Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dear Rex Grossman...


Please find a comfortable spot at the end of the bench. Don't bother showing up to practice either. Our defense has had enough reps at "jumping the route" and breaking up/intercepting your passes. Our receivers need to spend more time playing catch with the QB and build a good rapport with him. This will go a long way toward helping us return to the Super Bowl. Your services are no longer needed. It took a while but I have finally realized that you do not have the makeup of an NFL Quarterback and that Brian Griese...or Kyle Orton...or Vinny Testaverde...or whomever we can find that's sitting by the phone at home (Anybody has Jeff George's phone # handy???) will be a better fit for our system. I'm sorry it had to come to this but it is what it is. You can't see over the offensive line. You can't roll out of the pocket to see around the offensive line. You can't go through a route progression. What can you do, Rex??? Wait...I've got it!! You can complete passes but they tend to be caught by the defense at an alarmingly high rate. See all is not lost. You can effectively replace the JUGS machine in defensive drills. (hey Ron...cancel that order on the M1700...Rex will take care of it for us.) Ok Rex...sorry to take up anymore of your time. Thanks for not making me look like a total fool out there. I think this move will be best for the both of us in the long run. I can restore the fans' trust in me and you can stop having to go to the psychiatrist the day after a game. It's a win-win situation for all involved!



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Other Weekly Picks (Sept 22-24th)

These are my actual plays from last weekend...for record keeping purposes at the end of the year:

Oklahoma -24 @ Tulsa
Wake Forest - 3 vs Maryland
SMU +21 @ TCU
Dallas +3 @ Chicago
Tennessee +5 @ New Orleans

Louisville -35.5 vs Syracuse (damn impluse run down to the sports book after listening to Gameday )
Texas Tech -6 @ Okie Lite
Oakland -3 vs Cleveland

Parlay Win:
Tennessee +180 @ New Orleans along with the under (-115) on 47 points. THANK YOU to Rob Bironas for missing the chip shot (under 30 yd) FG in the 4th quarter!!!

Monday night picks

I hope that like took the Titans (on the moneyline at +180) and the under for a nice parlay. I found out yesterday that I won't have internet at home until combine that with our internet at work being down yesterday and I feel quite seperated from the world right now. Oh well...I'll survive.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Apology, Depression, and "good news"

First off I want to apologize on not getting anything else posted last week. I wrote everything that I wanted to post...but could never find free internet near the blackjack tables for some reason. It's crazy I tell ya. Then I get home yesterday and my internet is down (and still was this morning). As far as my picks...I did have Tech winning 52-42 and the Bears beating the Cows 24-19. The Tech pick was an honest pick...the Bears pick was reverse psychology. I'm heading back to Vegas again this Thursday night (for a wedding) so I won't make this game...but I will get a Tech preview posted. doesn't look like the directional louisiana (no I won't capitalize the L) game will be on TV...and I don't want to spend time researching a 1-AA team so you'll just get some thoughts on Tech and a discussion on what it will take for them to win by X points on Saturday.

Saturday afternoon...sitting at the Bellagio sports book and watching Tech and Okie Lite trade TD's in the first half. Thoughts...Crabs is getting better every our defense we know how to tackle??? or blitz??? a great catch by MC...nice job getting two quick scores before the end of the half. Then we head down to Mandalay Bay to catch the 2nd half since we were going to a show after the game. Well 90 minutes of walking and trying to find a taxi and food later...I'm still hungry...still haven't found a TV...and I'm listening to the end of game updates on my cell from a friend. Upon hearing of the dropped TD pass...I turned to the girl and said, "Well...there goes the national championship." I then proceeded to drink 17 spiked fruity red drinks during the show...well not really...but maybe it would've made me feel better.

"Good News"
I think I'm the last TT fan site to post this...but Lyle Setencich is gone as the Def Coordinator. While he "officially" resigned...this quote from the LAJ sure makes it sound like Leach initiated the departure:

Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said head coach Mike Leach moved to make the change.
"Mike told me early this morning that he was going to talk to Lyle today about this,’’ Myers said. "Mike did initiate it and felt he needed to talk to Lyle about it, and so that’s what transpired. … I think they just decided that a change needed to be made on defense."

