If you’re still out there, the update from Lubbock, where Texas Tech hammered No. 5 WVU, 49-14.
So yesterday was something of a sad day. Fifteen years earlier, John Denver died in a plane crash. Denver’s intentions and loyalties have been debated warmly throughout the years and we’ve had occasion to visit those topics in the past, including the 2008 game at Colorado.
Was he more fond of the Rocky Mountains or the Country Roads? And is “Take Me Home, Country Roads” about West Virginia or the western part of Virginia?
It doesn’t matter. Not today. What we do know is Mr. Denver played his beautiful guitar at the first game at Mountaineer Field …
… and that the song is an indelible part of the WVU tradition.
Yet he was also an architectural student at Texas Tech who was in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. The story, as I was told by the locals here, is that the school’s chancellor, Kent Hance, was the fraternity president. He urged Denver to stay in school because the music thing was a little risky. Denver gambled, left the university and ultimately won.
Fittingly, this game-within-the-game has become a fun little diversion this week. You’ll have to do some navigating, because there isn’t a direct link, but there’s a short feature here.
Jump Around! I don’t see WVU bouncing on this one.
Offense or defense, WVU players slow to get up after just about every down now.
Anything good coming out of this today? I’m trying to offer ip possibilities for positives.
And there’s Travares Copeland. Shannon Dawson likes him a lot, but wasn’t sure he wanted to break the kid’s redshirt.
WVU’s offense is great, right? It has 35 20-yard plays this season. The defense has allowed 40 now. Forty.
Also, Tech empty on two possessions. Looking forward to the postgame spin there.
Looks like Brodrick Jenkins is out too. This is beyond bad for WVU. Clarke is out. Rowell is hurt. Jenkins is hurt. They just don’t have the bodies on defense to fill those holes.
WVU’s “*uck it, chuck it and hope for a flag” offense isn’t working either. I’d like to tell you what’s up with Bailey, but no one is helping us.
Offsides … LINED UP in the neutral zone. That’s questionable, but that’s the kind of day this is.
Not a wheel route, but not unlike one. Teams pick on WVU and the way it guards the sideline.
Athletic trainer checking out Bailey’s left foot. Jeff Braun is walking around handing out towels. This is per Dave Hickman, naturally.
no idea where Bailey was that entire drive, either.
Five 20-yard passes, two 20-yard rushes in the first half.
Kindler to RT, Eger to RG and Braun remains out. We don’t know why though.
Want a comeback? WVU had seven first-half possessions: TD, three punts, two fourth down conversions and the Hail Mary. They’ll get maybe seven in the second half. Need to score TDs on at least five … and pray the defense shuts out Tech.
And I’m certain “There are going to be days like this!” will not cut it in the postgame today. Best part of halftime was this conversation from the line to the men’s room.
Guy 1: Did you hear Dana leaving the field?
Guy 2: Not uh, what’d he say?
Guy 1: Eh, nothing working, blamed it on the wind.
Guy 2: I didn’t know we were calling DeForest “The Wind” now.
Talked to a number of people who have been on the field during the first half. They say there is no emotion on WVU’s bench. “Total shock” is what one person told me. Also very little interaction between offense and defense. This is a complete change from last week.
Dana agrees. Doesn’t matter. Nothing did in that half. Hope you guys survive this.
More likely to score, I think, on a Hail Mary.
And Tuberville ices the kicker.
And Dana ices the kicker.
Bitancurt has missed 6 of 8 beyond 40 yards. This is 49 yards into the wind.
And the defense, barring a running clock in the second half, will likely re-set all the defensive records set two weeks ago.
I’m not going to add anything to the conversation there, but I’ll say that that should never happen. He got up the field. He bounced outside. He got to the sideline. He outran six defenders. That’s terrible.
And the inevitable and entertaining shanked punt. Fifty-six seconds to go…Tech scores, yes?
I’ll tell you Stedman Bailey should have caught that one. This is what happens when the defense plays average and the offense is off.
They picked on Rumph there. Moore saw Rumph the play before and told Doege once he saw there was no safety help. They motioned a back and WVU, playing man to man defense, moved another defender out of the area. Easy slant for the score.
And this is what the bad defense does to the offense. You can’t tell me the play calls or the players haven’t been pressing on the offense.
Pat Miller out, Ricky Rumph in.
And WVU is in deep, deep trouble.
Poor tackling give up about 20 yards there.
Too early to say this is the game, but it’s vital for WVU to at least not allow points.
All these maneuvers on the line and Jenkins, who missed his man on the third-down screen play, hasn’t missed a snap.
