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Barking Carnival's Texas Tech Football State of the Union

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The grit in my eye, the wind in my face, and the chlamydia on my genitals can mean only one thing: Texas Tech, baby. Pardon me while I put in some Visine, put on a baseball cap, and get a bolus dose of penicillin so we can get this magic carpet ride started.

Tech is the Prell of college football: go 8-4, rinse, wash, repeat. One could do a lot worse. Mike Leach is a genius idiot savant and one of my favorite people on the planet. I'm surprised he has never had the Raiders take the field in capes, eye patches, and adult diapers, just for the fuck of it. His antics in Hawaii, captured by a Longhorn fan, are the stuff of legend. Pirate!

I enjoy his antagonism towards Tech's rivals, his disdain for the media, and the pantsings he routinely gives to the orthodoxy. It should also be noted that I enjoy him from afar. I think I'd crap a BowFlex if I found out he was our next head coach.

I'm pretty confident that this year's squad will disappoint. That doesn't mean they won't be 8-4, it just means that they'll be a weak 8-4. I expect them to be on the losing end of some 52-24 type beatings. In typical fashion, they'll score an upset over a superior foe and then follow it with a puzzling loss to a Big 12 also ran.

On offense, the OL looks to be a sieve (think early Kingsbury regime) and the WR corps is somewhat unproven - though WR is as fungible a commodity as you'll find in Lubbock. Amendola is a reliable sticky-fingered possession receiver semi-threat. They say that Mike Crabtree is a warlock and he certainly finger banged the Tech secondary like a Chi Omega on a first date during their spring game, but that's not much of an achievement is it? LA Reed may be good or bad, but mostly I just like the fact that a dude in Lubbock, Texas calls himself LA. It's like Baylor starting a guy named Hollywood. I'm always curious as to why HBO didn't base Entourage in Muleshoe. I've liked QB Graham Harrell since his days at Ennis. Last year he bled our poorly schemed secondary like we were hemophiliacs and he had a titanium chainsaw. Shannon Woods is a pretty dynamic guy who fits the general requirements of a Leach RB, but Leach despises his lack of consistency and seems to be looking for an upgrade.

Defensively, they're going to take a major step back, particularly in the front 7. I could list a bunch of names here and offer incisive commentary, as this would give the reader false confidence in my grasp of the subject matter, but I don't care to do so - dwelling in the ephemera of a bunch of guys who wouldn't crack the Texas three deep has no value. They're going to suck like a Ben Affleck movie and that's really all you need to know. Tech will pine for Keyunta Dawson and last year's batch of senior DTs like Brad Pitt for the testicles Angelina Jolie stole from him. Texas Tech fans will protest this characterization and point out that their replacements represent a significant upgrade in speed and quickness compared to last year's crew. This may be so. I'm sure Rosie O'Donnell moves more quickly than Starr Jones pre-stomach staple, but they're both slags. If Tech's new LBs run a 4.7 40 yard dash while sucking as compared to running a 4.9 40 yard dash while sucking, if dwelling on the 0.2 rather than the sucking helps convince you that you won't give up 25 points per game this year, have at it.

The secondary is described as a strength which is to say that they're above average. Their starting SS Joe Garcia is a black dude, which is good. The tortilla throwing won't distract him as much as I had anticipated. That's why I do this sort of research for you, to reinforce damaging racial stereotypes. They return two others starters here. Tech continues to play a bend-but-don't-break philosophy and their two deep safeties ensure that you're not going to humiliate them with deep balls, but you can gouge them consistently in the running game and with a precision passing game. The program's continued reliance on meek defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich (a guy Leach coached with as a young man and feels indebted to) is the albatross that perches on Leach's pirate hat. It makes no sense to pair Leach's dynamic offense with a defense that allows nine minute, 85 yard TD drives.

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So where is Tech as a program? Respectability. They routinely humiliate Texas A&M and they're good for an upset over Texas/OU twice a decade. People take them seriously, which is not something to be dismissed. They will continue to drop bizarre games to sorry teams, but that owes more to the fact that system offenses offer a weird macro consistency on a seasonal basis, but strange volatility on the micro level in any given game. It's almost as if the opponent matters less than their level of execution. Tech has had some success at recruiting the QB and WR position with VHTs (Harrell, Doege, Crabtree), but it is defense that will ultimately put them over the top to consistent double digit win seasons and legitimate Big 12 South title contention. However, I'm not seeing those athletes in the program, nor am I seeing a dynamic recruting effort there to remedy that fact.

Make no mistake, this is a nice little program with the potential to humiliate you if your defensive coordinator rides the short bus. I don't foresee Tech making the big breakthrough anytime soon. In the meanwhile, they should enjoy easy classes, a campus full of pretty girls unburdened with repressive morality, and jamming goal posts into Aggies. Those are three enjoyable things, only two of which may require a penicillin shot.