Even coaches disappear in the Lubbock Triangle these days. In honor of “Talk Like A Pirate Day”, it is only fitting to mention my favorite pirate coach, Mike Leach. Leach, one of the most innovative offensive coaches in college football, was dismissed by Texas Tech in December. This was following the rather bizarre story (and subsequent media fiasco) involving player Adam James – who just happens to be the son of ESPN commentator and former SMU Mustang running back Craig James. Then there was the disappearance (aka firing) of interim head coach Ruffin McNeill, who led the Red Raiders to victory in the 2010 Alamo Bowl – only to be replaced by not-so-terribly-exciting coach Tommy Tuberville.
But before we even discuss the road trip to Lubbock, we need to make mention of the previous Horns game against Wyoming – just to keep you up-to-date.
One word can be used to describe it: boring. Pretty simple.
Now on to the main discussion – would the Leach-less Red Raiders pull another upset over the Longhorns? Would the ghost of Christmas past (aka Michael Crabtree’s last second touchdown against Texas in 2008) make an appearance? Or would some semblance of sanity and order reign supreme in the Big 12 (errrr 10) this week?
As always, strange things did happen in Lubbock on the way to a 24 – 14 Longhorn victory.
Some things simply didn’t materialize. Take, for example, the Red Raider offense. A total of 144 yards. Yes, you read that correctly. How about 158 passing yards? In years past, that was the first quarter for a Leach-coached team. Not so for Tuberville’s first go-round against the Longhorns.
Another fine example of someone that didn’t materialize – Malcolm Williams. Ahoy, matey, we are going to need your presence in the upcoming months. Your physical play is sorely missed right now.
And while we’re at it, how about the Texas running game? A mere 95 yards total. Three games, and three different starters. Could the Horns at least settle on a consistent starter, even if they are going to run by committee? I am sure it would make a great degree of difference to the mental state of the players – and to the game plan in general. It’s called “consistency” and we have yet to see anything remotely close to it yet.
Something that did materialize – the Longhorns defense. And did it ever. Holding Tech to 144 total yards is a fine statistic. Fourteen points. Three turnovers. Solid day. Thankfully, the defense will keep us in some games this season that we might otherwise be blown out of with the lack of a running game. The Horns defense can definitely hit and grind it out. Hallelujah, Will Muschamp.
And then there was the bizarre. How about the 22 play drive that sealed the game for the Horns. Twenty-two plays? Are you serious? That’s something like 9:25 on the clock. But contrast that with the 19 penalties totaling 193 yards. Now that is some serious yardage called back by miscues. Was there really a #6 team in the country on the field?
Yes, a win is a win. But winning ugly isn’t going to work for long. Red October – otherwise known as Oklahoma and Nebraska - looms on the horizon. Fingers are crossed that we find that running game before the appearance of Boomer Sooner and The Children Of The Corn.
In the meantime, bring on the UCLA Bruins. Fortunately, we got out of the Lubbock Triangle safely for another couple of years. Which, sadly, is more than can be said for Coach Leach.
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