And then there’s this. That play ended and brought about fourth down and the offense never looked to see if it would stay on the field to go for it.
Noodle arm field judge can’t get the flag more than 10 yards with the wind at his back.
And now Eger is back, but at right guard. And another roll out play and a bad throw by Geno.
Stedman Bailey will tell you he should probably have caught that.
Look, you saw the Oklahoma v. Texas Tech game/score. You saw Oklahoma v. Texas. This may be a time to say Oklahoma might be good and Texas Tech might be good and Texas not be good.
Three plays, 82 yards, 52 seconds and a touchdown over Pat Miller’s head. Two touchdowns on WVU’s cornerbacks. Miller just stopped in the middle of the play and the receiver went by him. That’s technique.
Going to be really hard for WVU to establish the run down 21-7 now and I’m not sure who that’s better news for.
Doug Rigg got lost there. Left his spot on defense and the Tech receiver dragged through it. Fifty-two yards!
Dana’s furious with the offensive line there. Tech still isn’t blitzing much, but Tech is getting there.
And I know nothing is guaranteed with Bitancurt or this wind, but I’m #TeamThreePoints there.
There’s a new one there. Playaction and a roll left as you ask Geno to throw it. Looked awkward.
Thompson with what I can best describe as a cannon ball in the middle of the field.
Pat Eger out at right tackle, Nick Kindler in. This happened last series, just never got to it. That prevents Kindler from going to LT, his better spot, and bumping Spain inside in place of Jenkins, if you’re wondering.
Never mind, Ryan Clarke gets his first carry since the Pitt game in 2010! Something must be wrong with Garrison, but I couldn’t tell you that.
Yeah, you knew that would be a pass.
Lone running back, Ryan Clarke. That might be a tel…
Two big plays on that drive by Jorge. His sack was has first since the Pitt game, which makes sense since hertz had two that day.
Tavon does what Tavon used to do and botched the catch. It takes a nice hop and he scoops it up. Mega-break there, too. That’s two for WVU right now.
Miller and Jenkins were in man. I only watched Miller, but he forced his man inside and Doege waited a tick. Nice play by Kinsey on the deflection. Bruce ALMOST had it.
Third-and-14. Buckle up!
Kicked the snot out of that stat on twitter, by the way. Couldn’t have screwed it up more. Too much coffee.
End of the quarter and WVU has third-and-6 at its 32-yard line. Through nine Big 12 quarters, we’ve seen 33 offensive touchdowns and four punts from WVU and the opponent.
And Buie whiffs on a weak attempt at a block there. Tavon had room if Buie gets his guy.
Josh Jenkins has looked better.
Watching the replays, that’s not something you practice or work on, even if you work on tip drills. That’s just Joseph making a change.
Also, Joseph is yanking the K.J. nickname from K.J. Dillon.
To this point, WVU’s defense had only a few chance to make plays. Miller made one, Barber made one and those were inconsequential. Karl Joseph just made one that matters. Tech made a mistake and the ball got out of the receiver’s hands and Joseph was there to intercept. Difficult play.
Miller’s 10 yards off the ball on the snap and has to run at least seven yards to the receiver once the ball is in the air.
What just happened? Tackle for a loss AND a Jared Barber sighting!
Just a 21-yard pass up the seam to an open receiver.
Second-and-25 … buckle up.
You have to say this about WVU’s special teams: The third-level defenders on kickoff coverage are pretty good.
Again, hard to say how important that is because WVU can score, obviously, and it’s the first quarter, but Texas Tech was basically minus-one in possession because WVU gets the second half kick. Tech scored first and got a stop and then scored again. A second stop takes away WVU’s theoretical advantage. So, in a small way, that’s a big score.
… set up for Stedman Bailey. We’ve seen that before. Geno just throws it to a spot.
Buie walks in … Jenkins false start.
Thank the Tech linebackers there. They shifted the four-man front to their left and Buie sliced to his left.
Not sure how to describe Texas Tech’s kicking philosophy. Unique?
Big possession here, if such a thing is possible for the No. 5 ranked team in the first quarter.
Jenkins looked shaky out there. He’s backing up the entire time and then throw his hands into the defender as he’s trying to turn. Of course he loses a step and balance. That ball was in the air a while and he never really made a play on that.
This is the defense putting pressure on the offense, by the way.
That’s terrible defense. Terrible.
WVU’s defenses on third down have been pretty passive so far. and this third-and-5 again sees a drop zone and Doege on the run. I think he knows what to do.
