Program on the Brink?

Joe Yeager looks into what is going on right now with the Red Raiders following another loss.

Tipping Point: Up until now the vast majority of Red Raider fans have been reasonably satisfied with Tommy Tuberville's tenure. Not thrilled, mind you, but satisfied that, given his track record, Tuberville's program was basically on pace to deliver the expected Big 12 championship in the not too distant future.


I suspect that fund of patience and confidence has been seriously depleted with the loss to Kansas State. Regardless of how good Kansas State is—and the Wildcats are very good—the perception is that Tech should always be able to handle that team, particularly in Lubbock.


Bill Snyder is a Hall of Fame coach, but rare is the time his team will "out athlete" Texas Tech or most other Big 12 teams. Kansas State simply is not Texas or Oklahoma where high school All Americans and future Pro Bowlers dot the roster. Thus, when Tech loses to Kansas State, accusing eyes are cast not upon the players but upon the coaches.


Tuberville's program is now entering hazardous waters. The easier half of the schedule is complete and the Red Raiders have failed their only two real tests. The second half of the schedule, beginning with a trip to Norman next Saturday, is borderline brutal.


Streaks, which Red Raiders take great pride in, are gravely imperiled. Texas Tech has been bowl eligible 18 straight season and hasn't had a losing season since 1992. If the Red Raiders do not quickly learn how to string together four quarters of solid football, those streaks, unbelievably, could end. And if they do, the paying customers will make life highly unpleasant for all associated with the program. The standards and expectations for Tech football are that high. And as Tuberville himself is wont to say, it's the nature of the business.


"We Are the 90 Percent!" Following the loss to Texas A&M, Tommy Tuberville stated that a team will lose 90 percent of the time when it gives up a special teams touchdown. He's probably right. The Red Raiders have now allowed a special teams touchdown in two straight games and lost both of them.


The Gut Shot: Despite all the horrendous mistakes, the Red Raiders were still in great position to win this game midway through the fourth quarter. With Tech trailing by only a field goal, Chad Glasgow's defense prevented that deficit from ballooning by corralling Colin Klein after a two-yard gain on 4th-and-five at the Red Raider 27.


The Red Raiders took over with 11 minutes to play whereupon Seth Doege tossed his second interception of the day, and the Wildcats were back in business at the Tech 22. Four plays and exactly one minute later, K-State tacked on another touchdown and the Red Raiders were basically toast.


Soft on Klein: The key to stopping a running quarterback is to make him not want to run the football. Quarterbacks are not running backs and are not accustomed to taking the abuse running backs absorb. The defense, therefore, must knock the fire out of the quarterback early and often. The Red Raider defense never did that. I don't recall Tech hitting Colin Klein with a hard, square shot all evening long. Consequently, he walked all over the defense all night long and racked up 110 rushing yards. It was shades of Vince Young in 2004 and 2005.


Telling Quote: In the post-game press conference Tommy Tuberville stated, "We matched up pretty good with those guys, and that's the part that makes me wonder."


Wonder about what, one wonders.


Unlike Mike Leach, Tuberville is not a particularly patient man, and he's not the sort to allow personal loyalty to interfere with business. I interpret Tuberville to mean that the loss to Kansas State was simply not acceptable, and that everybody's job is hanging by a thread from here on out. Tommy Tuberville just ratcheted up the pressure.


Practice Makes Playing Time: Tuberville also stated that "if you don't practice, you don't play." Both Jacoby Franks and Darrin Moore apparently did not practice or practiced very little in the past week and did not get on the field against Kansas State. Tuberville's displeasure was obvious.


When Will the Red Raiders Be Good? Earlier in the season Tuberville said on a few occasions that the Red Raiders will eventually be a good football team. Tech clearly has not arrived at that point, and the sands in the hourglass are dwindling.     

Raider Power Top Stories