Ten Things: Texas Tech Red Raiders 59, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 45


10 Things

1. The Siegel Family. The best thing of the night was when Tim Siegel walked his son, Luke Siegel, out on the field and received a long standing ovation. It was a thing of beauty and made me tear up as I was holding Youssouf while he was holding his big form Guns Up finger in my face. It was touching and awesome to see Tim kiss Luke twice as they were being showed with applause. It was a sweet moment and I kissed both of my boys.

2. New Starters. It was noticeable as soon as Texas Tech had the ball, which was that there were two new starters at the wide receiver positions and I think this is going to stick. Both Derrick Willies and Dylan Cantrell both got the start over Reginald Davis and Devin Lauderdale and I think this is going to stick. With Lauderdale, it seems very hit or miss, while Davis is inconsistent. He can be great, but you never know when those moments are going to happen. Cantrell finished with 6 catches and 81 yards with a touchdown and Willies had 3 catches for 38 yards, including one that was called back (I think).

3. Felton Looked Pretty Good Pretty Good. This is the first time that I’ve been able to see a game in a couple of years and just having that perspective of being a little higher and seeing how holes open up, it seems that Demarcus Felton is just a better runner. This is not a knock against Justin Stockton because he’s got some pretty neat tricks too and it doesn’t make Stockton any less useful, but Felton has got more wiggle and a bit more vision and patience to see the hole more than Stockton. Felton finished with 16 carries and 123 yards and 2 touchdowns and I bet a lot of you are already talking about how this may have been Felton’s coming out party. I’m fine with Stockton continuing to get the start, but I think we see Felton get anywhere between 15 to 20 carries a game from this point forward. I also noticed that Felton did a nice job at blitz pick-up, not saying Stockton didn’t, but just noticed it with Felton. And like I said above, Stockton has some things that Felton can’t do, he’s not a shot out of a cannon like Stockton is and Stockton is a real threat in the screen game.

4. More Mahomes. There will be no superlatives left by the end of the year for Patrick Mahomes and I’m happy I got to see him in person at least once in his college career. He’s truly special and he is, for my money, the most talented quarterback that’s ever run through Lubbock. If you can, make sure and spend the weekend in Lubbock watching him because you’ll be sorry you missed him at some point. Mahomes finished the day 26 of 36, good for 72% completion rate. Mahomes threw for 470 yards, good for 13 yards per attempt, 5 touchdowns . . . plus 12 runs for 59 yards and a touchdown. That’s insane statistics and he’s beautiful to watch in person.

5. The Defense Does Exactly What You Think It Does. Every time the Louisiana Tech running back was gaining 5 or 7 or whatever yards, it looked like the Texas Tech defense was just right there, whether it be a defensive lineman or a linebacker and a tackle was missed and it resulted in a big play after big play. And it’s exactly just that. It appears to be linebackers that just aren’t filling the gaps and safeties sometimes just can’t figure things out where they need to be. It’s nothing exotic or crazy or nothing to do with how the guys are lined up, it’s just a matter of not making tackles. At some point, I wish that it was schematic, but I don’t think that it is.

6. Third Downs. The thing that Mahomes does perhaps better than anyone else is his ability to convert third downs. Last night, Mahomes converted (or hand a hand in) converting 8 of 10 third downs. Those are back-breakers for opposing defenses. Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech only completed 4 of 10 on third down and I think the defense should get some credit for those sorts of things. The stop on 4th down really was a big deal and despite my giving the defense a hard time, they need some success and I think that was good for them. This is probably a bit cliche, but

7. Lots of Injuries and I Don’t Know About Madison. It felt like there were more than a handful of injuries. D.J. Polite-Bray went down, as did Terence Steele hurt his knee. Keenan Ward ended up going out as well. Perhaps this is a good time for the team to get a break with a bye week this week, maybe everyone gets healthy. I didn’t tape the game, but during the game, there seemed like there were times that Ward has lead in his feet, he’s not on his toes ready to make the play. With Polite-Bray going down, we saw Douglas Coleman and Desmon Smith get baptized often, although it seemed as if Louisiana Tech hardly threw to the sideline and they didn’t get a ton of time. Coleman was flagged for talking too much, but I couldn’t tell what really happened and it didn’t seem like a big deal at the game. Steele’s injury was troublesome and I thought that Madison Akamnonu and Justin Murphy were really terrific. Akamnonu wasn’t perfect, but he looked good out there and Murphy did a nice job as well. Paul Stawarz came out and finished at right guard.

And I don’t have a clue about Tevin Madison. He’s still tweeting about Texas Tech and things and seems positive. I just don’t have a clue and I’m sure you all have already discussed.

8. Some Plays Were Terrific to Watch from Above. The slant from Mahomes to Giles that was a two-play drive was absolutely beautiful. It was set up so perfectly and I’d guarantee that Mahomes eyes lit up like mine did and probably everyone else in the stadium. The long completion to Giles where Giles is just standing in the endzone was some beautiful blocking by Cantrell. The double-reverse and flea flicker was convoluted as hell and won’t work in conference play. It was fun as heck to watch, but that took way too long. The play that Willies had where he was running like a running back, dragging folks and just running over people was terrific to see.

And Giles really was outstanding, he knows how to find seams in the coverage, catching just 6 passes for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns is mind-blowing for just a true sophomore.

9. Way Too Many Penalties. So many of those third downs were the result of being backed way the heck up as a result of some bad penalties. This team doesn’t have the margin for error that last year’s team does. 11 penalties for 95 yards. Although, now that I’m re-thinking this, maybe Mahomes is the equalizer and they can just penalty the heck out of themselves.

10. Defensive Standouts. Really pretty difficult to discuss defensive standouts when the defense allows 8.4 yards a play, which is the same amount as Texas Tech. Despite the personal foul, I thought Douglas Coleman looked good and if Polite-Bray is injured, you’ll see more of him. This team is running out of cornerbacks. Desmon Smith looks mechanical out there, but he’s at least got size and he didn’t get beat. It seemed like the Louisiana Tech quarterback liked to really only look to the quarterback’s left side and never looked to Smith’s side of the field. I’m guessing that was by design and I’m fine with that. There were some plays that I thought that Brooks, Hinton and Jenkins all looked good at times, but they’ve got to fill in the gaps and figure out how to make some plays. And if Ward is out for any time, I bet we see more of Kevin Moore as well and could even see Moore playing cornerback if necessary.

The one thing that I think Gibbs can do, and he did it at times, was I think he needs to do a better job of scheming how to pressure the quarterback more. There were too many times that the Louisiana Tech quarterback had too much time to find an open receiver. I still think that Gary Moore and Kolin Hill are this team’s best pass rushers, but the odd-ball blitz from a different position, which Gibbs did a couple of times last night.

Bonus. I took this photo while barreling down Highway 180. It was twice as beautiful as it looks. I drove in amazement watching the sun set for what seemed like ages. It was truly inspiring. Oh, and I didn’t make the tailgate and I’m sorry for that. We let the boys watch a movie in the afternoon and they were tough to wake up. Just couldn’t get them going and I’m sorry for that.


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