Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:15 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Texas Tech, who open their spring practice on Friday.
Spring practice question: Can Texas Tech get on the defensive?
For quite a while now, Texas Tech has been known as a one-dimensional team for the most part. An offense that is capable of putting up 40+ points in a game against anybody, but also a defense just as likely to give up 50. Of course, that's not the way Tommy Tuberville has done things where he's gone.
This is a man that was involved in a game with a 3-2 final score after all, beating Mississippi State while coaching Auburn. So what I'm looking at this spring when it comes to Texas Tech is whether or not we're going to see any improvement on defense. Yes, Taylor Potts has graduated and there will be a battle for the quarterback job this spring, but Tech has had plenty of good quarterbacks in its history.
It's the Tech defense that has cost the team a chance at winning the Big 12. Which is precisely why Texas Tech went out and hired Chad Glasgow, the former secondary coach at TCU, as his new defensive coordinator.
In 2010 Texas Tech gave up more points per game (30.3) than any other team in the Big 12 except Kansas, and was last in the conference in pass defense, allowing 306.0 yards per game. Which is precisely the area where Tuberville and Glasgow will have to improve the defense.
Luckily for the both of them, they have options. Two starters from 2010 in LaRon Moore and Franklin Mitchem are gone, but there is still some talent left in the cupboard. Cody Davis and Will Ford are both returning starters in the secondary, and then there are sophomores Tre Porter and Jarvis Phillips. Both the sophomores have the potential to be key players in Tech's secondary, and if they're going to achieve that potential, the work needs to begin this spring.
Of course, the secondary is not the only place that will need work. Along with both Davis and Ford leaving, Texas Tech also loses starters in Colby Whitlock, Bront Bird, and Brian Duncan. So somebody is going to have to step up and fill the void. A playmaker will need to emerge. If not a member of the secondary, then where?
The player I'd keep an eye on this spring is defensive end Scott Smith. Smith will be a senior in 2011, and only played in four games last season before being suspended by Tuberville for the remainder of the season in October for violating team rules. In those four games, though, the defensive end did manage three sacks.
The best pass defense has always been a good pass rush, and if Smith has learned from his mistakes and gets himself ready to play in 2011, his impact could be huge for the Tech defense.
We'll begin to find out today.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2011 7:20 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Texas Tech withstands a late Northwestern charge to win the inaugural TicketCity Bowl 45-38
Offense: Senior Taylor Potts spent most of his career at Texas Tech in the Air Raid system that basically hands the keys of the offense to the quarterback. When the Red Raiders hired Tommy Tuberville as Mike Leach's replacement, that system left with Leach. But when Northwestern shut down the rushing game early, Potts was given the green light to fire at will. Using accurate throws on intermediate passing routes, the Red Raiders marched up and down the field all day on the Wildcats. Potts finished his career as a Red Raider with one of his finer performances of the season, completing 43 of 56 passes for 369 yards, and five total touchdowns. GRADE: A-
Defense: A matter of days ago Texas Tech found out that not only would defensive coordinator James Willis be leaving after just one season, but he would not even coach the Red Raiders in their bowl game. Considering the disruption this must have caused in the unit's preparation, the Red Raiders put together a pretty impressive performance in the first half. Unfortunately, when Northwestern got their dual-QB offense going in the second half the defense was caught on their heels. GRADE: C-
Coaching: When the rushing game failed, head coach Tommy Tuberville was forced to do the one thing he truly distastes: airing the ball out. But Tubs was able to come to terms with abandoning the running game because of how accurate Potts appeared, particularly early. Tuberville even let a trick play go down on the double-pass that set up Potts' rushing/receiving touchdown. The Red Raiders came into the game with basically no defensive coordinator, and yet still held the Wildcats to just one score in the first half. GRADE: B
