Raider Power Mailbag senior writer Joe Yeager and publisher Jarret Johnson answer questions from subscribers about Texas Tech football, basketball and recruiting.

omaha35: Will Tech and/or UT make a bowl game this year?
Joe: No way does Tech make a bowl game. At this point, I have serious doubts whether they'll win another game. I don't like Texas' chances either. The Horns will handle Tech easily, but I don't see them beating either WVU or TCU, and the game with OSU looks like a tossup at this point.
Jarret: I agree. Tech would probably have to win out to get to a bowl as one of its three wins is against FCS school Central Arkansas. I find it hard to imagine this squad ripping off wins over Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State in Ames and Baylor or even three out of four. I don't think Texas will either, but the Longhorns have to win Saturday for any chance at making one in my opinion because they have already played Iowa State and Kansas.

Natienate: Who on the staff won't be returning?
Joe: It depends upon how the rest of the season goes. If this team shows a pulse and beats Texas and Iowa State, and hangs with OU and Baylor, then I imagine the argument for continuity is stronger than the argument for change, and the staff remains. If, on the other hand, Tech doesn't win again--and that is what I expect--then the situation becomes considerably more vexed. In that scenario, one could make a strong case for change, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. And, given the presumed dismissal of Wallerstedt, Kingsbury has already shown he's not terribly patient and is willing to pull the trigger. He's got a "win immediately" mentality and strategy. So, in that second scenario I think Kingsbury brings in a new defensive coordinator, who then hires his own assistants. And I wouldn't rule out Eric Morris being on the chopping block as well.
Jarret: I have had a hard time trying to predict or figure out how Tech goes about its hiring and firing so I'll refrain from making a prediction here. I will say that in my opinion the staff should remain in tact and return in 2015 whole, even if they finish 3-9. They are a young, but loyal group who has shown, if nothing else, an innate ability to recruit. Let's see what they can do with their own talent before making a bunch of changes.

jaburrs: Has Webb lost the team's respect? Has the coaching staff lost the team at all?
Joe: I don't believe Webb has lost the team's respect; he seems to be a highly regarded figure among his teammates. But those teammates are seeing the same thing we are, which means they have to be entertaining some doubts about Webb's ability to lead the team to victory, let alone a championship. The players may no longer have confidence in Webb as a player, but still regard him highly as a person and a leader. As to whether the staff has lost the team, I kind of doubt it, but we'll know much more after the Texas game. If the Red Raiders come out and play lethargically against the Horns at the Jones at night, then I think you can say that this team has cashed in its chips. If, on the other hand, they fight like the dickens, then the staff is still in control.
Jarret: Webb has a great work ethic and people respond to those willing to pay the price. On the other hand, yeah, he's killing the team and a lot of these guys have made similar sacrifices in an effort to win. As far as the coaching staff, Tech doesn't have any players good enough to give up on the staff, they will simply be sent to the end of the bench and never heard from again.

TechRed01: Before the season, most fans were predicting anywhere from 5-7 to 7-5. So why are they so upset when it looks like they were correct?
Joe: Actually, I think the fans have actually been reasonably mellow considering how this season is shaping up. But having said that, those that are upset have good reason to be. This team has really shown nothing all season, they were thoroughly embarrassed by TCU, their record stands at 3-5 and it is entirely possible that Tech will finish 3-9. What's more, most people expected to see at least modest improvement in Kingsbury's second season. Instead, there has been regression.
Jarret: I think it's safe to say this team has under performed pretty much everyone's expectations. I would like to be positive and point out a bunch of bright spots for the future, but other than the offensive line and running backs, this season has just been a major disappointment.

TechRed01: Does KK need an "on staff" mentor? His current "mentor" (Sumlin) isn't doing much better right now.
Joe: I don't think Kingsbury needs a formal mentor. He has many friends in the coaching business he can call upon for advice, and he has stated that he has done just that. But good advice only gets you so far. Ultimately, either you have to ability to do the job or you don't. And having a personal phone line to Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant and Knute Rockne wouldn't change that.
Jarret: Kingsbury was asked this earlier this week and you could tell he bristled at the idea. He added he talks to mentors and friends in the business all the time and is always looking for ideas to help the team. I personally think even a mentor with nothing but good intentions would do more harm than good. As Joe said, either you have the ability or you don't.

Htown59: Which redshirts if any do you think will have an impact on next season.
Joe: Honestly, I don't see any of the redshirt freshmen making a big impact. However, I do hold out hope that Ohio State transfer Mike Mitchell will provide a much needed presence at linebacker.
Jarret: I hope for Tech's sake Joe is wrong. I believe safety Payton Hendrix, linebacker Dakota Allen and offensive linemen Justin Murphy and Robert Castaneda will all be counted on to make impacts next season. All four have received high praise from the coaching staff at different times since their arrival and I believe all four have been redshirted due to their potential rather than a lack of performance. We'll see.

MrMustaphaMond: Why doesn't Mahomes know the entire playbook 8 weeks into the season?
Joe: I suspect Mahomes does know the entire playbook, but I imagine he has trouble reading defenses on some of the more complicated, down-the-field passing plays. When Mahomes is in, Kingsbury will try to make him comfortable by allowing him to run plays that accord with his strengths and that don't require him to make difficult reads.
Jarret: According to several accounts Kliff Kingsbury and Patrick Mahomes have worked hard to get Mahomes prepared to play if needed. That being said, to expect a true freshman to come in and have the Air Raid system down in 4-5 months is ridiculous. Besides most of Mahomes' success will likely come from him ad-libbing.

densmi: When taking into consideration the alleged qb controversy, the possibility that some players quit last week, the offensive and defensive ineptitude in recent weeks,,,,what color am I supposed to wear to the game this week?
Joe: I think black and blue would be most appropriate. This season has been a real beat-up.
Jarret: Have you considered streaking? You should go full body paint as Captain America. You know mostly blue with the red and white circles surrounding a lone star on your chest. For legal reasons I am required to tell you I was just kidding, you shouldn't streak across the field into all-time Texas Tech fan lore.

