|Texas Tech Red Raiders (0-0, 0-0)|
|Wyoming Cowboys (0-0, 0-0)|
|September 2nd @ 6:30 p.m.|
|Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium | Laramie, Wyoming|
|Texas Tech -14|
|CBS | CBS|
|81, Partly Cloudy.|
I won’t lie. The brown and yellow that are Wyoming’s colors is one of my favorite color combinations in college football. Incredibly unique and other than the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Browns, I can’t think of another team that wears brown. Absolutely love it and it fits Wyoming.
Wyoming has had 41 players from that great state play in the NFL, while Texas has produced 2,631 (this was tough to keep track of, but I think this is right) players who have played in the NFL. No matter which way you cut that statistic, that’s a conversation starter.
Wyoming released their depth chart with 17 players returning that went 7-6 last year. It would make sense that they are on the same path to improvement as Texas Tech. Always a good sign for a healthy program is that they were 3-3 on the road, so it’s not just home games they are winning. Super senior Andrew Peasley is the starter at quarterback and he’s not so much a passer as he is a caretaker, averaging 131 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Also on offense, junior college transfer Jamari Ferrell will likely get the starting nod at running back. The receiver room is maybe the most experienced group with 119 starts between 3 players. Meanwhile, defensive line may be one of the better spots with defensive end Devonne Harris expected to make a big impact, a long and lean player, 6’4″ and 230, he had 8 sacks and 13 TFL last year. Easton Gibbs is the main guy at linebacker, who had 12 tackles last year.
The Wyoming nosetackle is Cole Godbout and that’s a pretty great name.
Kicker John Hoyland might be Wyoming’s best player and you sort of never want something to come down to a kick, but Hoyland made 88% of his field goal attempts last year. It’s not a surprise that he’s a first team All-American on a handful of lists.
The Red Raiders
The one thing that I think that McGuire is most happy about is the idea that the offensive line is going to be a revelation. McGuire isn’t usually one to blow smoke without it being somewhat true and maybe it’s going to be relative to last year, but McGuire seems legitimately excited about having Staats at center, moving Wilburn to guard and Rogers at right tackle, theoretically making putting pieces in the right spots.
Another thing that McGuire seemingly isn’t worried about? Rushing the passer. Again, very confident that although Tyree Wilson was absolutely terrific, McGuire maybe thinks that the sum of the parts is going to be just fine with Myles Cole, Joseph Adedire, Steve Linton, and Isaac Smith.
One of the stats that definitely needs improvement is explosive plays offensively. Some of that was inconsistency at quarterback and inexperience at receiver. That really shouldn’t be an issue this year, or an excuse. The offense should be more explosive overall and the offense should be able to get the ball down the field in bigger chunks. I think adding in Valdez at running back helps, Brooks is probably not a huge explosive play type of running back.
One of the things that I constantly consider is the idea of if the program is set up for long-term success. That’s a tough question to answer, but very simply, one way to look at the roster and ask what the class breakdown is. Is it senior heavy, which might indicate a pretty severe drop-off? Are there plenty of freshmen, redshirts, juniors, etc.? On the roster there are 31 seniors (or super seniors), 19 juniors, 22 sophomores, 17 redshirt freshmen, and 31 freshmen. That is senior heavy, but that’s also a team with a lot of development, 58% of the class are sophomores or younger. I think that sets up well moving forward and with McGuire being a fan of having these freshmen play 4 games in cases, that helps.
I have never seen a player make coaches tear and/or choke up like Bryce Ramirez. I’ve been doing this for a hot-minute, but the emotions that Ramirez and his comeback elicit from coaches is nothing short of amazing: “If there’s one guy on our team that you had to say, ‘Which guy’s The Brand?’ it’s probably Bryce Ramirez. He just embodies everything we want to do, who we’re about,” DeRuyter said, then looked down and collected his emotion. “And it’s been really impressive to see him come back. The work he’s put in to get where he is today, I’m really excited that he’s going to get close to where he was a year ago.”
