Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Texas Tech Guest Blogger Seth C.

Today we have the pleasure of meeting Seth C. who runs the top Texas Tech Blog "Double T Nation". Seth has agreed to answer some questions about his team and the Red Raiders meeting with UMass.

First off, welcome to the UMass Football Blog! It seems as if UMass always hits FCS/I-A teams when they are on a roll. All the pundits are saying that this is the Red Raiders break through year in the Big 12. Is it?

DTN: Thanks for having me, I'm looking forward to the game.

There's actually quite a bit of debate about whether or not this is a true statement. One camp thinks that we're seeing signs of the same old Texas Tech (good offense, no defense) and then there's the camp that thinks there's been some improvement on defense (still giving up yards, but being stingy with points). Personally, I'm in the latter camp. I can see the improvement. However, this year, the offense has struggled a bit, despite returning almost the entire group from last year and a quarterback, Graham Harrell, who is in his 3rd year starting in this system, something hasn't happened under the Mike Leach era. I'm cautiously optimistic that this is the year that Texas Tech breaks through to grab a BCS bowl game, but I'm not holding my breath.

#2. Spread offenses are going viral all over college football. Texas Tech runs a passing version of the spread. Could you describe it to us?

DTN: Starting with the offensive line, the linemen split anywhere between 3' and 6' apart, and average 6'6" and 320 pounds, or so. Typically, the quarterback (Graham Harrell) is in the shotgun with a running back to the quarterback's left or right. The receivers are, in order from the quarterback position (left to right):

- X Receiver (Edward Britton)

- H Receiver (Eric Morris)

- Y Receiver (Detron Lewis)

- Z Reciever (Michael Crabtree)

The H and Y receivers are the inside receivers while the X and Z receivers are lined up outside.

The receivers will run general routes, but will adjust based on the coverage.

#3. It's always fun to see a really great player even if we are on the receiving end of his play. Everybody is saying Michael Crabtree is the best WR in college football. What makes him different? Speed? Hands?

DTN: I think the thing that separates Michael Crabtree from most receivers is his size (6'3"/215). He's just so much bigger than most cornerbacks in today's college game, and that is a decided advantage. I've also always thought that Crabtree, a quarterback in high school, sees the field so much better than most receivers, sort of like a good point guard, he sees the play develop and makes adjustments accordingly. The one flaw that I've seen thus far is when teams get physical with Crabtree at the line of scrimmage, making it difficult for him to stay on his route. Being that this is essentially his second year at receiver, he's still learning some of the nuances of the receiver position and I think he's gotten better as defenses have game-planned for him.

#4. What kind of defense does Texas Tech run? What players should UMass fans look for?

DTN: Texas Tech runs a base 4-3 defense and thus far, it's been pretty vanilla. Ruffin McNeill took over in the middle of the year last year and we thought that we might see more blitzes and stunts, but thus far, we just haven't seen it. As far as specific players are concerned, the defensive line rotates 9 players and they essentially see equal time. Defensive end McKinner Dixon has been coming on lately, while middle linebacker Brian Duncan may be the most steady linebacker at Texas Tech in quite some time. Daniel Charbonnet, 3 interceptions against SMU, has been pretty good at the strong safety position, while Jamar Wall, a preseason All-Big 12 pick, has improved after a shaking first 2 weeks.

#5. The largest crowd UMass ever played before was 51,221 in 2002 at North Carolina State. Will Texas Tech fans break that record for us?

DTN: Last week against SMU there was an announced crowd of 53,383 and all of the season tickets have been sold out. The Texas Tech fans are ready for a winner and they're showing up in droves. I think the UMass game is almost a sell out, if it isn't already, so yes, I think the record gets broken.

#6. Any final thoughts about the game? We appreciate your stopping in!

DTN: I'm interested to see how well UMass rebounds after a tough loss by James Madison (who if I recall is one of the better FCS teams). Texas Tech has been running the ball quite well over the last three weeks (shocking, I know) and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see both the two Texas Tech running backs, Baron Batch and Shannon Woods, continue to get 10 carries each, and Leach looks to continue to run the ball.


Special thanks to Seth for sharing taking the time his thoughts with us. Mrs. Blog and I have camped a lot in Texas and we always liked the friendly Texans. Hope to meet a bunch of good folks at the game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Texas Tech fan here. Accurate account of the Tech program thus far. Just a few more tidbits.

The OL, is closer to 330 on average. RT Rylan Reed set a school record for the bench press at 625lbs.

Do not be surprised to see as many as 10 WR in this game. Tech has tremendous depth at the WR position. This depth tends to wear down DB's as the game progresses.

If you are making the trip, go to the East Parking lot. Feel free to just walk up. Many Tech fans will offer you a beer, fajitas, ribs, smoked-bacon wrapped peppers, smoked sausage, brisket, and brats wrapped in a tortilla--yes they are good.

Have fun and safe travels.