1. I’m So Sorry. Man, I don’t know what to say to you guys. Even though I know that none of this is my responsibility or has anything to do with me, I somewhat feel responsible for the product on the field. I don’t know why, but I’m not a coach and I don’t even live in Lubbock. I really have no idea what’s going on and before the game, I pretty much told you all that I didn’t have a clue as to what would happen with the team, especially on offense, because there were just so many variables. The variable that I did not know about the first snap were as follows: 1) That McLane Carter would be injured to the extent that he would not be able to return and not play another down; 2) that Desmon Smith would get ejected from the game for a penalty called for a hit to the head; 3) that Vaughnte Dorsey would also get ejected for a penalty for a hit to the head; and 4) that Jah’Shawn Johnson was so injured that he would not be able to play or start and we would already be down a safety before the first snap. Anyone else feel encouraged with what’s happening thus far? Yeah, me too.
2. I Know I’m Not Supposed to be a Jerk: Look, I know that I’m not supposed to be a jerk, but I’m going to have to be in this case. Alan Bowman is okay but he’s so limited in terms of what he can do. I was watching the game with one of Dan’s friends and he noticed something that was absolutley true. Bowman does not like to throw to his right. He would have to have trips right in order for him to look right, but almost everything, literally everything, was to the left unless he was forced to the right. I wish I could explain it, but I can’t. It was almost comical to watch and only at the end of the game when Kingsbury was literally lining up with trips right that Bowman go through his progressions and throw to the right. Go back and watch this.
I’m being too hard on Bowman, a true freshman playing in his first collegiate game action. Aside from the throwing to the left, Bowman also threw off of his back foot quite a bit. This was something that I noticed during the spring game, that he wasn’t getting all of his arm into a throw because he was not stepping into the throw. He was back-stepping at best and despite my amateur acknowledgement of his tendencies, they were still not enough to outweigh Bowman being ahead of Jett Duffey. I cannot answer your questions about Jett Duffey.
3. About That Defense. If you are looking for answers about the defense, there are only a few things that I can tell you: 1) the pass defense is really tough when it is down a starting cornerback early (Desmon Smith); down a starting safety (Jah’Shawn Johnson); and down another starting safety late in the second half.
But that doesn’t excuse two huge plays that turned the game. The very first play of the game (one that I missed as we were trying to get to our seats) where someone farted and fell down and Ole Miss scored a touchdown on the very first play of the game. The one play where you are supposed to be more prepared than any other play of the entire game, and you fart and fall down. Again, I realize that I’m being really harsh and it’s unfair at best and mean at worst, but at the very absolute most prepared point of the season, Texas Tech allowed allowed a touchdown.
4. Ole Miss Fans. Look, I’m not going to crap all over all of the Ole Miss fans, but I’ve got to get something off of my chest. Late in the third quarter, the Ole Miss fan sitting behind me spilled half of a beer on my back. The kid that did this was incredibly apologetic and by the end of the game, he gave me $10 for my trouble and he really couldn’t have been nicer. This is actually the highlight.
Sitting next to the one and only DanSwany was a woman who was had eaten half of a hamburger the normal way (with her hands), but the second half of the hamburger she was eating chunks of the patty with her m-effing spoon and dipping that in ketchup. And before you say that maybe she was going gluten free . . . trust me buddy . . . she was not.
5. Aside From the Really Big Plays. The Texas Tech defense gave up two huge plays (we’ll get to special teams in a bit). The very first play from scrimmage, discussed above, and and the very long 65 yard touchdown run from Scotty Phillips at some point in the game. Ole Miss was essentially gifted those 14 points. Not only that, but the defense also allowed Ole Miss to gain over 9 yards a play. I would like to tell you that the Ole Miss offense is very good, most likely a top 10 offense in the nation, but there were some pretty fundamental mistakes that led to those big plays. Consider that Ole Miss only ran the ball 28 times, but they had 210 yards. And consider that Ta’amu had 336 yards passing on just 32 passes. That’s over 10.5 yards per pass. I feel somewhat comfortable with getting the rushing situation figured out, but I’m legitimately concerned about the pass defense as I think that’s a position that may not have improved. Ole Miss has some talented receivers and big kids, but the secondary needs to be better.
6. What’s the Deal with Duffey? I think I know why Kliff Kingsbury didn’t put in Jett Duffey late in the game: 1) to give Bowman as many snaps as possible; and 2) if he inserts Duffey, then he’s got a quarterback controversy. Kingsbury may already have one and I cannot believe that Bowman is a better quarterback, right now, than Jett Duffey. I think that Bowman has a bright future, but after three years in Kingsbury’s system it seems odd that Duffey cannot beat Bowman. I don’t know what happened and why it is the way that it is, but it’s certainly strange and I’m wondering what happened as much as anyone else. Bowman is locking on receivers (he should, he’s a freshman) and he is very limited in working through his progressions (he should, he’s a freshman). After the game, Kingsbury said that Ole Miss was playing a lot of man coverage and they felt that Bowman could better handle that. Texas Tech run players in motion quite a bit and there was only 1 time that I recall that Ole Miss showed that they were in man coverage. I think they were mostly zone, so I really don’t understand that comment.