“That program has a proud tradition, but they also play with a chip on their shoulders, and they take on all comers,” said Bohl, who faced Texas Tech in the old Southwest Conference when he was an assistant at Rice and in the Big 12 when he was Nebraska’s defensive coordinator. “I think it’s a great fit for Coach McGuire and I’m excited about coaching against these guys.”
“It means the world to me, honestly,” Ferrell said of seeing his name atop the Week 1 depth chart released Monday. “For Gordie to get me how fast he did and for me and Coach Bohl’s relationship to be so quick and tight, I love it and appreciate they put that trust in me and think I’m the man to do it.
“I’ve got the mentality of being better than I was before,” Bradley said. “I pushed myself to be the best me I could be every day. I just continued to push myself, just work hard, go beyond my limits.”
Odds and Ends
- If you have followed along for a while, you know that I don’t really consume television or the news. I just don’t turn the TV on unless I’m watching sports for the most part. Since I’ve slowed down, I have expanded my horizons a bit and would like to tell you that I do endorse The Recruit on Netflix, a newly graduated lawyer joins the CIA and gets mixed up in a grey mail case that becomes much bigger than he ever imagined. It’s not too serious and the acting is good. Definitely enjoyable.
- Every time I ask my kids how their day was the answer is always the same. Fine. So I’ve started asking them what made them laugh that day and that usually elicits something. Partly because it forces them to tell me about something and that’s sort of the point.
- I’m sort of interested, but not really interested in Deion Sanders and Colorado. Maybe interested from afar. I cannot imagine a team where Sanders says that he doesn’t care about culture at all and says that the players don’t even have to like each other. Sure, maybe, I think it is an interesting experiment and I think that what he did at Jackson State was pretty darned incredible. I don’t know if he can make it work in Colorado, at least this year.
- The boys started their 8th grade for Fitsum and 6th grade for Youssouf years. They are both in middle school which is great. Fits is playing in the band, playing tennis, and running cross country while taking honors classes. He’s a special kid, one where he’s always been a bit behind athletically, but far ahead academically. He ran in a cross-country meet on Wednesday night and finished 37th out of 113. I don’t know that he would have finished in the top half last year so it’s fun to see it clicking and if he is anything, he is someone who perseveres.
- Youssouf is 1-of-1 athletically right now in his life. He spent the summer playing club basketball, which kept us as a family incredibly busy, while playing touch football and soccer. In touch football he won the league MFP and offensive MVP. We are lucky enough that he’s playing on a really good club basketball team, Dallas Showtyme (this club team produced Keenan Evans), but he’s also been training with the dad of an NBA player, which is not something I thought would ever happen. He also tried out for his age-group for the North Texas Olympic Development Program in soccer and he’s made the first cut with the second round coming up in September. Oh, he’s also smart and I’ve told him numerous times that it’s not fair that he’s good-looking, smart, and athletic, but he is.
- Big Ten football is the most boring shit I’ve ever seen. I’ll watch the AAC, that’s not a typo, before watching the Big Ten. It’s boring as hell.
CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli is picking a slate of this weekend’s games and notes that despite not being all that high on Texas Tech in general, he thinks he 14-point line is way too low. Fornelli even thinks this is the “lock of the week” and I’m never that confident of Texas Tech because I’ve been hurt too much, I like Texas Tech a lot, mainly because I think the Wyoming offense really struggles in the passing game:
Texas Tech at Wyoming: This line is short! I say this as somebody who isn’t as high on Texas Tech coming into the season as a lot of others. The Red Raiders are seen as a possible 2023 answer to TCU in the Big 12, but while there’s a lot to like about this team, that feels like a stretch to me. It’s almost as much of a stretch as thinking Wyoming will be able to hang within two touchdowns of the Red Raiders.
I’ll take Texas Tech here, don’t think the points are enough, and love the fact that they are getting tested on the road.