Kansas vs. Texas Tech: Five Questions with 'Viva the Matadors'
Tommy Tuberville seemed like a bit of a controversial hire. Not sure if it was Tuberville or just the Mike Leach hangover but things sort of seem to be settling in this season. Are Red Raider fans warming up to him as a coach and what he's doing with the program or is there still a little bit of apprehension when looking toward the future.
Warming up depends on who you talk to and if Texas Tech wins or loses. I think it just depends and if the teams falls flat like they did last year. Last year was really tough after having a good first part of the year, the team couldn't get a win after the Oklahoma game and that was really tough to watch the team be continually lose week after week. This year, it's been a bit different and Texas Tech is bowl eligible, but the fans want more, and I think they should. Most fans are hoping for 7 to 9 wins, and that's still possible and my initial forecast was only 7 wins, so I feel like the team is on pace. I think most fans run hot and cold with Tuberville. The very conservative approach is night and day different than Leach and that's the problem. It is going from one extreme to another.
Defensively Tech looks like one of the better teams in the league. That has obviously been a process, what changed and what has contributed to that success?
The biggest thing has just getting back to basics. The defense has very much struggled recently and that's to be expected with the offensive-minded Big 12. If Kansas fans hold out hope for their defense, Texas Tech took a similar approach and hired an older defensive coordinator that's been around the block a bit in Art Kaufman. It has been just getting players lined up correctly and sticking to technique and the basics. The players are probably a bit better, but that's a tough thing to quantify. I think the younger players are maybe more talented, but potential and thinking that players are better can get fans into trouble. Texas Tech really needs to try to right the ship a bit, but that will be very tough with Baylor and Oklahoma St. left after Kansas and I think the running game of Kansas could really be problematic for Texas Tech as they don't really have a lot of size at defensive tackle.
Kansas has had some success against Texas and Oklahoma State, both strong offensive teams. They struggled however against Baylor. Do you feel like Tech will present a matchup similiar to Baylor? or the other two teams? I think the primary difference here was that Baylor still runs that extreme spread em out style that we used to see in the Big 12 two to three years ago. Texas and Oklahoma State leaned more heavily on the run and while they still run a spread, it isn't the 2006-2009 spread.
Texas Tech has remained at about 40% running and 60% passing. Last week, Texas Tech ran a ton of 2 back sets, but I'd guess that they go 4 wide for most of the game. Texas Tech still runs, for the most part, 4 wide, but some of the depth at wide receiver was hurt a handful of games ago and it's affected getting the ball deep. They were able to stretch the field a bit and that is one thing that Baylor has that few teams do have, which is a receiver like Terrance Williams that can force defenses to game-plan against him. Still, I think you'll see Texas Tech really try to force the pace, try to work very quickly and push as much as possible.
How does the future look for Texas Tech football. I ask because you all are a bit of an off the radar team at the moment for whatever reason. You're a solid program putting together wins, but there isn't the flash keeping you in the spotlight. That might be the case across the Big 12 as a whole, I just feel like I don't know a lot about Tech going forward and maybe I'm missing something because this year seems to have gone better than anticipated.
It's about consistency and going forward, I think Texas Tech fans are hopeful about the future. Tuberville has very much preached the recruiting aspect in that he's had two top-25 classes to start off his recruiting efforts. That really has to start paying off here next year. Most, if not all of his guys will be playing a majority of the snaps. And you are right, this year has gone better than anticipated, but the media and those-in-the-know were predicting the exact same thing as last year and that really never works absolutely. You have to consider the guys that are lost, the starters returning and all of those sorts of things, but I think prognosticators just didn't trust what Tuberville was doing, and with good reason. So if Texas Tech can consistently get back to winning 7 to 9 games, then they'll be in the conversation, but being consistent year after year is very difficult.
I'll flip to basketball briefly because that's what we do a little better at Kansas. What happened with Billy Clyde?
How much time do you have? It ended up being about violations about practice time and Gillispie resigning as a result of health reasons, but there was probably more to the story. There were allegations of players having to practice 7 to 8 hours on consecutive days and the worst allegation was that Gillispie made one of the current players run stairs on a stress fracture. I'm fine with players having to practice hard, but when a coach has to step over the line by forcing injured players to practice, then he's no longer coaching, but trying to intimidate. I was at law school in Tulsa when Self and Gillispie were there together and you never heard things about Self. Ever. With Gillispie, this is the exact same pattern that led him to have to leave Kentucky. He allegedly treated the support staff at Texas Tech poorly, he treated assistant coaches poorly and he was generally a very difficult person to work with. He promised he had changed, but when he gets hired again, and I think he will, I will tell whatever blogger that asks me that he will say all of the right things, but he's not likely to change.
Lastly, how about a prediction for Saturday.
I do think that Texas Tech is a better team, but I also think that the 25 point spread is too much, but not by much. I'll predict a 30 to 10 win for Texas Tech.