Raider Power Mailbag

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

TECHAWL: When is Darrion Daniels planning to name a school? What recruits (Minus Tyron) do you guys consider must get? Who will start at QB for the OU game?

Joe: I expect Webb to start if he's at least 80 percent healthy. Tech's line has done a great job of protecting the quarterbacks all season so I believe Webb would be reasonably safe back there. And let's face it--the Red Raiders are pretty desperate for a win and Webb gives the team the best opportunity to get one; Tech will need to score but plenty to beat the Sooners.

Jarret: Daniels told me he plans on committing either late November or early December, so relatively soon. Tech could use another defensive lineman, but it's great they already have three committed, including one of the top talents in the nation in Breiden Fehoko. Also, I would be very surprised if Webb doesn't start this weekend.

CaptainPopsicle: Let's talk LB recruiting, with us running a 3-4, shouldn't we be getting LB commit numbers similar to WRs to fill depth? Outside of Hinton, we only have 10 LB offers out total (so says Scout) and 5 of those are committed elsewhere. That leaves us with offers to Jefferson, Lucier-South, McNeal, Wheeler, and McGinnis. The first two will be able to pick any school they wish so that's highly improbable we land them. What are your thoughts on McNeal, Wheeler and McGinnis?

McGinnis mentioned setting up an official. Hopefully Strickland is whispering in Wheelers ear everyday about Tech. McNeal seemed to like us in the spring, but haven't heard anything from him in a while.


Joe: I count nine scholarship linebackers returning next year, to go along with quality walk-ons Braden Marusak and Collin Bowen. Throw in Hinton and you've got a round dozen for for positions. I would imagine Kingsbury hopes to add a couple more linebackers to the current class so hopefully Tech's in good with two of those outstanding offers.

Jarret: Tech would like to have a couple more linebackers committed, especially if you count defensive end Reggie Walker as a Bandit backer. The lack of defensive commits has been a common question on the board, but in all honesty I am not as concerned as some. As Joe mentioned, Tech has decent numbers at the linebacker position and I believe as group the linebackers will be greatly improved next season. Pete Robertson, Mike Mitchell, Micah Awe, Sam Atoe, Dakota Allen, Malik Jenkins should all be in the mix.

Pop, I wouldn't count on Tech signing any of those linebackers you mentioned.

tornadowatch: Over the past several years, a number of backup quarterbacks have left. With the addition of Stidham to our current stable of QBs, do you anticipate any departures this time around?

Joe: Going into the season I anticipate no quarterback departures. But that will likely change if Stidham comes in and sets the world on fire. In that scenario, I wouldn't expect Webb to stick around--he values himself as a starter from here on out. I'm not sure what Mahomes would do.

Jarret: I don't either, but I was surprised by Mayfield's departure last season, so we'll see. Yeah if Stidham were to come in and take the job as many believe, even Kingsbury said Thursday he thought Stidham was good enough to play immediately, Webb might transfer after next season. I hate speculating on this stuff, because there are so many outside factors involved with predicting their decisions.

zebbie09: Do you expect any adjustments in the staff- new hires? Responsibilities shifted?

Joe: Failing a dramatic turnaround these last three games, I wouldn't be surprised by a bit of a staff shakeup, but what form it takes is difficult to ascertain. There's a spot open on the defensive staff, and I could see it going to a linebacker coach if Mike Smith can find one he likes. Safety and receiver play has been very poor for Tech this season, so changes affecting those two groups wouldn't surprise me.

Jarret: To me the smart thing would be to keep the staff in tact and try and get some continuity going. It seems as if all the best staffs have that with a system in place. I think Tech could bring in a proven linebacker coach to fill the open position so Mike Smith could focus on the defense overall.

TechRed01: When was the last time a big time commit made his first visit to another school this late in the season (Dauphnie to Tenn) and switched? Should we be worried about any recruits that have committed, but are taking their full allotment of visits to other schools?

Jarret: First off I don't consider this late in the cycle as signing day is three months away, an eternity in the recruiting world. Also, recruits switch late all the time as late as National Signing Day. Old vets who have followed recruiting for awhile know you can't count a kid until they sign and even then you hold your breath until they report and then ultimately until they hit the field and actually contribute. then rinse and repeat with the next class. Haha. It's exhausting.

fromcentex: Who the heck is in more trouble at QB this week? Us or OU?

Joe: I think Tech has more QB worries for the simple reason that Tech's QB will be expected to do so much more in this game than OU's QB. Although Tech has a very good ground game, Kingsbury hasn't shown the willingness to commit to it. Bob Stoops, on the other hand, will have no such compunctions. As long as Cody Thomas can hand the ball off to Samadje Perine, Oklahoma will be OK, so to speak. Tech's banged up and inexperienced quarterbacks will be expected to command a much more complicated game plan.

