Red Raiders Search for Answers

It may seem like the season is quickly spiraling out of control for the Texas Tech Red Raiders following two consecutive losses, but Head Coach Mike Leach knows how to fix the problems, he just has to get his players to believe his message.

Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach knows that this team is capable of competing with the rest of the Big Twelve, but the players need to get their confidence back after losing two straight games. "The biggest thing is just getting them back," said Coach Leach. Following the Iowa State game the team was full of confidence, and ready to make a statement, but a close loss in Stillwater has played havoc with their confidence level. "These guys have to regroup and realize which team they are," said Coach Leach. That's the same question fans are trying to answer. Is this Red Raider team the team that destroyed Texas A&M or beat the SEC leading Ole Miss Rebels, or is this the team that was dominated by Missouri on Saturday? "I think these guys got to believe in themselves longer than one game to the next," said Coach Leach.

"I think they need to focus on their job, I think they need to focus on their assignment, and confidence has to come from within," said Coach Leach. The biggest key to this is for the players to not worry about what happens on any given play, but instead to focus on how they execute. "It can't be result oriented. We may make the greatest play in the world, but the guy's pulling, or catching the ball with his fingertips. That's a hell of a play," said Leach. Even when those things happen, the players need to focus on the next play instead of the result of the previous play. "I think our guys struggle with that," said Leach.

The Texas Tech defense has received the bulk of the criticism following the loss to Missouri. Coach Leach took responsibility for the defensive breakdowns following the game, but he says there aren't going to be any changes in the way defenses are called on game day. "Those guys watch more film than we do, and know the players better," said Leach. The blame doesn't just fall on the defense either. "We didn't play well on offense. You guys can write about yards if you want to, or touchdowns or whatever, but we didn't play very good," said Coach Leach. The problem comes when the offense feels like they need to make up for deficiencies on defense, or vice versa. While it may be hard for a player to ignore what is happening when they are of the field, Coach Leach doesn't accept that as an excuse. "I don't care if it's hard or not," said Coach Leach. "If we scored on every drive that we had, we would have won, and we would have won by quite a bit." The same thinking applies on defense. "They need to step out there and say, we're gonna stop them. It doesn't matter what the offense does," said Coach Leach.

Coach Leach questions how many of the players were ready to play on Saturday. When asked who wasn't ready to play, Leach responded, "I'd say most of the eleven starters on offense, and the eleven starters on defense." Coach Leach takes most of the responsibility for the lack of readiness. "It is my fault. I need to do a better job this week," said Coach Leach. At the same time he placed some of the responsibility on the players to find their confidence. "I think at some point they need to make the decision themselves," said Coach Leach.


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