I'm surprised that Leach is willing to pull the trigger mid-season and had resigned myself to watching one of Tech's best passing attacks in recent memory be hampered by a weak defense. Now I'm not saying that changing the DC will create overnight improvement on defense...but early indications are that McNeill is willing to blitz, stunt, and mix up coverages on a regular basis, something that Lyle would never do. If he does that, then the burden will be on the players to step up, be aggressive, and perform on Saturdays. They'll have two "warmup" games against NW la and Iowa State before the Aggots come to town October 13th for their next "statement game" so it will be a few weeks before any real judgements can be made. That doesn't mean we won't try to make them though!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Weekly Picks (Sept 20-23)

I'm quickly turning into the worst blogger ever...that or maybe I just have a bit too much going on right now. I promise that this site will get much better in Ocotober and November as my travel will only be to Tech football games and not to 18 other places like it has been in recent months. Anyways...onto the picks and I'll be writing my Bears/Cows preview on the flight to Vegas today and post it once I can get down to the 1 free wi-fi spot at the Wynn.

Texas ATM +3 (-135) @ Miami - You have got to be kidding me with this spread. The oddsmakers are continuing to leave the Canes as the favorite...and just making it that much more of a negative payout if you bet the Ags. It's not that I'm high on ATM for any particular reason...but Miami has an above average defense and a pathetic offense. Worst case scenario...ATM chokes it up on the road and the weather gets nasty. There is a good chance for some significant amount of rain and that could serve to keep the scoring down. If you wanna bet this game...take the Ags...but more than likely take the under.

Oklahoma (-24) @ Tulsa - Until the BlowU offense stops putting up 50+ points a money is on them. Tulsa is a nice team with a new coach (Todd Graham) who has instilled some confidence in the Golden Hurricanes. However, they haven't yet faced the BlowU defense and their offensive production is going to change. Expect Tulsa to keep this one close for a quarter...maybe until halftime. However, they'll wear down and the Sooner depth will take over.

Texas Tech (-6) @ Oklahoma State - I'm scared to bet this game...but since I'm not writing up a preview I might as well give you my pick. Okie Lite is likely w/o stud RB Savage and the loss of C David Washington is a big blow to the offense. B0bby Reid has gone from being hyped as "The Next VY" to a guy who is too lazy to put in the work needed to win games. The QB position is up in the air but expect to see both Reid and Zac Robinson at times during the game. We know what to expect from Tech...there is a lot of uncertainty from the Pokes. I'll take the certain play and say Tech wins this one in a high-scoring affair. Check the total...and if it's below 70 then take the over!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Site Updates

The latest victim (Rice) has been added to the logo. Sorry I haven't even had 5 minutes to stop and write yet. Work and travel has all but consumed my time lately. Hopefully I'll get packed for Vegas tonight and have time to get my thoughts on Okie Lite up for yall. To help pass the time...I've posted my favorite pic (so far) from the Georgia Tech/Boston College game. For anybody that doesn't know the name...Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College...he's going to be a really good QB in the NFL for years to come. Maybe the Bears can pick him up as I bet he falls to late in the 1st round.'s the pic. I still have a few editing things I want to do with it (like straighten it up a bit) but it will work for now. Click on it if you want to see the "condensed" full size version...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Picks for this weekend (Sept 15-16)'s 2AM...and I have a flight to catch to the ATL in a few hours. explanations...just my picks for the weekend:

NCAA Picks
Texas Tech -28 @ Rice - If TTU doesn't win this one by more than 28 (the line is now at 29) then I'm going to start worrying about the Baylor!!!

Georgia Tech -7 vs Boston College - Gonna be a good one. I'm excited about attending this one!!!

The Tech Trifecta!!!

Texas Tech -28
Georgia Tech -7
Ohio +21.5 vs Virginia Tech

NFL Picks
Buffalo +10 @ Pittsburgh - The Bills have either won or lost by less than a FG in 8 of their last 9 games. The Steelers are getting too much credit for blowing out a bad Browns team last week. They'll come back to reality this week.

Chicago -13 vs Kansas City - This isn't because I love the Bears's because the Chiefs are just that bad. I could easily see this being a 17-3 or 21-7 game...and I still cover.

