Northwestern State Observations

Th final piece from the weekend comes from Fitzgerald and he's got some interesting observations.

Crowd: I was disappointed in you all, Red Raider fans. I'm talking to the fans that no-showed, not the 50,200 and change in attendance. Some of that might have been students or folks going home for the long weekend, but figure out a way to get people in the stands. I don't care who the opponent is, it's the first game of the year after a long off-season and to top it off, 3 of the best players in your history were honored and there are 10,000 empty seats.

Helmets: I counted five helmets that came off through the course of normal play. NWSt. QB Brad Henderson lost his hat twice and had to come out of the game for a play. Once was a critical 3rd down that the Demons did not convert. Eric Stephens and Eric Ward both lost their helmet getting tackled and were subbed out, but if the Red Raiders were running their NASCAR offense, it would have slowed them down. The officials are really going to have to watch play in the trenches as well when someone loses a helmet. When LaAdrian Waddle's helmet was knocked off his head, it was a clear case of a defensive lineman with his hands in Waddle's face. If the officials are not careful, removing an opposing player's helmet could be the new faking an injury to slow down an offense.

Who was in: Dartwan Bush started over Branden Jackson at one of the defensive end spots. That might have been because he's a better run defender than Jackson and the Demons are a running team. Alfredo Morales started at left guard, but Beau Carpenter played at both guard spots as well.

Who was out: Darrin Moore, Javon Bell, Tyson Williams, and Chris Payne all missed the game. Two others did not play as well. Williams was the only documented injury. All will reportedly be back next week.

Injury status: Obviously the scary injury was Terrence Bullitt to his already surgically repaired shoulder. It was called a "stretch" by Tommy Tuberville, so hopefully it is not something that nags him like it did last season. Tony Morales is still probably going to be out another week with a knee injury. Jace Amaro was taken out late in the game as a precaution.

Game Balls:

Offense – Bradley Marquez. 7 catches 92 yards. With the top two Z receivers out of the game, Marquez, who was moved to X receiver from Z about a week and a half ago started for the Red Raiders' offense and led the team in receptions and was second by a yard to Kenny Williams for most total yards on offense. Honorable mention to Williams. He finally looked and played like he can carry the load if need be.

Defense – Kerry Hyder. 3 tackles, all for loss., 1 sack, 1 PBU. He was a force in the demons' backfield all night. He led the way for the defensive line to set the tone in the game and backed it up with his play. 

"Our movement was good up front, I thought our game plan was good. We do a good job against our own offense of defending the screen passes. Kerry Hyder maybe the best at batting passes down and that happened tonight," said Tommy Tuberville.

Running game: The first string focused on the running game to get the redshirt freshman offensive linemen some experience. The running backs carried 46 times for 179 yards and Eric Stephens had the first two TDs of the season. The trio also caught 6 passes for 41 yards. Tuberville may have been right when earlier in the week he was asked to pick between Eric Stephens and Kenny Williams. His response: "Sadale Foster." Foster had some timely runs and good gains.

Passing game: Brewer had better numbers in his Red Raider debut than Doege, but he had the benefit of facing a worn down NWSt. defense. Doege also had to deal with 3 of the receivers on the 2-deep being out of the game. That coupled with the concentration on the run game with the first string may look like a subpar day for Doege in the stat column, but this team needed to do some of the work it did. They will be at full strength next week.

Run Defense: The front four of Texas Tech controlled the line of scrimmage and thus the game. This allowed the offense to concentrate on certain areas of their game that will make them better in the long run (no pun intended). There was also no pressure on the offense to score every time they had the ball like last year, because the offense knew the defense could get a stop.

Pass Defense: This group wasn't really tested. They might not be until Oklahoma comes to town on Oct. 6th.  They get an incomplete.

All-in-all a pretty good effort from the Red Raiders to begin the 2012 season. Kerry Hyder may have said it best when he said, "It was a small on a long journey. We did a good job today, but still have a long way to go."












Bonus commentary:

Observations around the Big 12 –

West Virginia – Which is more/less impressive, scoring 69 or giving up 34 to Marshall, which is one more point than Clemson scored on them in last year's Orange Bowl. WV still lost 3 draft picks on defense. I'd say 34 points allowed to Marshall is too many.

TexasWyoming with a 9-7 2nd qtr. lead on Texas on national, excuse me, extremely expensive and limited regional television network is probably just what they dreamed about when the LHN was created. Johnathan Gray had 5 carries for 9 yards in his collegiate debut.

Oklahoma – I didn't trust the Sooners. If you stayed up late and watched them, limp to a win over UTEP, you know why. Thin on the O-Line, no running back to speak of, and Landry Jones doesn't throw on the run well. Had the RB for UTEP been able to stay on the field and if Mike Price had made some better coaching decisions, UTEP could and maybe should have won that game.

Oklahoma State. 84-0. Damn. Brandon who? Justin Who? I would like to see Savannah State before we think that the OSU offense won't suffer a drop off without their two first round picks and losing their left tackle in the fall.

KSU – Struggled early, but pulled away late against Missouri St. Thank you, Bill Snyder for being the scheduling leader we all model our non-conference schedules after.

Iowa St – It was a one score game most of the way with Tulsa. Looks like Steele Jantz may have improved a bit at QB. This game remains a must-win for Texas Tech on Sept. 29.

Kansas – They struggled early to beat South Dakota State. I guess their decided strategic advantage hasn't kicked in yet. Still not completely worried about the Jayhawks.

TCU, Baylor – Frogs play next week, Baylor plays SMU later tonight.

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