I reached out to Seth Jungman, who runs his own Texas Tech blog at StakingThePlains.com for his thoughts on the upcoming KU-Tech football matchup this coming Saturday.
RCT: I’ve heard that freshman QB Alan Bowman is banged up. Do you expect him to be back this week for KU, and is he the next great Tech QB?
STP: One, no, I don’t expect Alan Bowman to play and can almost assure you that it will be Jett Duffey, who played against TCU.
Two, well, given how situations are regarding quarterbacks, I’m not so sure how that works. In the few games that Bowman played and actually received game-prep, he was really good. Almost all good decisions, very low turnovers, and an ability to make very quick decisions on 90% of his passes. But given how quarterbacks seem to be transferring, I don’t know how to answer that second question because quarterbacks tend to transfer if something goes wrong.
I hope that he sticks around and if can add just a bit of arm-strength and size, he’s going to be really good. I think from a mental perspective, he’s got the offense down as good as anyone so the mental aspect of the game is not a problem for him and most of the time the physical aspect of his game is very good.
RCT: Tech lost its four leading receivers from 2017. TJ Vasher and Antoine Wesley were expected to (and have) stepped up, but tell us more about Wesley, who I believe leads the Big 12 in receiving.
STP: Wesley looks like a small forward out there. I wouldn’t put it past him that he weighs more than 180, he’s 6’6” to 6’5” depending on who you ask and just not very big. But he’s got really long arms and a huge catch radius (look at me using big-boy football terms) and he’s also got a really nice ability to go up and get the ball (which he needs to get better at using his height to his advantage).
And Kingsbury did a really nice job of thinking out of the box on Wesley and Vasher, who are both similar in size, but Vasher is a better athlete and probably more explosive, but he’s been injured quite a bit this year.
RCT: The defense appears to be getting better as the year goes along, giving up 49 points to Houston and 42 to West Virginia before holding Oklahoma State to 17 and TCU to 14. Did something change prior to the OSU game?
STP: For me, I think a lot of it is the opponent, sans the West Virginia game. Oklahoma State is somewhat in a bad spot offensively, their quarterback is really not very good and just misses open receivers and the TCU offense is really sort of a mess as well. Their quarterback has turning the ball over and that’s a huge deal for any team. So Texas Tech capitalized on both of those games.
And in the first half of the WVU game, it looked like the Mountaineers were going to score 70, but Texas Tech did a really nice job of stopping the run and then putting pressure on Grier to the point that it caused them some significant issues. And the pressure was from different spots, not your traditional 4-man front, but you’d get a safety blitz or a linebacker bringing it and that worked much better for the defense and they really carried that over to the TCU game. The defensive line has been one of the better groups on the team.
RCT: Is Kliff Kingsbury on any sort of hot seat? It seems like I hear those rumors just about every year.
STP: The fans and I think the athletic director, in particular, really want Kingsbury to succeed. Of course, he wants to win and with Kingsbury being an alum, I think most people really want him to succeed, but Kingsbury is pretty realistic too in that he knows if he doesn’t win, he’s not going to last. So, right now, there are no rumors, but if the season goes south, then yes, you’ll hear more of that.
RCT: I ain’t asking you a basketball question because we talkin’ football, baby. How bad do you feel for the very few number of KU fans who are football-first?
STP: I do feel bad for you all. Of all things, I was talking about football-first KU fans with my brother-in-law after church last week and he was of the opinion that there’s no reason that Kansas can’t be good at football again. There’s a great fanbase and the facilities are just fine, the Jayhawks have done it before, they can be good.
I opined that I thought that they needed a coach with a niche, their very own Mike Leach. Someone that does something a bit differently and can give them an edge where they normally wouldn’t have an edge.
RCT: I already know you’re going to predict a Tech win, so go ahead and do that if you want, but I’ll also ask: Who do you NOT want to see roaming the sidelines in Lawrence over the next couple of seasons? (Assume Beaty is fired before December 1 this year.)
STP: For whatever reason, I don’t think that Navy’s coach is going anywhere, but he would be a great example of what having a niche means. And I haven’t been following the college football market enough to know who that would be other than Seth Littrell.
Littrell is obviously an OU alum, but he coached at Texas Tech, he has Graham Harrell as his offensive coordinator and you would think that he might come with Littrell to Lawerence. There are some other Texas Tech guys on staff as well (Tommy Mainord and Joel Filani), so if I had to pick one guy that I don’t want to see at Kansas, it would be Seth Littrell.
HUGE thanks to Seth for taking some time out of his day to answer a few questions for us. I returned the favor for him over at Staking the Plains, so be sure and go check that out as well.