnover margin on the season, whereas they were already deep in the negative by this point in the season last year.

Josh Doctson

Michael_LSRR – We only knew to call him “number 9” in the stands. Doctson was everywhere. Everyone knew it was going to him, yet he would still end up with it. You guys all know I’m not a football guru, but was there any way Tech could have doubled him? Maybe they tried it and even that didn’t work? It was just unreal. I had to look up the stats for him on my phone  during the third quarter out of morbid curiosity, and he had 267 yards. That’s 31 yards more than Lauderdale and Grant’s combined total for the entire game. And those guys played great!

Brian DonCarlos – Alright, the jury is still out on the secondary, but as of right now, if I spend the off-season hyping up a player or unit, those predictions aren’t valid until the following season (see: Reg Davis). Going into the game, we knew Doctson would get his yards, just like Green and Boykin would, but I had no idea he would do that. Gracious. Boykin & Doctson have a fantastic rapport, and they were just able to find every single hole in Gibbs’ zone. I’ve wondered if a healthy & up-to-speed Bethel would have helped out, but I really don’t know if Doctson would have been contained, particularly if it was due to the coverage schemes. As I said earlier, the book hasn’t been written on Tech’s secondary, and with the specter of Corey Coleman looming we may not be able to pass a final judgement next week either due to the spectacular nature of both of those players. But you can’t take anything away from what Doctson did, or how TCU just managed to find a way to win.

MeestahRogers – This league is loaded with talented skill players, Doctson obviously being one of them. Texas Tech will continue to face very talented receivers, starting next week. Baylor will certainly have one than the one option that TCU had, in Cory Coleman, Jay Lee, KD Cannon, etc. Tech needs to figure out how to cover and scheme for these big, talented receivers, otherwise I’m afraid we’re going to see more of the same. We can’t continually see the Tech defensive backs allow receivers 260+ yards. I think the corners need to be more physical with the receivers coming off the line of scrimmage to at least disrupt their routes a little bit. Throwing off the timing between QB and WR can’t be understated.


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