Indianapolis @ Tennessee - At 45.5 points...I still like the under in this game. Last year both of their games were low scoring. With the way the Titans ran the ball last week, I would expect them to do the same again to control the clock and keep the Colts offense off the field. Colts still win this one...but it won't be another rout.

If you want a parlay...take the Bills and the points with the under on the Colts/Titans.

That's all I got folks. I'll be back you'll get a recap on GT/BC (sorry I never got a preview up) and then I'll get back to my TTU writings after that once I can watch their game on DVR. With Okie Lite getting blown out tonight by Troy sure makes me feel better about next week's game in Stillwater...but more on that next week! :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rice Preview

Rice (0-2, 0-0)
#4 (aka #116 overall)
in ESPN's Bottom 10
Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0) -28
#30 in USA Today/Coaches Poll
Sept 15, 2007
2:00 PM
Rice Stadium
Fox Sports Southwest

Rice Notes
Let's face the facts. The Owls suck. They aren't any good. They let Baylor...yes that's right...the BAYLOR BEARS of Waco, TX...put up 42 points, 500+ yards, and 6 passing TD's. This is the same Bear team that put up a goose egg the previous week against TCU. Now they face Texas Tech, who is averaging 479 yds passing and 47 points/game. This doesn't bode well for the Owls. Their best, and only, chance to beat the spread (I won't even consider the option of them winning the game) is to run the ball and keep the Tech offense off the field and under 35 points. All-American WR Jarrett Dillard (above) will likely see constant double (and sometimes triple) coverage from the Tech defense. The downside for Rice...Dillard is their only weapon and teams have been able to slow him down enough (67 ypg, 0 TD's this year). At QB they feature Chase Clement, a fine QB from San Antonio, who has shown improved accuracy this season. However, his completion % is up because he's having to throw to his check routes as Dillard is covered and they don't have any other deep threats. See his 0 passing TD's so far this year for further proof. While the Owls showed great progress last year until ex-HC Todd Graham (Tulsa HC) and ex-OC Major Applewhite (Alabama OC)...those coaches are gone and the team is left trying to find a scheme and identity that works for them. This year...that identity is non-existent and in turn they are one of the worst teams in NCAA Div 1. I wonder how bad App State could beat Rice.

Texas Tech Notes
Glad to see that Tech will be back on TV this weekend. This should give Harrell and Crabtree (is the slogan I Love Crabs catching on yet?) a chance to display their budding chemistry (and Crabtree's stellar athletic ability) to the rest of Texas and the surrounding territories again. Defensively, this game should help build confidence before next week's shootout in Stillwater with the Pokes. Rice is definitely not a high-powered offense but Tech still needs to contain Dillard and that will essentially shut down the Owls from the start. I'm looking for 3 things out of the Defense...and they're below in the "Keys to Victory."

The Owls' "Keys to Victory"
1. Get the ball to Dillard early and often. He is the only weapon that poses a legitimate threat against the Red Raider defense.

2. Establish the running game early to control the clock and keep the Air Raid on the sidelines. A decent running threat will create opportunities downfield in the passing game. Plus, if Tech can't get the ball...they can't score. It's that simple.

3. Pray for a turnover miracle from above. Maybe a few Graham Harrell passes get batted up in the air early in the game and the Owls can catch them and take them back for a Pick 6 (see Mizzou game last year). Once the turnovers start...sometimes they don't stop.

The Red Raiders' "Keys to Victory"
1. Remember that you're the better play like it. Stick to the game plan and trust your abilities.

2. Don't rush the offense and constantly look for a big play. The passing attack will wear down their defense and create PLENTY of opportunities for 5 yd passes to become 50 yd TD's. Take what they give you and put it to use for 60 minutes.

3. Be aggressive in rush defense (if only the DC would call a blitz) and play with controlled, selective aggression in the secondary. Trying to force the big play last week twice turned a 5 yd catch into a 40+ yd gain for the opponent. Limit their YAC (Yards After Catch) and you'll do just fine.


Tech starts slow but will have this game under control by the middle of the 2nd Quarter. The spread is only 28 if you're the betting type...keep this one in mind (and see my fearless and useless picks to come later today).

Texas Tech 55
Rice 10

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Temporarily Unavailable

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days. Our company is finalizing a merger this week so I've been much busier than normal. I'll work on my previews of Tech/Rice and GT/BC tonight.

