1. Game Links:
2. There is Heat. There is heat of Zach Kittley, the option plays and the idea that it was him and those plays that resulted in the injury of Behren Morton. I suppose that you could blame every injury on Kittley. The running play that ended up resulting in Tyler Shough’s broken collar bone. Donovan Smith’s sore shoulder.
Losing does this. It divides us fans, people argue about things that aren’t solvable or things that don’t have an easy answer or that they have zero control over.
I don’t have a problem with the offense and how Kittley is calling plays. It hasn’t been perfect, but generally speaking, I’m pretty good. I’d also add that I watched quite a bit of Western Kentucky from last year and I don’t recall this number of called quarterback runs. Kinda makes you wonder about how or why that’s in the offense. I’m spit-balling here, but what if a running quarterback is maybe a two-part reason: 1) having a running quarterback changes the math for the defense, if a quarterback doesn’t have to be accounted for, then the defense is using 11 defenders to account for 10 players. But if there’s a running quarterback, then 11 defenders are accounting for all 11 offensive players. 2) I think there might be the possibility that having a running quarterback is something that McGuire might like a lot. I think seeing Baylor last week and how they use the quarterback and knowing how McGuire wants this tough group of players, from the quarterback to the kicker, that having a quarterback who is a threat is definitely a feature for McGuire. I want to be clear, that I don’t know anything, just figuring that with Kittley not having that aspect in his offense last year, that it seems new in that regard.
More than anything, I think that it’s important to think about the totality of the situation and I know we like to put people in their places when things don’t work out, but there’s sometimes a bigger picture and I can’t say that I know what it is, but I can say that I like to at least think that there may be more to something than the surface level.
I should mention that I don’t think that the offense is as easy to grasp as other offenses, and when Morton does finally “get it” I think it’s going to be special.
3. Defense Played Their Ass Off Again. The box score isn’t going to show it, but I thought the defense played exceptionally well. As a whole, they had 9 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, and they swarmed TCU for pretty much the entire game. The final score won’t look great, but two short fields because the offense went for it on 4th down (we’ll get to that in a bit). TCU scored 21 points on 122 yards of total offense. That’s the staggering part, the short fields and everything combined.
4. You Know Who McGuire Is. I don’t know why Gus Johnson decided that today was the day that he would talk about “analytics” and have such an issue. Strange to say the least. My guess is that he’s probably never sat down and done the math to figure out the why, but he’s heard the word analytics enough to know what it means. I would guess that statistically going for it the times that Texas Tech did go for it, given the way that TCU could eat up the clock in the 4th quarter, going for it for those two drives was the only way that Texas Tech was going to win the game. TCU doesn’t turn the ball over, really ever, and so you’d be depending on your defense, that was probably already gassed, to hold the line, get the ball back, and hope that you have enough time to score. Texas Tech doesn’t win the Texas game without going for it on 4th down and you sort of take the good with the bad.
5. The Quarterback Decision is Abundantly Clear. It was always clear to me, I think it was clear to the coaching staff, and it’s a shame that Morton was injured. He was in a boot after the game and sometimes that’s to stabilize a high ankle sprain which is what McGuire confirmed after the game. Morton was playing well, should have had an interception with his first throw, but was 7 of 10 for 79 yards, while Shough was 9 of 22 for 84 yards. Shough looks rusty, but I will say that he’s taking exactly what he’s supposed to take from the defense and those deep passes is what the defense is giving up. The only issue I had with Shough was on the 3rd and 3 or so in the 4th quarter, he could have taken maybe something short to keep the chains moving, but he went for a deep pass that fell incomplete. Regardless, Morton is better now and I don’t know how long he’ll be out, but I think it’s a huge loss.
6. The Facemask That Wasn’t. Yes, the facemask call on Tyree Wilson that wasn’t a facemask at all. Texas Tech was up 17-13 and that call that shouldn’t have been seemingly changed the course of the game. What would have been a loss of yards and putting TCU in a tough spot, gave them 15 yards and a fresh start. Frustrating as hell. And up until this point, TCU had not scored a touchdown on offense (punt return discussed below) so again, the defense held for 3 quarters.
