Ten Things: West Virginia 48, Texas Tech 17

Ten things as we try to wrap up a humiliating loss to West Virginia.


Ten Things

1. A Physical Representation of West Virginia 48, Texas Tech 17. Yesterday was my kiddo’s 5th birthday, first birthday party here in the U.S. of A. and so we rented a bounce house. It did not work.

This was clearly how my Saturday went and how the Saturday went for Texas Tech. At least I can hopefully get my money back.

Texas Tech’s 48-17 loss to West Virginia was the biggest ass-whipping I can remember (be forewarned, there’s going to be cussing in this Ten Things, so if that offends you, feel free to stop here). This was a complete failure on every level of the team, from the offense, to the defense, the special teams, the coaching, etc. From the top to the bottom, this was the biggest un-pantsing I’ve seen in quite some time. I tend to have a terrible memory when it comes to games. For example, I literally can’t remember specific games from last year, much less when Tuberville was coaching, but yesterday’s performance was an absolute shit-show. We’ll count the ways.

2. The Offensive Line. We’ll start here, with the offensive line, the offensive line that couldn’t seem to pick up any blitzes to the point where Patrick Mahomes was literally running for his life each and every play. The line could not pick up blitzes, the running backs (who are not part of the line, but they are important cogs in picking up blitzes) did a terrible job of doing much of anything in regards to protecting Mahomes. We’ll get to Mahomes later, but the numerous penalties, holy shit, the penalties on the offensive line were a complete representation of the entire season. Shitty holding calls coupled with the capper, Justin Murphy getting a late hit, a clear late hit and targeting late in the game to ensure that he’s suspended for the first half against Oklahoma. I think I’d just sit his ass for the entire game. That’s a bullshit play, a play that means that he doesn’t give a shit about the team and is only thinking of himself. Just selfish. Madison Akamnonu, I hope you’re ready for all of the blitzes.

3. The Defensive Line. I cannot recall a more marginal and less than impressive pass rush. There was no pressure, not once, not the entire game. Skyler Howard literally was never pressured and the stats prove it out. Not one quarterback pressure and no sacks. As much talk as the defensive line got at the beginning of the year for somewhat improved play, this is a group that cannot put pressure on quarterbacks. When the ball’s snapped, it’s as if they’re just running in quicksand and opposing offensive lines really just have to stand up because nothing is really going to happen. And what’s hilarious, is that when Gibbs would dial up a blitz it seemed like whoever was blitzing would run directly into the blocker, not around the blocker, but directly into the blocker and get taken down. I remember one play specifically, where the defender could have just tried to run around the blocking back, but nope, let’s just get completely blocked.

4. The Quarterback. I love Patrick Mahomes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s a magical quarterback with incredible ability. I love everything about him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but Kingsbury is giving Mahomes the same latitude that Leach game Kingsbury. I tend to think that the relationship between the quarterback and the head coach is something I’ll never understand, but it seems as if the relationship is about trust more than anything else. There were times that I can recall (vaguely) where it seemed that replacing Mayfield with Webb seemed like a given, but Kingsbury kept riding that train past the point of when I would have pulled the quarterback. I don’t know how Mahomes is managing the pain and Mahomes is also too tough to ever give up and tap out. Even if Nik Shimonek does play in this game, I’m not sure the result is too different, but that’s speculative either way because of the way the offensive line performed, or didn’t perform. A quarterback with zero time for getting the ball off, a running game that is non-existent and a zone defense that didn’t allow players to get open until the second level creates issues beyond just swapping out quarterbacks. Without a doubt Mahomes is injured, but with each passing week he gets better as long as he doesn’t injure it further.

I know I’m in the minority here, but if there is any player that can don the Superman cape and lead this team to a an unprobable win, I’m betting it being Mahomes. There is no one on this team that has his physical gifts.

5. The Wide Receivers. There were actually wide receivers playing yesterday, but you would not know based upon a review of the stats because the only wide receiver who caught a pass for the entire game was Devin Lauderdale, who had 2 catches for 14 yards. The only other stat that you might see is that Quan Shorts was flagged for a questionable blocking penalty, but whatever. At that point, it doesn’t really matter. Without Dylan Cantrell and Derrick Willies on the outside the wide receivers were completely neutered and they weren’t ready for the challenge. It’s not a lot of fun to consider, but Reginald Davis and Devin Lauderdale are just guys, they’ll make a play once in a blue moon, but generally speaking, they’re not good enough. Just not good enough.

6. The Special Teams. I’d like to have a huge complaint here, but there was only that one gaffe, and it was apparently a playing error where the deep snapper snapped the ball to the up-man and although you don’t like any mistakes, it’s hard to criticize too much for an honest mistake. Although it does seem like if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

7. 12 Men on the Field After a Time Out. Nothing to add here, just pointing out the absurdity of something like this actually happening in a game.

