2010 CFBZ Prediction: 4th Place in Big 12 South
2010 Actual Finish: 5th Place in Big 12 South (8-5, 3-5)
It was an up and down debut season for Tommy Tuberville as he took over in Lubbock after the messy divorce between the Red Raiders and Mike Leach. Texas Tech started out the season 5-5 before winning their last 3 games to finish the year on a good note and basically even to last year when they were 9-4. Looking back at the year that was you have to think that Tuberville would love to have the Texas and Iowa State games back. At the time Tech lost to the Longhorns they were ranked #6 in the country and were 2-0. Nobody could have predicted that Texas would have fell into the tank the rest of the year and that looking back it would be one of the worst two losses of the year for the Red Raiders. The loss to Iowa State was a shock to the system. They Cyclones came into the game 2-2 but had been blown out by Iowa and K-State. The most points the Cyclones had scored was 20 points before they hung 52 on Texas Tech. After starting 2-2, Tuberville finished off 6-3 losing games to Oklahoma, Okie State and Texas A&M. While the Red Raiders didn’t really compete in those three games all were to teams that had good years. When you look at the final results of the Texas Tech season the only win that could really be clumped in the category of a “really good” win was the win at Missouri, who was then the #12 team in the country. The Red Raiders also posted wins over Baylor and Northwestern (without their star QB) but overall the list of wins for the Red Raiders this year was less than impressive. A couple of stats jump off the page when we look at the Red Raiders season. The first is that a Tommy Tuberville team finished 7th in the Nation in passing. This is more of a function of the personnel he inherited then a change in mindset, in my opinion, so I will be interested in watching how that changes as he continues to get his guys into Lubbock. The other stat was that Texas Tech finished 92nd in points allowed in the Nation. You just aren’t going to win many football games giving up over 30 points per game. To find out how the locals felt about Tuberville’s debut season we talked to Seth from Double-T Nation.
1. In our Pre-Season Preview you said you would be happy if the team could get to 9 wins. Texas Tech ended up 8-5, including a bowl win over Northwestern. Do you feel the season was a success, a failure or somewhere in between?
I’m not terribly disappointed in 8 wins. It certainly looked like it was going to be worse in the middle of the season. I don’t think that I’d consider the 2010 a success or a failure. Most transition years are just that, transitions, and for me, the fact that the team finished with 8 wins is acceptable. I think even before the season I had put the over-under on wins this year at 8.5 and that ended up being pretty accurate. And now, a lot of fans aren’t even looking to 2011 as the year to take a step forward as Texas Tech has to travel to Austin and Norman to play the Longhorns and Sooners, but 2012 when Texas Tech will have both those teams at home and a quarterback that probably has a year of experience under his belt.
2. How did you feel about Tommy Tuberville’s debut season as coach? What did he do well and what does the coaching staff need to improve going forward?
This probably isn’t a popular opinion, but I liked what Tuberville did as far as the offense is concerned, and truthfully, I’ve gathered that Tuberville is letting his coordinators coordinate, for the most part. So credit goes to OC Neal Brown who implemented a zone blocking scheme as well as a man blocking scheme and will hopefully evolve the offense in 2011 with some different looks out of the spread that will include tight ends and make it a little more difficult for opposing defenses to cover the Texas Tech offense.
The defense obviously needs work. Former DC James Willis was “let go” after news broke about a domestic disturbance dispute and not knowing whether or not Willis is innocent or guilty, he was still in charge of a defense that was one of the worst in college football and a pass defense that was also one of the worst in college football. Out goes Willis and in comes former TCU secondary coach, Chad Glasgow, who hasn’t made a public statement since he was hired, but most Texas Tech fans expect to see what TCU does, which is a 4-2-5 defense.
3. Which players surprised you the most with their play in 2010?
Offensively, I think Texas Tech got out of the group what was expected. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that WR Alex Torres wasn’t healthy pretty much all year and the Red Raiders could have certainly used his leadership and all-around play. I’d also say that WR Lyle Leong and his 19 touchdown catches were a huge reason why the Texas Tech offense was able to put points on the board. Defensively, I was probably most surprised with the early play of DE/OLB Brian Duncan, who did well early in the season, but faded late and was eventually moved from an outside linebacker spot back to his more natural inside linebacker position. Also surprised by CB Derrick Mays, a receiver coming out of high school, redshirted all of last year and in 2010 was forced into action because the secondary was essentially decimated with injuries and overall bad play. Mays has the speed and instinct that he might just turn into a guy that could start next year.
4. Which players are you most looking forward to watching in 2011?
As far as players that are currently on the roster, I’m really excited to see what some of the receivers are going to be able to do. Leong and WR Detron Lewis graduate and leave a lot of yards and a lot of receptions up for grabs. I’d love to see Torres make a bit of a comeback and I’d also love to see guys like Eric Ward, Cornelius Douglas and Shawn Corker step up in 2011. On the defensive side of the ball, ILB Cqulin Hubert played quite a bit in the bowl game and although he’s a true freshman, he was outstanding in that game. Has some serious range as a linebacker and decent size. I’m also hoping that DB Tre Porter takes a step during the offseason. He was originally asked to play cornerback and then moved to a nickel / safety spot. For a true freshman, he did make a lot of tackles, but I think the season wore on him.
5. What are the major areas that Texas Tech needs to improve going into the 2011/2012 season?
Defense. Defense. Defense. All areas were pretty bad and Texas Tech loses ILB’s Duncan and Bront Bird as well as stalwart DT Colby Whitlock. He’ll be missed quite a bit on the defensive line and he took on double-team from offensive linemen for most of the year. The defensive front seven is going to have to make some improvements.