Actually, great camera shot by the ABC crew there. You were in the defensive backfield and you couldn’t see the ball.
Yikes, caught a mega-break there. That’s a touchdown … and Miller let the guy go.
Pat Miller breaks it up in man coverage. Lots of room out there.
Windy day and that may have affected Geno’s fourth-down pass there. Looked like it was a surprise to him. We’ve seen him make that throw.
Ethernet, FTW! And this is at Jones AT&T Stadium, mind you.
Can’t promise the Internet will comply all game. I’m just getting running now, on WVU’s fourth-and-4 that forces Texas Tech to call a timeout. Let’s cross our fingers, for the Internet.
Eh, white jerseys, white pants and grey lids.
Midnight has been the Masked Rider horse since 2002, the longest run in program history. I guess there’s no backup, though. I mean, if Jon Kimble was sidelined for a home game, I know there’s a backup. Different story on the road, but surely there’s a horse somewhere else in this town, no?
Midnight gave it a go this weekend and worked the Homecoming Parade last night and some pre-game stuff today. The horse will be on the sidelines, but he’s not doing the Masked Rider program.
This is a serious deal here, so much so that a release was passed around press row. Midnight was sidelined “after undergoing medical testing this week.” The horse will be evaluated over the next few weeks but, again, WE’RE NOT GETTING ANY DETAILS HERE!
More bad news: No Midnight Matador today.
Midnight Matador is the horse used in the Texas Tech Masked Rider program, a tradition that started at the 1954 Gator Bowl.
Cornerback Avery Williams, safety Travis Bell and Matt Moro about the only other notable omissions. P/K Josh Lambert is here. Ditto freshmen Travares Copeland (receiver), D’Vontis Arnold (RB) and Tyler Orlosky (OL).
A name I haven’t seen that I do today: freshman linebacker Austin Copeland, a walk-on linebacker from Woodbridge, Va. Odd that a walk-on travels unless he plays. Not sure Copeland has traveled before. Figure he’s a special teams guy and little more.
I believe Alston traveled. Hard to tell from this height, but I believe he traveled, which is a better sign than last week, when he didn’t/couldn’t travel.
Shawne Alston not on the dress list again.
One more on Luck. I talked to Jim Clements last night. He did, in fact, consider putting a buyout into Luck’s new contract, the details of which were revealed yesterday. Clements looked around at what other schools similar to his had done and decided it was not common and therefore not necessary.
Clements said if someone really wants Luck and if Luck really wants to go, a buyout equal to his salary or even slightly above that wasn’t going to serve as a deterrent — and remember, contracts can’t have punitive qualities.
Just thought I’d pass that along to put a ribbon on that.
Quick story from the morning. I had breakfast at the Pancake House, which was just great. I was chastised, though in a kind and folksy way, for reading a paper at the counter. I was then made to talk about the Red Raiders, and my cover was eventually blown.
The people couldn’t have been nicer and I was shown pictures of a man in a suit who had been to eat literally moments before I arrived. “Andrew Luck’s daddy!” I was told. Sure enough, there was Luck in a dark suit, hair slicked back, smiling with Texas Tech fans at the checkout counter.
“He wouldn’t do ‘Guns up,’ but he said he’d do ‘Musket up,’” a woman told me.
Now, if you can’t build up and you can’t built out, which are the concerns for improving the practice areas, you CAN build below. Texas Tech got that done. The indoor facility is elevated, I don’t know, 25 feet above the ground. One wonders if something could be engineered to expand below the current ground surface.
Anyhow, here’s a look at the practice fields. I went by there yesterday because I had to get my press and parking passes. The football building is pretty nice, but no different from WVU’s. What Texas Tech has is a sweet homage to Bam Morris.
I really do think WVU is going to borrow ideas from here — I just don’t know where or how they do this with the practice fields. There isn’t space, as we’ve documented previously, unless they buy and level some trailers on the opposite of Don Nehlen Drive.
You can see forever, too. I love it.
Here we go … here’s the view form the press box. Not that you care. But you do see the football office before the two fields and then the bubble to the right.
Trying to get some photographs to upload, but we are way, WAY above the field in this press box. WVU’s press box is at an elevation, but this is beyond even that.
Having said that, this place is so flat that you can see forever. The panorama views are very pleasant.
Everything is concentrated in the same area, and that includes a big field turf practice field and a separate natural grass field. To the right of that is the indoor facility, which is basically a subterranean structure.
When Dana’s putting together blueprints for his facility enhancements at WVU, figure he has these in mind. WVU has some restrictions, but there are ways around it, as you can see when you’re here.
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