Monday, September 10, 2007

UTEP Game Recap

Texas Tech 45

Well I might be the only one that says this...but the score made this game look a lot closer than it really was. UTEP took advantage of a few turnovers in the 1st quarter and the Tech defense decided to wait until almost halftime to show up at Jones. That being said...the offense looked great again...poor Rice is about to take a severe beating this week!!! Now onto the grades...

Quarterbacks (A) - Graham Harrell was the only one to play in this one and he put out another outstanding performance. He set a record for completions at 48 and had another 400+ yd performance and minimized his mistakes (75% completion). He did throw 1 INT but it seemed like 1) he was trying to throw it to a spot that only Crabtree (if anybody at all) could reach it. It's debateable as to whether or not MC even saw the pass so I'll let this one go as an unusual circumstance once the game was all but over.

Running Backs (C+) - For future reference...the C+ grade will mean average. You did nothing to hurt the team but nothing that stood out and made a difference in the game. That's what we saw from Shannon Woods and Kobey Lewis on Saturday. 5 yds/carry is nice but there wasn't a single explosive run. Woods had 5 catches for 10 yards but 1 of those catches was for 9 yards.

Wide Receivers (A) - Overall, we saw improvement from this group vs last week. There were amazing catches (L.A. Reed going Superman for 29 yards), outsanding performances (Crabtree with 15 catches and constantly making guys miss), and guys (Amendola, Morris, and Britton) getting the tough yards across the middle to keep moving the chains.

Offensive Line (B+) - Another solid performance and for the most part they kept Graham free from punishment. While it would be hard to duplicate last week's performance in terms of pass protection, it was another admirable job by this inexperienced group. They still have room to improve in the running game though. They need to do a better job of holding their blocks longer to give the backs a better opportunity to get to the 2nd level.

Defensive Line (D+) - F in the first half...C in the 2nd half. UTEP put up just shy of 300 yards IN THE FIRST HALF!!! Vittatoe was able to find receivers and scramble at will with no pressure from the front four. These games are supposed to be prepare the team for Big 12 play but this game was a huge step backwards for this group. They started stunting some in the 2nd half and I felt this change helped slow down UTEP in the 2nd. It worked for now...but it's not going to surprise a good Big 12 OL.

Linebackers (C-) - Their play was definitely below average...but as I've said beore I don't think it's entirely because of their lack of ability. No they aren't the fastest guys out there but they do a good job of tackling once they make contact. However, SOMETHING needs to be done to create pressure on the QB. I know I'm probably beating a dead horse because the Def Coord (Setencich) isn't going to start calling a lot of blitzes but geez...1 blitz per drive would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Ok...enough of that rant for this game. Tillman and Paul Williams made some stand out plays when needed.

Defensive Backs (C+) - Their above average play and hard hitting throughout most of the game offsets the coverage breakdowns and poor tackling that plagued them in the first half. There is no excuse at all for a 5 yd hitch route to go for a TD (1st Quarter) or for 35+ yd gains (3rd Quarter) when you have a defender in the area of the pass. The TD was the result of the DB giving too much cushion (see Setencich mini-rant) and the other long pass was because McBath couldn't quite break up a pass on a dive. Other than that though, McBath and Garcia had solid (not great) games and did a good job of minimizing the damage in the 2nd half.

Special Teams (A) - Another solid game for Alex Trlica, including a 45 yd FG that could've cleared much more than that. E-Mo had a nice punt return and L.A. Reed was again a stud on special teams with a nice kick return and consistently being the 1st one down on punts/kickoffs.

Overall Grade...B-

Misc Thoughts
- Great crowd and great weather. Attendance was 52,403...just a few hundred people short of the opening game record of 52,991 vs USC in 1979.

- Seeing the students surrounding the Double T in the north endzone was an awesome sight.

- Great to see the Western L.L. recognized at halftime. They received autographed Mike Leach footballs and a great response from the crowd.

- I voiced displeasure with last week's unis but I really liked the black top/white pant combo. It certainly wasn't a traditional look but I thought it looked great. Definitely ok with seeing them wear that again.