8. Overall Defense. West Virginia wasn’t exactly lighting things up prior to this game, but a Texas Tech defense tends to cure a lot of problems. Skyler Howard literally carved up the defense, throwing for 318 yards on just 31 attempts and I’m actually surprised he missed 10 passes. There were all sorts of big plays as well as missed tackling. I don’t know how many big plays West Virginia ripped off, but they seemed to rip off a ton of them and one or more in at least every drive.

9. The Worst. Kliff Kingsbury:

KLIFF KINGSBURY: It’s the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been associated with Texas Tech. I’ve never seen a team play that poorly, coaches coach that poorly and just get embarrassed. So I have to apologize to the fans, student body, alumni. That was as bad as it gets.


Yeah, that’s something we’ve got to talk about with the staff and figure that out quick. We’ve got six games left. Had three and three. I believe we’re a better football team than what was just out there. Like I said, that was the worst thing I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching. But we have to prove it. So we’re going to look at all angles this week to see how we can improve upon what we just did.

I don’t know how this gets figured out.

10. Moving Forward. We’re in a precarious situation, aren’t we?

I mentioned this in the comments earlier this week, but I’ll expand on them here. As a result of this terrible performance, some of you, rightfully so, may be thinking that the Kliff Kingsbury era is just not working out. I wouldn’t blame you. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Kingsbury has four more years on his deal, going until 2020. At the time that Kirby Hocutt extended Kingsbury, I’m all but sure that I lauded the move to lock up Kingsbury for that period of time because the thought process is that he would continue to build the program and you’d have him locked in for those years under that salary.

I don’t know what it would take, but I’m guessing that to terminate Kingsbury at this point would probably be his salary over the course of the remaining four years. If Kingsbury is making about $4 million this year and the salary increases to a top-end of $5.5 million in 2020, then we’re probably talking at least $18 million to be rid of the contract.

That’s a lot of cheddar. And that’s a lot of speculation on my part with those numbers, but my bigger thought here is that Texas Tech maybe can’t afford to let Kingsbury go for at least two more years. Yes, until at least 2018, which at that point, the contract would most likely be around $10 million, and it’s not as if there’s $10 million just laying around the athletic budget. So, you’d have to find some booster(s) that would be willing to take on that contract hit and then Hocutt would have to find and obligate themselves to another contract, at least six years.

The new contract isn’t a problem, it’s the price of doing business.

The other issue with this scenario is the current fiasco with the Big 12, which is that I think that most folks tend to think that the Big 12 isn’t long. Maybe the better way to phrase this is that there is great uncertainty regarding the league, which means that that there is great uncertainty about the future of Texas Tech. I know that there are folks out there that thinks that Texas Tech would be fine no matter what happens, but I’m not so confident. It is incredibly important that Texas Tech locked up Hocutt for an extended period of time, but it would make sense not to make a huge financial commitment to this program (i.e. don’t spend more than you make) for an extended period of time. The current Big 12 contract expires in 2025, so, what you can count on right now is that Texas Tech will continue to essentially break even.

In the 2014-15 season (which is the latest figures we have I think) had Texas Tech with a profit of approximately $3.45 million dollars (that’s with a subsidy of $4.26 million from the university). I know there were some issues with the figures, but I think it’s probably safe to say that Texas Tech essentially breaks even. Unless the Big 12 pulls a rabbit out of their hat it is expected that the Big 12 will stand pat. Maybe they current members can squeeze a few more dollars from ESPN and FOX, but I think the reality is that Hocutt can only count on what is here and Hocutt has a limited amount of time and money to deal with this issue, if it’s even an issue.

I don’t know how Hocutt perceives this singular game in the larger scheme of what’s happening, but it doesn’t appear to be trending in the right direction. Hocutt is a patient person and I’ve always lauded that aspect of what he does and I do trust him implicitly.

The problem is that the gamble of Kingsbury isn’t paying off the way he expected, like we all expected, when Kingsbury was hired. Kingsbury was supposed to be the guy, the guy that we all rallied around when he was hired. It was a home run for us as fans, for the administration that had botched the Tuberville era and just so many good feelings. Most of us don’t even want to entertain the thought of what’s next, but it is, unfortunately, on the horizon. Especially if this team doesn’t pull out any more wins along the way. I could envision a scenario where Texas Tech is not favored the rest of the way. That’s a problem. Without the West Virginia win, I wonder where this team is going to get 3 additional wins with the remaining schedule: Oklahoma, @ TCU, Texas, @ Oklahoma State, @ Iowa State and Baylor.

So, this is my problem, our problem. Limited resources. A large contract. A football program that isn’t trending in the right direction.


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