The Ralphie Report sat down with the fantastic Texas Tech blog on SBNation, Double T Nation, to discuss this week's game in Boulder. Thanks to Seth for some great answers. We will post a link to to our responses to their questions once they are posted.
Most of the offseason discussion for the Red Raiders centered around new head coach Tommy Tuberville and the change he would be bringing to the program. Six games into the season what has worked for Tuberville what still needs improvement?
This is so dependent on who you ask. Right now, Texas Tech is down in just about every category, except for rushing offense. I had always wanted a better rushing attack, but not at the expense of the offense not being as efficient. Right now, I think offensive coordinator Neal Brown is still trying to find the right mix, although I don't think it's just his fault. There have been plenty of instances where the quarterback isn't throwing good passes, the receivers not catching passes, the line not blocking and players turning the ball over. It's certainly a work in progress and I think a lot of Texas Tech fans had the thought that this team wouldn't miss much of a beat offensively with a similar offense. However, when you take away one of the best offensive minds in the country in Mike Leach then it seems as if there's going to be some decline. Right now, I'd say that most Texas Tech fans are thinking that Tuberville hasn't done much right, although I think it's a bit premature to judge Tuberville off of six games. Transitions are difficult, especially when the transition includes terminating the football coach with the highest winning percentage at Texas Tech.
What is the general feeling about Tech's start to the 2010 season? Is 3-3 where most fans expected the team to be at this point or is there some disappointment with the Red Raiders start?
Most fans didn't expect a loss to Iowa St., much less a really bad loss to Iowa St. That's the one that I think sent fans over the edge a bit. Texas and Oklahoma St. were both ranked teams and I can somewhat handle those losses, however, it's the way that those losses happened that's the problem. Texas Tech rushed for -14 yards against Texas and was down by 21 points before Texas Tech fans had time to blink. Like any good team or bad team, it's about consistency. Whether it's on offense or defense and right now, this team has failed to show consistency, from quarter to quarter, game in and game out.
How should we expect Texas Tech's offense to attack the Colorado defense?
I'm honestly concerned about the Colorado cornerbacks and the Texas Tech receivers had a tough time getting free for anything downfield against Oklahoma St. It's the wide receivers, Alexander Torres and Lyle Leong, that need to push the offense to create room underneath. I'd also expect the running game to continue to show improvement. Thus far, it's been about a 60/40 pass to run ratio and I think you can expect to see the same thing. The one thing I've noticed is that the offense really just tests the defense in those first series and the bad part of that is if the receivers don't make routine catches, then you're looking at lots of 3 and outs. Texas Tech needs to take what the Colorado defense is giving them and not try to force the issue. If Colorado is in a cover-2, intending on taking away the down-the-field routes, then run the ball or start working the screen game to make Colorado adjust.
What areas of the Tech defense do you expect the Buffs to try and exploit?
The pass defense has been atrocious this year for Texas Tech. Defensive coordinator James Willis is trying to implement more of a pressing type of defense and he probably doesn't have the speed at cornerback to make that happen. Not to mention, the safeties are struggling a bit, especially Cody Davis. Willis did make a change at safety with true freshman Tre' Porter. If he can keep everything in front of him (and it's probably not as easy as it sounds) then he should be okay. He's played quite a bit of corner, nickel and dime thus far this year so he's not playing his first game. The rush defense should be okay, but they've had their rough patches. Colorado's been great running the ball at home and that worries me to no end. And on top of that, there's quite a few moving parts after dealing with the suspension of Scott Smith and injuries to Chris Perry, Kerry Hyder and Aundrey Barr. All of those guys played along the defensive line. Getting the nod at noseguard is Bobbie Agoucha, although I don't think he has the stamina to play the entire game. Defensive stalwarts, DT Colby Whitlock and OLB
Prediction of the final score?
These are probably two teams wish they were better than their record shows. Colorado lost to Baylor last week, at home, and that gives me some solace. Baylor racked up quite a few yards, but just couldn't convert those yards into points (credit to the Colorado defense that I think is underrated). I shouldn't be picking Texas Tech on the road, especially after losing to Iowa St., but I'll take the Red Raiders in a close game that I think could ultimately go either way. Texas Tech 28, Colorado 26.