MNF picks (Week 1)

While I work on my write-up from are my picks for tonight's games:

Bengals (-3) vs Ravens - I like the Bengals and the under in this one.

Bengals 24
Ravens 14

Cardinals (+3.5) @ 49ers - I don't know why...but I want to take the Cardinals to cover in this one. Either way, I think the over is the safe play at 47 points.

Cardinals 28
49ers 31

Pics from the UTEP game

Haven't had time to do any writing's a few pics from the game that I took (click on the image to enlarge) as well as a rainbow that I saw on the way back to Dallas on Sunday (yes the photo of the rainbow above the shot of Crabtree was intentional!)

Just got back

to a computer. The internet was down all w/e at the girl's house in Lubbock so I didn't have a chance to write or edit photos. I'll be back later with a lengthy write-up and a few (hopefully good) photos. It took some negotiation with security but I was able to get my bigger camera lens into the game as well to get some decent shots. Back to work...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Off to Lubbock...

330 miles of fun in the car by myself...can't wait!!! I'll be back Sunday night so I'll get photos and a recap posted some time after that. To my 4 "loyal" readers...I'm out...

Friday morning picks

DISCLAIMER: The following picks are merely for entertainment purposes only. In no way does this blog or it's author condone or approve of gambling on sports, NCAA or otherwise (damn Bodog won't post the Tech/UTEP line this week...grrr). That being said...enjoy and feel free to comment!

#16 Nebraska (-9) @ Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons were lead by an impressive defense last year on their way to winning a school record 11 games and the ACC Championship. This year, they're replacing 7 guys from that defense and while the offense is improved...their defense is nowhere near last year's caliber. Nebraska runs a similar offense to Boston College, who put up 38 on the Deacs last week. Not exactly a blowout...but the Huskers should win this one comfortably.

Nebraska 31
Wake Forest 14

Miami (+11) @ #6 Oklahoma - Don't get too excited about the Canes just yet because they had a convinving win against a pitiful Marshall team last week. They still have their usual NFL-caliber players on defense but their offense isn't that improved last year. There's a reason that Kirby Freeman (Brownwood, TX), ended up at the U...he wasn't highly recruited by Texas schools. Everybody in the Big 12 South got their first sight of the highly touted DeMarco Murray last week...and his debut struck 4 years of fear through the hearts of the whiny orange in Austin. With Allen Patrick back this week for Sooners...they don't even have to worry about throwing the ball if they don't want to with him and Murray running the ball. Sooners in a rout!!!

Oklahoma 42
Miami 14

#22 Boise State (-3) @ Washington - This looks like a sucker bet...but I'm going to take the bait. Had the Huskies, lead by Soph Jake Locker at QB, not blown out Syracuse (one of the worst teams in the country) on national TV...then we'd be looking at a double digit spread for the Broncos. Locker is going to be a good QB in the Pac-10 for years to come, but this game will be a good test for him and the Huskies. Willingham is turning the corner up there...but he still has a ways to go. Don't expect a blowout, but Boise State should win this one by a safe margin and not have to dip into their bag of tricks.

Boist State 24
Washington 14

#22 TCU (+9) @ #7 Texas - This is a tough one to predict. TCU has one of the best defenses in the country, lead by All-American Tommy Blake. If Blake plays (I won't get into that mess) then the Frogs have a great chance to pull off the upset in Austin. If he doesn't, it will give Colt McCoy a lot more time in the pocket and that's never a good thing, even for a defense as good as TCU's. On offense, the Horned Frogs don't pose too much of a threat...even with the Horns glaring holes in the secondary. TCU's best chance is to connect on 2 or 3 big passes and turn them into points. Don't know if the Frogs will win this one...but it's sure going to keep everybody in Austin on their toes until the buzzer goes off at the end. I'll say this one ends up in OT with Texas pulling out the W but not covering the spread. Take TCU and the points.