Offense: In the first half, Northwestern looked helplessly lost without quarterback Dan Persa and running back Mike Trumpy. Their offense was stagnant, and their defensive counterparts could not do anything to stop the Red Raiders either. Needless to say, things looked bleak. But after the break, the Wildcats were able to utilize their two-quarterback package to move the ball down the field on Texas Tech. Running a scheme that utilized both Evan Watkins and Kain Colter, occasionally on the field at the same time, the Wildcats were able to keep the defense guessing and take advantage of some open field to score quickly and get back into the game. With Watkins primarily throwing and Colter primarily running, the two freshmen combined to do their best Dan Persa impression. Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome the 24-6 halftime deficit. GRADE: C
Defense: Northwestern's defense was their one consistent flaw throughout all four quarters of the TicketCity Bowl. Time and time again, they were unable to create the big third down stop to keep the Red Raiders from moving the ball, and eventually, burning up the clock. The best chance the Wildcats had was when they cut the lead to 38-31 early in the fourth quarter. When Texas Tech got the ball back, Potts put together a 10 play, 69 yard touchdown drive that temporarily deflated the Northwestern sideline. Were it not for Jordan Mabin's pick-six two minutes later, the final result could have been much worse for the Wildcats. GRADE: F
Coaching: Preparing for Texas Tech team was a challenge for Patrick Fitzgerald and the Northwestern coaching staff, particularly on offense without Persa or Trumpy. Luckily, they had plenty of time to put together the scheme for Colter and Watkins. The Wildcat-esque package they ran was not anything groundbreaking, but it was good enough to create some quick scores to give Northwestern a chance at the end of the game. GRADE: B-
FINAL GRADE: Northwestern hasn't won a bowl game since 1949, and for a moment in the second half it looked like this COULD be their triumphant moment. But no Persa and no Trumpy really hurt the Wildcats in the first half, falling into a deficit that was just too much to overcome. For Taylor Potts, it was good to see him air it out one last time. Not often this season has he gotten to complete 40+ passes now that Mike Leach's Air Raid offense is gone. At halftime, this snoozer was an F. But thanks to a furious comeback by the Wildcats, the game ended up being quite entertaining. GRADE: C+
Posted on: November 5, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 5:17 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Earlier today, the semifinalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the top senior quarterback in the nation, were announced. Sure, the list is going to pale in comparison to the Davey O'Brien Award, which is allowed to nominate the likes of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Kellen Moore, Denard Robinson, et cetera, but the senior class is still pretty strong this season.
To that end, we celebrate these eight quarterbacks who were nominated by the Unitas committee:
All worthy honorees, these; of the eight listed, the top six seniors in passing efficiency are represented, and the other two (Ponder, Locker) are high-level pro prospects. It's likely that neither makes the list of five finalists, but they both deserve some credit for their long, eventful college careers.
But wait -- five finalists? Out of eight semifinalists? Oh, no no; here's the rub. There are actually 10 semifinalists. It's just that the last two are so inexplicable that we couldn't in good conscience discuss them in the same context as the first eight. The other two semifinalists, who you wouldn't have guessed given 10 tries, are Idaho's Nathan Enderle and Delaware's Pat Devlin. Yeah, exactly.
Enderle is currently 61st among FBS quarterbacks in passing efficiency, and he's tied for fourth in most interceptions thrown with 12. Yes, he's 11th in passing yards per game, but that just makes him the Jerrod Johnson of the WAC. Enderle's not exactly a dual threat, either; he has no rushing touchdowns on the season and rushes for about -18 yards a game once sacks are factored in. Enderle also likely holds the ignominious honor of the worst yards per reception rate in the NCAA, as he was credited for one catch for -13 yards against Hawaii last week. We hope that's the worst in the NCAA, anyway, because woe is anyone worse than that.
But for as odd as Enderle's selection is, Devlin's is downright mystifying; the Penn State transfer is currently helming the Delaware Blue Hens, who are No. 4 in the FCS, but that's about as far as Devlin's accomplishments go. He's accounted for six touchdowns on the entire year, and half of those came against D-II West Chester to begin the season. In other words, Devlin has thrown three touchdowns against FCS competition all season long. GET THAT MAN ON A SEMIFINALISTS LIST, STAT.