Jarret: Tech's QB situation has been as big of a problem as anything this season. I loathe people who blame all the problems on the quarterback, but the truth is if Webb had been half as good as everyone expected (including myself) Tech would be a formidable opponent. As Joe said I expect OU to roll up close to 300 yards on the ground, but don't be surprised if the Sooners take advantage of some 1-on-1 matchups outside. Think Oklahoma State.

jaburrs: If you had to speculate...what will Texas Tech's offense look like in the next few years? Do you see us starting to go into a more balanced attack? Seems like everyone who is good is 50/50...

Joe: I see no schematic changes in Tech's offense. Kingsbury is a pass-first coach who will only run the football when the defense dares him to. And, of course, if Stidham is everything he's cracked up to be, the passing game will return to the glory days.

Jarret: Kingsbury said Thursday night during his radio show he would like to pass 55 percent of the time and run the rest. the 55-45 split sounds like a fairy tale to me, I guess I'll believe it when I see it. You would think if Kingsbury was ever going to commit to the run this would be the season he would do so with ineffective QBs, a handful of solid running backs and an offensive line which has consistently opened up holes. I think Kingsbury would like to pass 70 percent of the time, run with a dual threat QB 15 percent of the time and hand off to a running back 15 percent of the time.

OleTechsan1953: Why are we having so many problems in recruiting high school defensive linemen and line backers? Why just 21 2015 Scholarships?

2014 had 26 with 3 No Shows and a Grey shirt in Clark who will count as a 2015 I assume but that means down to 22 last year with Keys and Robertson a ? B Daniels, C Wilson, and Shaq Davis the 3 no shows.


Joe: Tech has actually had some success recruiting high school defensive linemen, it's just that they don't always pan out. Delvon Simmons and Michael Starts were big-time defensive line recruits who simply washed out. Same with Pearlie Graves. Perhaps talent evaluation is more of an issue than persuasion.

Jarret: As I said above Tech has three high school defensive tackles committed which is a good number. Simply put, Tech has a hard time recruiting defensive personnel because who wants to play for three-five different coordinators on one of the worst defensive units in the nation? That's a tough sell. Kingsbury said Thursday he thought the uncertainty at defensive coordinator has contributed to lack of commits on the defensive side of the ball. That's a good start. As far as Tech only signing 20-21 players, as Eric Morris said earlier this week, I wouldn't be surprised if Tech ends up taking closer to 25 when it's all said and done as scholarships open up.

injuns53: Do we have some walk-ons that have earned a spot on the 85 but if so they need not use the 2015 spots right?

Jarret: I'm not sure yet. I don't know if Tech knows yet how many they will hand out to walk-ons. I think that will be decided after they see how many guys will not be returning for one reason or another.

redraiduzz: Does the staff need to look more for the JUCO route or out of state to get quality LBs? WHY can't we seemingly get any from nearby?

Jarret: Tech has beaten out some regional powers for the likes of in-state backers Dakota Allen and Mike Mitchell. As far as this class Tech is in a weird situation, not only have they been historically bad (see 82 points) and fired their defensive coordinator, but they have some real talent waiting in the wings next season. Mike Smith has described Allen as a special talent who could have a great career at Tech and Mitchell is five-star talent with three seasons of eligibility remaining. These 2015 recruits are educated about Tech's situation. Unlike on offense, Tech can't offer immediate playing time to inside linebackers or even guarantee who the coordinator will be next year. I don't think Tech needs to go the junior college route on defense, because they have guys ready to step up in important positions in my opinion.

RawlsLandman: Favorite chips and salsa? Homemade and at a restaurant. If you make your own salsa what ingredients due you use?

Joe: The best chips and salsa I ever had were at two places that no longer exist: Cancun on Slide and La Cumbre in Cactus Alley. Cancun made a very hot, very thin habanero sauce that was absolutely addictive. You had to ask for it special. La Cumbre made a green sauce that was supposedly nothing more than pureed pickled jalapenos with a bit of salt thrown in, but it was inexplicably delicious. I've tried to replicate it, but with little success. I rarely make my own sauce, but when I do, it's a mixture of pickled jalapenos, chipotles, fresh jalapenos, salt, garlic powder and a couple of hot pepper sauces. It's alright, but nothing to brag about. I still haven't worked up a formula for homemade salsa that blows me away.

Jarret: I'll give a shout out to a local restaurant and say go check out Anna's on Indiana and the loop. You can tell it's all homemade and the queso is delicious as well. I eat El Fenix salsa at home. El Fenix has been watered down by all the chains, but the original in Dallas off Alamo is fantastic. What's more, the take home salsa has a nice kick to it.






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