Texas 23
TCU 20

#9 Virginia Tech (+11) @ #2 LSU - To the untrained eye, this might look like a HUGE sucker bet begging for you to take Va Tech. (Since Gameday will be in Baton Rouge on Saturday) fast my friend! (Thanks Lee). VT will struggle on offense and Glennon will wilt under the heat, humdity, and noise that comes with playing at Death Valley. The Hokies best shot at winning is giving the ball to Brandon Ore 30 times and hoping he can run for 150 yards and wear down the LSU defense. If they can't control the clock and the field...then it's going to be a miserable night in Baton Rouge for the boys from Blacksburg. Matt Flynn isn't the second coming of Peyton Manning...but he's good enough to avoid turnovers and keep moving the offense into the endzone (7 of 7 last week with 6 TD's) while allowing their defensive pressure to overwhelm their opponent. Geaux Tigers!

LSU 31
Virginia Tech 10

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Getting ready for Saturday

A few things of note as we get closer to Saturday:

- Ticket sales are up over 48,000 now for Saturday's game according to a lady I talked to in the ticket office this morning.
- The Western LL team that advanced to the US Finals of the Little League World Series will be recognized at the game on Saturday. Not sure if it will be before kickoff or at halftime.
- 40% chance of rain is still in the forecast for Saturday. It can rain during the game...but it better not rain out my 7:30 tee time @ Rawls on Saturday morning!

On a football related note...I tried to go back through the SMU game last night to see how often we called a blitz. Once I reached 14 plays and 0 blitzes...I gave up. Even if we blitzed 10% of the time...that would be infinitely better than what is going on now. When the opposing offense doesn't have to worry about a sure makes their job a lot easier.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Jones on there!!!

(from the TTU Athletic Dept)

Sept. 4, 2007

LUBBOCK, Texas - Join the crowd Saturday and help Texas Tech set a new home opener attendance record when the Red Raiders host UTEP at 6 p.m.! The Red Raiders are 1-0 on the season after opening with a 49-9 win at SMU on Labor Day and need your help to carry that momentum into this weekend's game.
Current ticket sales for this weekend's game stand at 47,052 and more tickets need to be sold to eclipse the home-opening record crowd of 52,991 that witnessed Tech and Southern California in 1979.
Group tickets are available for the game by contacting Garrett Tressler in the Texas Tech Athletics External Operations Office at (806) 742-1195. The Texas Tech Athletics Ticket Office opens at 8:30 a.m. each day this week and stays open until 5 p.m., while the office also will be open from noon through the third quarter on game day.
Tickets also are available through area Select-a-Seat outlets and on-line at 24 hours a day.

UTEP Preview

UTEP (1-0, 0-0) +24
Texas Tech (1-0, 0-0)
#33 in USA TODAY/Coaches Poll

UTEP Notes
The Miners come to Lubbock looking to continue their winning ways and to get revenge on the Raiders for the heartbreaking 38-35 loss in OT in 2006. Unfortunately for the Miners, gone are Jordan Palmer and Johnny Lee Higgins and they are replaced by QB Trevor Vittatoe (Fr-RS, Euless, TX Trinity HS) and RB Trevor Jackson (Jr-transfer from Oregon). In their season opening 10-6 win vs New Mexico, Vittatoe was 6-21 for 59 yds while Jackson gained 73 yds on the ground, including a 36 yard TD run early in the 4th quarter to provide the final margin of victory for UTEP. While the Miner defense gave up close to 400 yds of offense to New Mexico, they were able to hold them to 40% on 3rd down conversions and the Lobos kicker could only make 2 of 4 FG attempts. This week will be a very big challenge for the Miners as they face the high-octane passing attack of Texas Tech.

Texas Tech Notes
Texas Tech won their season opener on Labor Day in convincing fashion, 49-9 over SMU. Graham Harrell was very efficient in his 3 quarters of play, throwing for 420 yds and 4TD's while rushing for another one. WR Michael Crabtree made a huge impact in his first game as a Red Raider with 12 catches for 106 yds and 3 TD's. Defensively the Raiders looked pretty good defending the pass but mediocore against the run. Staying true to form, they spend most of their time in a base 4-3 defense...and when I say base I really mean BASIC!!! They weren't using a lot of zones and blitzes to confuse SMU and instead preferred to sit back and wait on the run to reach the 2nd level and do their best to "protect the big play." While this worked ok against SMU it will not work in Big 12 play. Unless their is a change in defensive philosophy soon...Tech can expect another 8-4 kind of season where they win the easy ones but aren't able to dominate a good offensive team. That being said...they shouldn't have too much of a problem with UTEP in their home opener this Saturday.