As with Ponder and Locker, it's extremely unlikely that these two guys make the final cut, and it's also unikely that any of the quarterback that got snubbed (FCS No. 3 Villanova's Chris Whitney, Texas Tech's Taylor Potts, and Fresno State's Ryan Colburn , to name a few) would have made the top five either. Still, any of those three would have been better choices than either Enderle or Devlin, and we're at a loss for trying to figure out why either of those two quarterbacks made the list of 10 semifinalists.
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Chris Whitney, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Delaware, Denard Robinson, Florida State, Fresno State, Greg McElroy, Idaho, Iowa, Jake Locker, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Kellen Moore, Nathan Enderle, Nevada, Pat Devlin, Ricky Stanzi, Ryan Colburn, Scott Tolzien, Taylor Potts, TCU, Texas Tech, Tyrod Taylor, Unitas Award, Unitas Semifinalists, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Washington, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 4, 2010 11:13 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 11:19 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville will be looking for any kind of competitive advantage against No. 12 Missouri on Saturday night in Lubbock. The Tigers will come in hungry after having their undefeated season spoiled at the hands of a 31-17 loss to Nebraska a week ago. Tuberville has re-opened the quarterback competition between Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield this week in practice, and he has decided the starter will not be announced until just before kickoff in Jones AT&T Stadium.
Tuberville said after practice on Wednesday that while he will not announce who gets the start, fans can expect to see both quarterbacks against the Tigers. He also reiterated that he believes the decision will not give the Red Raiders a competitive advantage against the Missouri defense.
"It's the same offense," Tuberville said. "It's like last week when we went into that game and it didn't really make any difference. (Texas A&M) ran the same offense with (Ryan) Tannehill that they did with the other guy. You can't make a lot of changes but you can put one or two things in."
It has not been the easiest first year for Tuberville in Lubbock. Known for his tenacious defenses in his time at Auburn, Tuberville has to be frustrated with a defensive unit that ranks 113 in the nation in total defense - giving up 449.5 yards per game. Missouri's offense was thwarted by Nebraska's defense, but will likely have no problem getting back in rhythm against the Red Raiders. In order for Tech to have a chance, they will need (insert QB name here) to get the ball down the field to keep up with Blaine Gabbert and the Tigers.
Posted on: October 9, 2010 2:03 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While this week's game at the Cotton Bowl and the Texas State Fair may not be as popular as last week's game between Texas and Oklahoma (judging by all the empty seats, it's no where near as popular), through the first thirty minutes it's been a lot more entertaining. Well, unless you're one of those people who actually like seeing defenses make stops in a football game. If not, then the Cotton Bowl is nirvana this afternoon.
At halftime -- and I stress the word HALFTIME -- of the game between Texas Tech and Baylor there have been nine touchdowns scored. That's an average of one touchdown for every three minutes and 20 seconds of game played, as the Red Raiders lead the Bears 35-28 at halftime.
Here's an idea of some of the things you've missed if you're not watching this game.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 4:40 pm
Posted by the College Football Blog Staff
Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Les Miles wouldn't be the coach that screwed up the endgame the worst during Tennessee-LSU? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.