NCRaider2: What's the impact of last week's epic beat-down on current and potential recruits?
Joe: This is more JJ's specialty than mine, but from everything I've seen, the current commits are holding firm, and the commitment of Carlos Strickland is impressive for the coaches. If nothing else, this staff is packed with some very good salesmen. As for continued recruiting success, I cannot help but think that the poor performances on the field will curtail what could have been a national top-10 class, but if Kingsbury and his staff manage to pull in a top-25 haul given the mess on the field it will have been a great accomplishment.
Jarret: I realize you asked this prior to four-star receiver Carlos Strickland's commitment, but it has had little, to no negative impact. The recruits love Kingsbury and the rest of the staff. Plus, they look at the depth chart, visit practice and the games and come away confident they can play early and that is a major factor. Not many power five schools offer that opportunity at so many positions. Throw in the talent already committed, beginning with five-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham and five-star defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko and you have the recipe for a potential program changing class.

JtechD: Is gray the new red?
Joe: Gray is what you get when you allow 18-year-old kids to destroy school traditions that have been in place since before the Great Depression. But if there's any solace, it's that not just Tech that has succumbed to the recruiting uber alles ethos. The disease is everywhere.
Jarret: Hahaha. Wow that's a little dramatic to me. I realize I'm younger, but unfortunately I'm no spring chicken either. I like the black, white and grey uniforms. Would it be nice if Tech wore a red jersey every once in a while? Sure, but I would be more concerned if they did away with the all-black uniforms. Anyways, my wife tells me grey is very in right now, so there's that. I just wish they'd do away with the Lone Star Pride unis. Those are awful.

ranger2131: exactly how close to VY do we make Swoopes appear this week?
Joe: I suspect Swoopes will have a career day. The Horns will run effectively enough to remove the pressure from Swoopes, and when his mind is not a fog Swoopes is an effective quarterback. Ultimately, the difference between Swoopes versus Tech and Swoopes versus everybody else will be that the Horns will ring the bell when they get in the red zone, and that always makes a QB look good.
Jarret: Haha. He won't look anything like Vince Young, but I agree he will probably have a good day on the ground. It's hard for me sit here and say the defense which just gave up 82 points and almost 800 yards is going to bounce back and have a banner day, so I'll just say Swoopes will have about the same game he did against Iowa State.

redraider28: Does the coaching staff have any legit reason what so ever to be turning away defensive recruits right now, considering the current position our Defense is right now with a lack of depth across the board?
Joe: Clearly, Tech needs help on defense, but the receiving corps has also been no great shakes either. So, the more defensive talent and receivers the staff brings in the better, as far as I'm concerned.
Jarret: Yes, look at the caliber of recruits Tech is bringing in right now. The average star rating per recruit is among the best in the country. In fact the last time I looked the 2015 class checked in between Auburn and Florida State! Tech is being choosy, but adding in some safe-bet projects such as defensive lineman Broderick Washington.

CaptainPopsicle: I see that Stidham is visiting again, has he made it to all the home games this year? With us being short on WR recruits still to this point it's awesome that he's there to meet them all on visits... and Johnson announcing he'll make another visit to Lubbock soon is huge!
Joe: ?
Jarret: I'm not sure if he's been to every home game, but most of them. Saturday will make it at least three and the spring game.

OleTechsan1953: What about Gary Moore for a TE 3rd or 4th down go to receiver? Tell us more about this young man please. I know he's playing DE. Are his hands not good? Has KK tried him on offense? What's the deal?
Joe: Players raved about Moore as a receiver during unsupervised workouts, but those sorts of reports turn out to be erroneous as often as not, so I suspect his abilities as a receiver are not as advertised. And given Tech's defensive difficulties and depth issues, I don't think moving players from that side of the ball to offense is particularly wise. What's more, the easiest way to ruin a player's career is to bounce him around from one position to another all the time, never letting him develop in one spot. So I'm entirely in favor of letting him settle at defensive end or possibly outside linebacker. With gains in weight and strength, I still think he could be a very good player.
Jarret: The coaching staff loves him as a rush defensive end. They gush about him all the time. He is extremely raw, not to mention light in my opinion. They kept trying to sell him to all us media outlets during fall camp. I wasn't buying. He's athletic, but until I see some results, I will remain skeptical. He has plenty of time, though, to be molded into an effective situational player.

RawlsLandman: Do you have a go to pre-game meal or ritual? If so please explain.
Joe: Boring, I know, but the answer is no. Never have had any particular chow for Tech football games. And these days, covering the games, I'm just happy to partake of the game-day grub that the Athletic Department, in its mercy, provides for us emaciated scribes. Most of the time it is pretty darned good.
Jarret: Yep. Texas Tech treats you right. The press box is really nice and they usually have a great selection of food pregame, free ice cream and popcorn throughout and pizza and beer after. In fact, last week I was the last reporter to leave the press box and chugged a beer on the walk from the press box to the elevator. It was a satisfying feeling.

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