Oklahoma is ready to head to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. Nobody knows more about the Red Raiders than RaiderPower.com publisher Jarret Johnson.
So he’s back. Asked him five questions during the summer and we return with five more for Johnson with the Sooners and Raiders on tap this weekend.
Is it panic time in Lubbock? What’s the state of the team heading into this one? What changes can possibly be made in less than a week?
Oh Bob, it's worse than panic, it's outright indifference. That is how the team looked last week when West Virginia came in and routed the Red Raiders. That's how the fans reacted when they shuffled out by the thousands at halftime and that's how it feels early this week. As for turning that all around in a matter of days? Crazier things have happened in sports, even in this series between the two, but I would be very surprised to see it this time around.
Every year feels like Texas Tech defense should get better but haven’t seen it so far. What has been the reason for the lack of execution this year?
Where do I begin? The offensive line is inexperienced and has almost zero depth. The running backs, especially Justin Stockton, have been a disappointment and Patrick Mahomes is trying to gut through a bad shoulder injury to his throwing shoulder, but just isn't the same. The defense is better on paper, but is too reactive instead of attacking. As such the team continues to be gouged not only on the ground, especially on off tackle and perimeter runs, but through the air as it is often pitch and catch football. Tech's also struggling to force turnovers as the Red Raiders have only come up with five through six games. Despite bringing in a special teams coach billed as one of the very best in the business in Joe Robinson, it has been an absolute dumpster fire with one mishap after another. Throw in the fact Tech is the most penalized team in the Big 12 at 84 yards a contest and you get a clear picture as to why this team is struggling to execute.
The numbers are gaudy for Patrick Mahomes, but is he even close to 100 percent? Can he get to 100 percent when he’s forced to throw as much as he does?
No and he shouldn't have played the past two weeks. Kingsbury said in a press conference Monday that Mahomes hadn't practiced the past two weeks and he felt that caught up to Mahomes against the Mountaineers. I immediately followed up by asking if he felt in hindsight he should have started Nic Shimonek, the backup quarterback, and he said no. Clearly, he should have though as Mahomes was neither himself against West Virginia and isn't rested for the matchup this week against Oklahoma.
Never know when that breakout performance is going to happen. Who’s on the verge of something big Saturday against the Sooners?
All the inside receivers have played well when given the opportunity. Former Millwood High School star Cameron Batson has been outstanding along with Jonathan Giles, Keke Coutee and Ian Sadler. Giles is tied with Dede Westbrook for most receptions in the Big 12 with 43 and leads in both receiving yards (750) and receiving touchdowns (9). Batson is second on the team in receptions (32), receiving yards (352) and receiving touchdowns (5).
Know have to ask it. Baker Mayfield is coming back to Lubbock. Tired old storyline or still something to it this time around?
It sure feels like a tired old storyline to me. I'm sure Mayfield still wants to beat Kingsbury and Tech in a bad way and Red Raider fans would definitely love to see him fail, but it seems that both teams have endured so many of their own issues at different points this season to really crow about anything. I do expect him and the Oklahoma offense to have their way with Tech this weekend, though, but who doesn't?