Utah punishes every single "win-go-up, lose-go-down" poll voter by dropping their night game at Iowa State, 31-20. The previously comatose Cyclone defense comes to life against the Utes, sacking Jordan Wynn four times and picking him off twice. The exasperated Utah coach, Kyle Whittingham, will blame the pollsters for Utah's upset loss, saying "I wasn't the one telling my guys they were the tenth best team in the [censored] nation." -- Adam Jacobi
Washington State slows down and upsets Oregon in Martin Stadium, claiming their first conference win with a 24-0 victory over the Ducks. The shutout will be thanks to the defense who, despite starting the day ranked 118th in the nation in yards allowed per game (509.8), shut down the best offense in nation by simply putting 11 linebackers on the field at all times. -- Chip Patterson
Michigan's defense actually shows up to play on Saturday, allowing Denard Robinson to see even more snaps behind center. The end result is a 600-yard performance from Robinson as the Wolverines coast to a surprisingly easy 42-17 victory over Michigan State, giving Denard an even firmer grasp on the Heisman Trophy. -- Tom Fornelli
Michigan and Michigan State's defenses completely shut each other down in a 3-2 Spartan victory in the Big House. Denard Robinson attempts to run 18 times, but is only held to 14 yards. Braylon Edwards gets behind the wheel and drives the Spartans back to East Lansing, hitting every bar on the way. At 73 mph. -- Chip Patterson
A week after having a huge day in a losing effort against Michigan, Indiana's Ben Chappell does even more damage in the Horseshoe. Chappell picks the Ohio State secondary apart for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns. Terrelle Pryor's leg injury reappears and the Buckeyes offense has absolutely no answer. The Hoosiers shock the world, picking up what would be considered the biggest win in the program's history. Final score: Indiana 45, Ohio State 31. -- Tom Fornelli
Oregon pours it on hapless Washington State for the full 60 minutes and becomes the first I-A team to hit the century mark since Houston beat Tulsa 100-6 in 1968. LaMichael James reclaims the top spot in Heisman consideration with 532 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Oregon cruises, 113-0. -- Adam Jacobi
The game between LSU and Florida is an all-time epic performance that will be talked about 50 years from now. The game goes back and forth as the offenses take turns destroying the defenses, and the defenses respond in kind. Finally, in the fourth quarter Jordan Jefferson takes the field with LSU down 24-20 and two minutes left on the clock. He has yet to throw an interception as the Tigers begin their drive. They enter get inside the Florida 20-yard line as the clock goes under the minute mark. Les Miles stands on the sidelines with no worries in the world. Amazingly, he still has all three of his timeouts left. He uses them well, and Gary Crowton calls the perfect plays as Jefferson hits Terrence Toliver for the game winning touchdown with 12 seconds left. LSU wins 27-24. -- Tom Fornelli
In a scene reminiscent of the realistic football documentary Varsity Blues, the Texas Tech players rise up in mutiny against head coach Tommy Tuberville at halftime as they trail Baylor 21-3. Red Raiders QB Taylor Potts makes one call on his cell phone, and five minutes into the third quarter, Mike Leach parachutes onto the field, delighting the Cotton Bowl crowd. Leach, seeing no sheds present at the game, has WR Adam James locked in a bathroom stall for the rest of the game. Leach re-installs the spread, Baylor's defense is overmatched, and the Red Raiders prevail 34-31. -- Adam Jacobi
South Carolina upsets Alabama 28-24 after Mark Ingram has his 5th fumble of the game on the goal line in the final seconds. Trent Richardson, who had 250 yards rushing in the game, erupts with rage that he did not get a chance to win the game himself. In the locker room, things get heated. Our own Tom Fornelli emerges from Richardson's locker and pins Ingram's arms behind his back, allowing Richardson to head-butt Ingram and knock the Heisman Trophy winner to the ground. Alabama coach Nick Saban suspends Ingram for the confrontation, claiming "the kid showed no fight." -- Chip Patterson
Tags: Adam James, Alabama, Baylor, Ben Chappell, Braylon Edwards, Denard Robinson, Florida, Gary Crowton, Houston, Indiana, Insane Predictions, Iowa State, Jordan Jefferson, Jordan Wynn, Kyle Whittingham, LaMichael James, Les Miles, LSU, Mark Ingram, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike Leach, Nick Saban, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, Taylor Potts, Terrelle Pryor, Terrence Toliver, Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, Trent Richardson, Tulsa, Utah, Washington State