7. Special Teams Returns. I think that Kenny Perry is a fine coach, probably a kickass recruiter and good at running backs. He really has coached everything from cornerbacks, defensive backs overall, to running backs as well as being a special teams coordinator at Kansas and SMU. A special teams mistake, just having an absolute fire drill of coverage from my end of things with 13 minutes left in the first quarter and to allow TCU to get on the board that easily is incredibly frustrating. As frustrating as a lot of you are with the offense, I think I’m there with the defense and coverage. Before yesterday, Texas Tech is 68th in kickoff return coverage, and 89th in punt return coverage. The punt return coverage is likely to go up and if there’s one area that needs significant improvement to me, it’s the coverage units.
8. Idle Thoughts.
- I usually have a ton of stats here that I can access, but I can’t access today because TCU blocks you people from seeing those stats, much like they block fans from attending games and have an AD be proud of that.
- Texas Tech was 3 of 16 on 3rd downs on offense and held TCU to 5 of 15. That’s nothing to be ashamed of on defense and I think that a lot of those missed 3rd downs happened after Morton was hurt.
- Time of possession was 34:39 to 25:21 in favor of TCU.
- Even though it was only 1 turnover (that interception thrown by Shough), Texas Tech lost the turnover battle. TCU just doesn’t turn the ball over.
- Texas Tech averaged 5 yards a play, and we haven’t even talked about how well the running backs played all game. They were fantastic. Love the break-away speed that Cam’Ron Valdez brings to the table and I already am in a committed relationship with SaRodorick Thompson and Tahj Brooks. Both of them averaged nearly 6 yards a carry.
- Only 163 yards total passing, and the defense held TCU to just 195 on 12 of 23. TCU was completing passes at a much higher rate prior to yesterday.
- When JJ Sparkman and Jerand Bradley went down, the outside receivers just weren’t able to come down with those passes that they needed to.
- I thought that Krishon Merriweather, Kosi Eldridge, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (other than that dumb penalty), and Marquise Waters had absolutely terrific games yesterday. Just all over the place. And I’d be remiss not to mention Jaylon Hutchings and his sack as well.
9. Coach Comments.
Texas Tech head coach, Joey McGuire On the game:
“We played a really good team today. TCU did a good job in the second half, something they have done all year long. I’m proud of our guys. There at the end we get a fourth-down stop when we could’ve folded. Then we come out and get a drive to go into the endzone. That says a lot about what we’re building and who we are. But it’s a frustrating game because we have the lead and we just have to make plays to win the game. We were 3-of-6 on fourth down, we have to continue to get better than that. We’re going to be banged up. But we’ll get some guys back. Hopefully some of the guys that didn’t get to finish the game will be back on Sunday or Monday and be ready for practice on Tuesday.”
On the status of quarterback Behren Morton:
“It’s the same ankle he hurt against Oklahoma State. We didn’t feel like he could go. We fought through it against Oklahoma State and thought he could go today and he wanted to. He was upset on the sideline that he couldn’t.”
On the fourth quarter:
“I thought they ran the ball in the second half. I think that had a lot to do with some of their conversions. I think it’s 17-13 when we had the lead. That was a big drive. We had the opportunity to get off the field. It could have been different there heading into the fourth quarter with the lead.”
On the facemask call:
“We were up 17-13 and there were a lot of conversions on that drive. It was tough. I saw a lot of stuff today that I still don’t understand. Without getting my tail fined and putting us in a bad situation. It’s really frustrating. I can’t explain that right there.”
On how to keep positive through consecutive losses:
“Twenty-four hour rule. I’m going to be upset for 24 hours then we’re going to come back and do the same thing tomorrow. We’ve got three games left. There’s a lot of football. I really feel like our guys, just those last two drives, shows you what we’re trying to do and how we are building this team. We talk about having a pump-jack mentality and being the same guy each day. If I don’t come back and have a great attitude and I’m a hypocrite, I can’t be the guy I’m telling them to be. I’ll come back tomorrow and we’ll watch some film and see what we can correct and get ready for a really good Kansas team coming into Lubbock next week.”
10. Tortilla Tossin’ Players of the Game.
Tyree Wilson was an absolute beast again. He’s going to be missed nest year. 8 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, half a sack that he shared with the fellow below, and a quarterback hurry.
Absolutely stellar game from Jesiah Pierre, 5 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and a quarterback hurry. If he can add another pass rushing threat, that’s huge for this team moving forward.
The 3 running backs share these tortillas. Tahj Brooks had 10 carries for 63 yards and averaged 5.9 yards a carry. SaRodorick Thompson had 55 yards on 8 carries for 5.8 yards a carry. Cam’Ron Valdez busted a 71 yard run that nearly went for 6. All in all, the 3 running backs had 176 yards for 8.4 yards an attempt.