The Miners' "Keys to Victory"
1. Pressure Graham Harrell!!! When he has time to throw, he is very accurate with his passes. SMU was unable to get pressure on him and he picked them apart all game long.

2. Double team Michael Crabtree. Yes he's only played in one game...but it's obvious that he's the biggest threat at wideout that the Raiders have. Force Harrell to check off to Amendola and the crew and you'll be able to prevent the big play. If Crabtree gets the ball in space...look out!

3. Use Jackson to control the clock, move the chains, and keep the Air Raid offense off the field. Establish the tone for the game in the first quarter, and then use motion and play action to open up the passing game. Tech's defense isn't very aggressive, but if you can get the LB's to stay at home on the run then you can find holes in the defense.

The Red Raiders' "Keys to Victory"
1. You're the heavy favorite in this don't get anxious in front of the home crowd. Harrell needs to stay patient in the pocket, go through his pre-snap reads, and continue to execute the offense in an efficient manner.

2. Use the pass to set up the run. When a defense feels overwhelmed by the complexity of the passing game, they will be quick to overlook a good mix of running plays. Get the passing game going early and Woods and Lewis will have plenty of room to run on the UTEP defense.

3. BE AGGRESSIVE ON DEFENSE!!! The Miners have a young QB making only his 2nd start. Blitz him early and often and he will crater. New Mexico didn't blitz that often but exploited Vittatoe's rawness and he won't hesitate run around if he feels pressure and his 1st receiver isn't open. Get used to being aggressive now...and it will pay dividends once Big 12 play starts.


While last year's game in El Paso was surprisingly close, this one should be out of reach by the middle of the 2nd quarter. Harrell will have another good day throwing and he'll continue to spread it around to multiple receivers all game long as Tech wins in a rout. Count on Harrell for 350+ yds and at least 4 TD's before the backups come in to finish it off in the 4th quarter. The score in this one comes down to how long before Leach calls the dogs off. The score could go as high as 52 or as low as 35 points. I'll be a generous and say that the Tech defense extends their streak of quarters w/o allowing a touchdown to 10 quarters dating back to the 2006 Insight Bowl.

Texas Tech 45

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

SMU Game Recap

Texas Tech 49

I won't bore you with the facts of the game other than to say this...Michael Crabtree displayed the skills that we've heard about since he showed up in Lubbock last fall and it was a treat to watch. I can't wait to see what he does over the course of a season and his career in Lubbock. It will be a treat to watch! Now on to a "quick" recap by position group:

Quarterbacks (B+) - Graham Harrell looked very good in the pocket. He showed tremendous patience (thank you OL) in going through his progressions and spreading the ball around the field. He had a few "bad" (read forced) throws...but that's to be expected when you throw it almost 60 times in 3 quarters. Taylor Potts (Eagle1) looked good in his first collegiate game...showing the tremendous arm strength that many of us saw from him during his days at Abilene High. No real complaints on QB play...but a lot of that can be credited to the boys up front keeping the SMU defense off of them. If this were the Texas, BlowU, or A&M game...I would be handing out an A+ for their performance. For now, we'll keep the grades in perspective.

Running Backs (A- for Lewis/B for Woods) - Shannon Woods has done enough to show Leach that he deserves to be the starting back...but it was evident as to why Kobey Lewis (Eagle2) will see plenty of PT this fall. Even though Woods isn't a big bruising back, Lewis serves as a great change of pace back that adds yet another dimension to the Leach system that has been missing. Woods had a nice run but his 6 catches were all but insignificant as one of them equated to 9 of his 11 receiving yards. Despite Lewis' fumble early on, he made a few defenders miss and turned a 5 yd pass into a 20 yard gain. An impressive showing by Lewis in what is essentially his first game (he had 7 carries last year) earns him the higher grade here.

Wide Receivers (A+...but more like A-) - Considering the expectations that many had for this year's receiving core, giving them an A+ isn't out of the discussion. Other than Britton's back-to-back drops in the 3rd quarter, they put on a great display of toughness and willingness to execute in the system. Gone are the days of the self-proclaimed AFROS and their flamboyant ways...and instead the wideouts have returned to a group of tough, sure-handed guys (Amendola, EMo, Walker, etc) willing to work within the system instead of always trying to make a play. Lyle Leong (Eagle3) looked good coming off the bench and looks to be a good fit behind Crabtree. And oh yeah...that Michael Crabtree guy is gonna be pretty special.

