Can Texas Tech Recover in Time for Texas?

Monday’s weekly press conference was full of introspection, lighter moments, and a burning desire to move on from the embarrassment of an 82-27 result at the hands of then-No. 10 TCU.

Texas Tech coaches and players alike emphasized that even a game like the one endured in Fort Worth on Saturday was not going to discourage them going forward. The only concern: Texas, a program enduring its own lean years, yet still a viable gold mine for talent around the state, is the next opponent. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.

The Red Raiders conceded 45 points in the second half of Saturday’s contest, and saw the Horned Frogs throw (and run) effectively for a staggering 785 yards. (Not overlooked: 10 Red Raider penalties handed over 77 yards.) Trevone Boykin’s seven touchdown passes were the main statistic placed under the lens, as the TCU quarterback clearly improved vastly from his previous ordeals with the Red Raiders.

The most passionate commentary, as is the usual nowadays, came from Tech defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

“We just can’t make mistakes like those,” Smith said. He later added, “We’re not gonna be down and feel sorry for ourselves, we’re gonna fight and keep fighting and get better. The easy way is giving up; that’s my message to them [the players] this week. And if we want to build this thing for the future, we’ve got four games left.

“I’m gonna find guys that are tough – if I’m here or not here, I don’t know. I’m gonna find guys who want to be here. If not, then you’re replaceable. Everyone on this defense is replaceable. So the next four games are an interviewing process; let’s see what you can do. If you can’t, we’ll find guys that can, because we’ve got some guys on the way.”

Morris talks 2008 win
As most Texas Tech fans know, offensive coordinator Eric Morris is both an alumnus and former receiver with the Mike Leach-era Red Raiders, a star-studded lineup which included future NFL standout Michael Crabtree and record breaking quarterback Graham Harrell. In 2008, Tech had its most notable season in modern college football, punctuated by a 39-33 defeat of the Texas Longhorns six years to the day of Saturday’s game.

Morris was asked Monday about his thoughts on the last play of the game (Crabtree’s score) that day.

“That I was open,” he quipped, letting the audience have a laugh. “I had my hand up like this” – Morris put his hand up – “and he [Harrell] didn’t throw it to me, which worked out well; if I was Graham too, I would’ve thrown it to that guy [Crabtree]. He’s pretty good.”

“It was still one of the best moments of my life,” Morris added. “I remember it like it was yesterday. I was the first one to him [Crabtree], jumped on him, dogpiled him. It was just fun how it all played out – everybody rushed the field, there was still time on the clock, everybody had to get off the field again, and then everybody rushed the field again.

“It was a good time…I remember, I couldn’t get my car; it was stuck because of all the traffic – so I didn't get home until three o’clock in the morning that night. It’ll be a fond memory of mine for the rest of my life.”

Stidham update
Incoming Tech quarterback Jarrett Stidham broke his throwing hand in a game against Big Spring (Tex.) last week and underwent successful surgery Monday morning.

When asked about their monitoring of Stidham’s injury and its progress, Kliff Kingsbury said, “Having talked to our doctors, I think it'll be a full recovery. I think that's a surgery they feel confident he'll come back and won't notice it.”

Injury update
Expected to play (probable): Jakeem Grant (ankle, shoulder), Reshod Fortenberry (back cramps), Bradley Marquez (ribs)
Day-to-day: Davis Webb (Ankle, shoulder)
Doubtful: Sam Eguavoen (leg)

Interesting Statistic: Texas Tech outgained Texas in the two schools’ last Lubbock meeting in 2012 (441-427), which was a 31-22 victory for the ‘Horns. On the flip side, the UT-Tech matchup in Austin last Thanksgiving was severely tilted for the team in burnt orange: in addition to their dominating 41-16 victory, Texas ran the ball 61 times for 281 yards (while Tech garnered 94 yards from 28 attempts). The eyes of Texas were upon Malcolm Brown that night as he ran the ball 27 times by himself for 132 yards; backfield partner Joe Bergeron had 17 attempts, 107 yards and a score.



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