7. This Gets You Closer. Like a lot of, I think Kingsbury is a terrific person and one of the best representatives of Texas Tech that I can recall. I think he’s great. But if you don’t think that Kingsbury is the guy (and I’m one of those persons) then this sort of game accelerates the process. We have to go through this year to see what’s going to happen and if it isn’t Kingsbury, then it’s going to be someone else.
8. Game Iconography:
Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: I thought Da’Leon Ward looked outstanding, 17 carries on 90 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Guns Up Offensive MVP: I thought Antoine Wesley had a sneaky good game. Wesley didn’t have the spectacular catch that T.J. Vasher had, but Wesley I thought helped Bowman really move the chains.
Sheriff Star Defensive MVP: I’m really struggling here as I don’t know that any defender really stepped up and was outstanding. If you’re going to make me choose, I’d go with Tony Jones, 6 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss and a sack. Which reminds me that Kolin Hill just doesn’t flash at this position.
9. Quotes. Kliff Kingsbury:
“I’ll have to look at the plays. I didn’t see them that closely, but they can’t happen. We have to be more disciplined and find a way to not do that. We’re light in the secondary coming in and to lose those guys obviously didn’t help the matter. But we’ve got to talk about it, we’ve got to practice it and we’ve got to do better.”
I’ll go ahead and ask why wasn’t the team more disciplined in the very first game.
On the quarterbacks:
How will you approach the quarterbacks going into next week if McLane (Carter) is not available?
“We’ll continue to rep both guys. The good news is they got a ton of reps through spring and through fall camp. Both understand the offense, so we’ll get those two guys ready to play. I’m not sure how it will go reps-wise, who will get what, but they’ll both get a ton of reps this week.”
You decided to go with Alan Bowman as the second-strong quarterback over Jett Duffey. What went into that decision, and what have you seen from Bowman thus far?
“Yeah, you know, it’s just one of those things that I think both guys can get it done. There’s a comfort level with our offense right now that I feel like Bowman could execute it. I felt we were going to get a bunch of man coverage and he’d kind of be able to see one read and get it there. So that was really what it came down to, but we have faith in both guys.”
On the defense and the secondary in particular:
Given how much your defense believed in themselves throughout the offseason, how big a blow is this to give up so many big plays and to give up a 200-yard performance on the ground with the quality you thought your front seven was?
“Yeah, it’s tough. We knew it was a very good offense, all of the talent they had coming back. The quarterback coming back, receivers. You’re trying to take away the wide-outs the best you can. The run game got going. We obviously have to play better. We weren’t very good at eliminating those big plays. We can’t just let them have 60, 70-yard runs.”
Obviously, you have a lot of experience in the secondary, but given the fact that you lost Octavious Morgan, didn’t have Desmon Smith after he was ejected for targeting, do you think you gave up something in communication having three guys not available to you right off the bat?
“I don’t know about communication, just lack of experience maybe. You get Des and Jah’shawn and Oct not back, who all started last year, against a team like that, those other guys have to be ready to go. I’m not sure they were ready for that type of speed and that type of offense right now. We have to get those guys going, get them more developed and get them ready to go as this thing moves forward.”
10. Final Thoughts & La Yapa.
- The special teams could not have been worse. To give up a kickoff for a touchdown and then to have Dominic Panazzolo average 34 yards a punt which included an 11 yard punt. 11 yards. We can do better than this. Surely, we can do better than this. I’m ready to give into the Reed Bowman era. Heck, he averaged 53 yards a punt at Blinn J.C. The best part of the special teams was that Clayton Hatfield was healthy, made both of his field goals and all of the extra points.
- The T.J. Vasher catch was unbelievable, but there were so many times that he was one-on-one and I wondered why Bowman didn’t just chunk it down the field, and then the one time that he did chunk it down the field on a post pattern, rather than throw the ball inside, where Vasher was, Bowman throws it outside where Vasher can’t get to it. I don’t know if Bowman understands conceptually where to get him the ball.
- The final numbers on Bowman, was 29 of 49 for 273, which is 5.6 yards per pass, which is pretty bad in my book. Bowman’s best pass was the touchdown to Ja’Deion High and there was one other pass over the middle that I thought was really good. Bowman also has nice touch in and around the line of scrimmage, but the arm strength down the field worries me quite a bit.
- The expectation is that Jett Duffey will play next week against Lamar and I think that Kingsbury avoided the quarterback controversy this week, I think it definitely crops up next week.
- The Seth Collins penalty was 1) weak ; 2) absolutely terrible. Texas Tech wasn’t coming back, but to get moved off of the 1 yard line (and it was 1st and 10) for a dead ball foul and talking smack (let’s do something before we get serious talking some mess) is just insanity.
- I don’t know if Tre King knows what to do on offense. There were a handful of times that Bowman had to move him to the correct side of the formation and then he really just sorta ran into defenses as well. I love his story, but I thought he could have played a lot better.
- The times that the defense was able to get pressure on Ta’amu, I thought that he struggled, but those were way too rare of instances. I seriously don’t notice Kolin Hill being on the field, he’s just sort of there. That line needs to work out the kinks.
- I thought there would be bigger attendance for the Texas Tech contingent, but that wasn’t the case. A lot more Ole Miss fans there than expected, they traveled well, but they closed off the upper bowl and upgraded seats for everyone.