Offensive Line (A) - Not much to say here. These stats say it all: 0 the Time of Possession by 9+ minutes. Any time Tech is leading in's going to be a long day on defense for the opposing team. Rylan Reed was SOLID at the left tackle spot and his performance, along with Johnson at RT, will go a long way towards a successful season.

Defensive Line (B+) - They had trouble containing Justin Willis in the early stages of the game but the proper adjustments were made and he was kept in check other than 1 nice scramble. Martin was able to run hard up the gut at times but was kept in check statistically. It sure felt like SMU ran for more than 80 yards on Monday. Assuming that the lack of aggression in play calling is going to continue...the front 4 MUST continue to hold their own (at the very minimum) in Big 12 play if the Raiders are going to have a chance at winning multiple games in the Big 12 South. Though he mainly played in the 4th quarter, Colby Whitlock looked as good as advertised on the interior as he earned a sack in limited playing time.

Linebackers (C) - Their performance on Monday was merely average. Whether it's playcalling or personnel (I tend to lean toward the former) these guys just don't fly to the ball. Their reaction seems slow to read run on a lot of plays and this can't be happening, especially against a running team such as SMU. That being said, they did an admirable job in containing Willis and limiting the big play. The younger guys (i.e. Collier, M Williams, Duncan) are definitely quicker and hopefully they will push for starting spots as the season progresses.

Defensive Backs (A-) - Chris Parker showed why he is a captain of this team on Monday. He blanketed his receiver all game long and made some very impressive pass break ups. The safeties (McBath and Garcia) were solid in run support and very rarely did a running play actually reach them. They were aggressive in closing in on the ball and keeping Justin Willis in the pocket.

Special Teams (A+ for LA Reed, B+ for kicking game) - When a wide receiver delivers a hit so big that he makes Sportscenter's Top 10...then you know he's doing something right. It wasn't only that hit that he made that set him apart on Monday. He was consistently leading the charge down the field and recorded 2 tackles. He also had one nice kick I'll let the return for about 5 yards slide. Britton and Morris each had a good runback and Danny showed that he still hasn't learned the fair catch signal. Trlica's kicks were consistently reaching the 5 yard line and he had 1 touchback. If he keeps that up then nobody in Lubbock will be complaining too much about the NCAA moving kicks back to the 30 this year. LaCour was serviceable....nothing that stuck out in my mind. Compared to some of the punts from SMU, LaCour's low, end over end line drives were rather sad to watch.

Overall Grade...B+

Misc Thoughts
- Good Tech crowd...great Tech crowd enthusiasm. The "Raider Power" chant during the 3rd Quarter timeout that went back and forth throughout the stadium was awesome.

- My first time visiting SMU's stadium (kinda sad since I live 5 minutes away) and I really enjoyed it. Since it's not that big, there's not really a bad seat in the house (see my above photo from our seats about 10 rows from the top). Concession lines on the visitors side are terrible though as they have roughly half the concourse space as can be found on the home side.

- GET RID OF THE WHITE JERSEY/RED PANT COMBO!!! The all white unis have a great, CLEAN look to them. The black/white/red combo just looks stop doing it.

- To the Aggie that showed up "Maroon'd Out" and coming to sit in the center of the Tech section...what a moron! Oh well...Aggots don't know any better. Nice job running it up against Montana State Ags...

That about wraps up my thoughts on the opening game. Sorry for the length...I've never been known for my brevity. I'll have some other notes and thoughts on the upcoming UTEP game posted this afternoon. Gotta get back to work...

The Flags Explained

For some reason I didn't mention this in the first post...the flying flags represent the teams that Tech beat last year that are on the schedule again this year. As we win/lose games...the flags will update to reflect "the skins" that the Raiders have in their possession.

Six Flags are Flying

We're one game into the 2007 season and 6 flags continue to fly over Raiderland after the Red Raiders blew by the ponies of SMU yesterday...49-9. I'll be back in a bit with a preview of the UTEP game after I finish up some administrative tasks.