Seth and I had a chance to exchange some correspondence and interview one another this week in preparation for the Texas Tech at Iowa State game. Later today, he will be posting my answers to his questions on DoubleTNation so you should check it out. Here are his answers:
Paul Conrad: What should the Cyclones expect from the Texas Tech Offense? Is the 60/40 Pass/Run scheme working out for Tommy Tuberville when implemented?
Seth C: Thus far, yes, that's what the current ratio sits, which is 60% pass and 40% run. The frustrating part for most fans thus far has been the consistency and the efficiency that the offense has performed thus far. The rushing game is only averaging 2.47 yards per attempt, which is pitiful even for Texas Tech's standards. The passing game has been less than what most Texas Tech fans expect as Taylor Potts is only averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, which is not good. I've always thought that quarterbacks, even spread quarterbacks, need to average at the very least 7 yards per attempt and right now, Taylor Potts just isn't getting it done. The scheme itself, is a spread offense, but the devil is in the details. During the UT game, many fans noticed that the line appeared to be a zone blocking scheme rather than the standard man blocking scheme. Of course, most fans are just guessing, but the theory is that a big part of last week's struggles was that with a zone blocking scheme, the offensive line must work together, and there were too many times that the Texas Tech offensive line wasn't laying a hand on the second level. Tuberville and offensive coordinator Neal Brown have had two full weeks to work on getting the scheme right. I think that right now, there's a lot of Texas Tech fans that want nothing more than to see a competent offense and don't be surprised if a quarterback change with Steven Sheffield happens if Potts can't get the offense into the endzone.
PC: What are Tech’s defensive strengths? Any weaknesses?
SC: Although I think the biggest question heading into the season was how was the defensive line going to perform, right now, the defensive line, led by DE Scott Smith, DT Donald Langley, NT Colby Whitlock and DE/OLB Brian Duncan. Smith and Langley are JUCO transfers and Duncan is an inside linebacker converted to defensive end. The main constant has been Whitlock, who was incredibly disruptive two weeks ago. Generally speaking, the secondary is still very young. There's one upperclassman, S Franklin Mitchem, seeing any real playing time. The remainder consists of freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores. And they haven't played poorly, but inevitably, when you have young players, you're going to have more mistakes. It's a part of the process. They're talented, just young. You should certainly watch for S Cody Davis this game. I'm thinking that Texas Tech moves up a safety to play the run and Davis is a big hitter and a fun player to watch.
SC: Another good debate amongst Texas Tech faithful. On one hand you have those that penalties don't mean much of anything because Mike Leach never put a real priority on being a penalty free team. Now you've got Tuberville, averaging a good 3 penalties less per game (http://www.doubletnation.com/2010/9/29/1719021/2010-week-4-report-card). The natives could care less about the penalties, just given them a stinking win.
PC: From a weekly improvement and team building perspective, what would you like to see from Texas Tech this week?
SC: A consistent and efficient offense. Nothing would help calm an impassioned fanbase more than an offense that resembles more of last year than this year. If we could get that, even if the defense is less than stellar, then I think you're going to have a mostly happy fanbase. The key is that I think most Texas Tech fans know that the players are there to be a consistent and efficient offense, it's a matter of execution. We're hoping like heck that the bye-week helps cure some of those problems.
PC: Four weeks into the season, where do you see Tech ending up in the standings/bowl invites?
SC: I must admit that I truly don't follow where a team goes or doesn't go to a bowl. However, before the season, I put the over-under at 8.5 games and I still think that Texas Tech is capable of matching that over figure, but it also wouldn't surprise me to see Texas Tech fall under that number either. A brand new staff, an entirely new defensive scheme, and an offense that isn't run by Leach can be a tough transition. There are plenty of people that probably think that I underestimated this team at 8.5 wins, but with so many returning starters missing from last year's defensive line and replacing essentially 3 of 5 offensive line, I thought that this team would struggle a bit. And that's before Leach was terminated. There's talent there, and just like every team in the country, sometimes it takes a loss for another team to expose what your team needs to improve. Texas Tech has plenty of tape from two weeks ago, both offensively and defensively.