Five Questions: Texas Tech

Texas Tech insider Jarret Johnson of, has the best coverage of the Red Raiders on the planet. He joins us to answer five questions about this year's team and West Virginia's visit to Lubbock on Saturday.

1) Other than interception rate, Davis Webb is equalling or exceeding his productivity of a year ago. Why is he getting so much of the blame for Tech's start?

Johnson: Interceptions, as you know, are a big deal. Especially when you are among the worst in the nation in terms of throwing it up to the opposition. Webb has already thrown one more in five starts this season (10) than he did in six starts, 10 appearances as a true freshman last season. The problem is it hasn't just been poor decisions. He has been wildly inaccurate this season even with solid protection on intermediate throws to wide open targets. Texas Tech fans expect a lot from their quarterbacks after years of prolific passers. Expectations reached a ridiculous level heading into the season after Webb was hyped as a future star by everyone including the Texas Tech coaching staff, QB guru George Whitfield and media types such as myself.

2) Recruiting offensive talent to Lubbock has not seemed to be a problem over the past 10-15 years. Why has recruiting defensive players been more difficult?

Johnson: What's funny is even when Tech has landed some five and four star defensive talent in years past, they have almost never panned out. For example, 2011 five-star defensive lineman signee Delvon Simmons is starting for USC now. Yet, the main factor has to be the high turnover at defensive coordinator. Interim defensive coordinator Mike Smith is Tech's seventh defensive coordinator since 2007, which is ridiculous. That makes it very hard to recruit, hold on to and develop talent and you see the results on the field.

3) Tech and WVU are know for offensive production. What defensive player should get more notoriety?

Johnson: Sophomore safety Keenon Ward is a guy who will make plays and is probably the most physical player on the team despite his small stature at 5-foot-9, 199 pounds. Ward is still learning the position as he was originally recruited as a receiver, but he is an instinctive player. Last week against Kansas State he forced a fumble by simply ripping the ball out of a running back's hands in the open field and stopped Jake Waters for a loss on a fourth down and short play. He can be a liability in man coverage, but he's going to be a good one if he can stay healthy.

4) What was the outcome of Tech's "players only" meeting following last week's loss? Cliche', or a breakthrough?

Johnson: We'll see on Saturday. I've never been a big fan of the rah, rah stuff. To me you'd be better served looking at film for West Virginia weaknesses and tendencies to exploit, but maybe they will respond. It was said to have lasted 10 minutes and all the coaches said the right things about them liking the idea of it.

5) The hoopla around Kliff Kingsbury -- was it a distraction for the team, or just a reflection of today's society?

Johnson: Neither. Honestly, it is way overblown as the dancing and the Ryan Gossling comparisons are generally rare events aimed at recruiting with no apologies. Right now Texas Tech is known nationally for having a young, hip coach and that's about it. When talking to the players the reality is Kingsbury is a guy who gets to the facility at 4 a.m. and is the last one to leave. I've also had several veterans tell me he's the first head coach to really take time to ask about them off the field; how class is going, how's the family, etc. The honey moon is over though, as Tech's penchant for penalties, turnovers and losing streaks has some people questioning if Kingsbury is ready to be a head coach. I am not yet one of them.

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