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Football Mailbag: Does Tech have a chance

RedRaiderSports.com subscribers are not only some of the best informed, most
sports-savvy individuals on the Internet, they are also some of the most
curious. Subscribers constantly level questions at the staff, some of which,
regrettably, do not get answered. With this series, we attempt to partially
remedy that situation by answering some of the most interesting questions
submitted to us. We can only hope that the answers do justice to the questions.
1. Please list three reasons why you feel we are becoming more successful as we
get deeper into the season and why.
1. The competition has gotten better. This team plays at its best when
confronted by a challenge and is powerfully motivated when the stakes are high.
As the season has gone on, the teams have gotten tougher and the gold and glory
of a higher magnitude.
2. Matt "Lynwood" Williams. It may seem like a small thing, but the Tarleton
reject has solidified the extra point situation, and has probably improved the
field goal kicking component as well. He has been a true godsend, and if you
need any evidence that this team has destiny written all over it, the improbable
appearance of Williams is it.
3. Edward Britton. Ever since Lyle Leong was named a starter in place of Britton,
Ed has been little short of stellar. Sure, he dropped a touchdown against Texas,
but more than made up for that gaffe during the rest of the game. Britton has
given Graham Harrell another weapon, been a real threat in the deep passing
game, and has made it even tougher for teams to devote extra attention to
Michael Crabtree.
2. In the past, teams with great athleticism on defense have been able to
disrupt our offensive timing ... will the current OU team be able to do this?
Absolutely not. Now Mike Leach is the man with the straight flush on offense
while Bob Stoops has three queens on defense. The current Oklahoma stop unit is
a far cry from Stoops' best units, and Tech's offense is the best in school
history. The only thing that will stop the Red Raiders from scoring in Norman is
unforced errors. The more pressing concern will be how Tech's defense matches up
with the Sooner offense.
3. In the JET package, does Daniel Howard purposely delay his blitz or is he having
trouble finding the soft spot in the line? With the Big 12 offenses and the QBs
getting rid of the ball so quickly, a delayed blitz seems ineffective. By the
time the player gets there, the ball is gone.
To be perfectly honest, I haven't seen Daniel Howard blitz very often in the Jet
or any other package. What I have seen is Howard lined up as a middle linebacker
whose job seems to be to spy the opposing quarterback. He did this for most of
the second quarter against Texas, but Ruffin McNeill used that strategy rarely
in the second half. Fact is, the Red Raiders blitz very rarely in general.
McNeill much prefers to pressure with his four down linemen, flood the secondary
with fast, good tacklers, and close down rapidly on ball-carriers should there
not be a sack or incompletion. And the results speak for themselves.
4. Texas Tech has no chance to win in Norman, Oklahoma. What say you?
I'd say I'm honored to field a question from Ron Franklin.
In actuality, I fully expect the Red Raiders to win this game. I think their
intensity will be unbelievable, I don't think the Red Raiders have a scintilla
of fear about playing in Norman or playing a team they've beaten two out of the
last three seasons, and I don't think the Sooners are mentally and physically
tough enough to hang with Tech. Early headline: The Norman Conquest.
5. Has the Oklahoma defense been the same without middle linebacker Ryan
Reynolds who was injured in the Texas game? What does it do for Tech's chances
that Sooner defensive end Austin English might not be ready to play on November
I have not been terribly impressed with Oklahoma's defense since the Red Raiders
lacerated it last season, and then West Virginia ran circles around it in the
bowl game. Frankly, I suspect the Sooner defense misses Mike Stoops far more
than it misses Ryan Reynolds and Auston English. And M. Stoops won't be able to
help won't be there to save the OU defense once Graham Harrell and the Air Raid
begin scourging it around Norman like galley slaves on a pirate vessel.
6. True or False. Colby Whitlock will be an All-American before he leaves Tech?
I'll go with true here, although I don't think it's a sure thing. I want to see
Colby Whitlock bring the stink against the likes of Eastern Washington and Texas A&M
as well as he does against Texas and Oklahoma State. He's certainly got the
talent to be an every-game dominator, though, and the increased fame of the Tech
football program will certainly help his cause.