The weekly BUBE: Texas Tech

October 8, 2010 by: TheeJack

This week’s Bear University Blog Exchange (BUBE) is with the fine folk over at Double T Nation.

Here are their answers to our questions:

1) TheeBears: What are the Tech fan’s thoughts on Tuberville picking Potts over Sheffield? Is everyone largely happy with that decision?

Double-T: It’s tough speaking for an entire fanbase, but generally speaking, I think the consensus is that Taylor Potts may have topped out in terms of potential. That’s not to say that Potts still doesn’t have plenty of supporters and the offensive woes for Texas Tech could be attributed to a handful of things other than quarterback.

With that being said, I think that most fans, even before the season, thought that Steven Sheffield should have been named the starter. The thing that doesn’t make sense, at least to me, is that these two quarterbacks have been with two different coaching staffs and both staffs chose Potts.

Last year documented that, while Sheffield may be a bit fragile because of his size, he is dynamic and does add something to the offense that Potts does lack. And to clarify, I was all about supporting Potts and giving him a fair shake this year, but his performance against the Longhorns was the last straw. Sure, it wasn’t all his fault, but the offense isn’t clicking like it should and a change at quarterback doesn’t seem like the worst idea.

2) TheeBears: We’ve been surprised at Tech’s defensive struggles thus far. Tubberville is a defensive minded coach and the cupboard wasn’t bare. Is this a schematic problem or is there something bigger at the root of it?

Double-T: Right now, it’s just one awful, and I mean awful, defensive performance against Iowa St., and some pretty good to okay performances against SMU, New Mexico and UT. The thing that’s surprised me is that the defensive line has played well thus far. DE Scott Smith and OLB Brian Duncan have gotten pretty good pressure on the quarterback, good for 5th in the nation in sacks. The secondary, while young, already has 8 interceptions for the year.

There’s talent on defense, but I think part of it is philosophical. Last year the defense was your standard 4-3 and bend-but-don’t-break variety. This year, defensive coordinator James Willis is trying to implement an attacking 3-4 defense. And it’s produced results in terms of turnovers and sacks and tackles for loss. But what it also does is put your cornerbacks on an island and one-on-one coverage and that’s where this defense has struggled.

I think most Texas Tech fans are learning that it’s not so easy playing man coverage for the entire game and not getting beat deep. We’ve also talked about this on DTN, but the inside linebackers have struggled to stop the run and fill the gaps. Willis likes to run a gap-control defense and if players aren’t in the gaps then the opposing offense can run wild.

3) TheeBears: Are you surprised Tuberville is not utilizing the run more? (You have thrown 192 and ran only 110 on the season and your top two backs are both averaging over 4 yards a carry)

Double-T: Everyone likes to harp on the idea that Tuberville has lied and that the offense isn’t the same. It’s not the same in terms of production, efficiency and consistency, but for the most part, it is the same. My theory is that you don’t replace one of the greatest offensive minds and expect to have the same production.

Seems like a slap in the face to that former head coach. When Tuberville hired offensive coordinator, one of the first things that Texas Tech fans did was to look at his run-to-pass ratio, which was about 40% run and 60% pass. That’s about where Texas Tech is at right now and while Leach coached the team it was closer to 30% run and 70% pass. I sometimes think that I’m the only one that thinks that, at least this year, Tuberville is going to let Brown continue that ratio. Texas Tech has the personnel to run this spread offense and believe it or not, Brown was a player at Kentucky when Leach was there as the offensive coordinator with head coach Hal Mumme. The roots are there for the Air-Raid to continue, but time will tell as to whether or not Tuberville intends on completely changing the offense.

4) TheeBears: Besides keying on Griffin, what other concerns do you have about the Baylor football team?

Double-T: I’ve always been impressed with Kendall Wright’s speed and with Texas Tech playing man-coverage, this could be a matchup problem for Texas Tech. I’ve always thought that Finley was a really nice running back. He runs hard and seems to really fit what Briles is doing in Baylor.

I’d be lying if I told you that I’ve watched enough Baylor football to be familiar with the team defensively, but statistically, I am concerned and really interested in how Texas Tech’s left tackle, LaAdrian Waddle, matches up with Tevin Elliott. On paper, Elliott looks like a speed-rusher, and Waddle isn’t the quickest left tackle, but he is big. I’m also interested to see if NG Phil Taylor and DT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste can dominate Texas Tech’s interior offensive linemen.

5) TheeBears: Had Tech been able to afford Briles, do u think the fan base would be happier today?

Double-T: At this point, I don’t know what Texas Tech fans really would have wanted. There’s a vocal group that wanted nothing to do with Briles. Personally, I like Briles and I think in retrospect his personality would have fit West Texas a bit more than Tuberville. But if Briles was at Texas Tech and he was also 2-2 with an arse-whipping at the hands of Iowa St., I think that even if Mike Leach was the head coach, people would be wanting to call for the coach’s head.

BONUS Question: TheeBears: What do you think the outcome of Leach’s trial will be? He appears to actively want to go to trial.

Double-T: Right now, the issue that’s been appealed is whether or not Texas Tech has sovereign immunity because of what Leach allegedly did to Adam James. Although I haven’t briefed this particular issue I don’t think that the appeals court will allow Texas Tech this defense. Seems like it would be an incredibly slippery slope to allow any state agency to terminate any employee for conduct that the state agency deems to be inappropriate. I’d be shocked if the appeals court holds this up and I think at the end of the Texas Tech had better get their checkbook ready.

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