Weekly Conversation: Things Bigger Than Football

We discuss Luke Siegel and his journey and his accident as well as looking towards Arkansas.

Seth: Here we go. The “easy” part is over and done with and now we get to really see if Texas Tech has made any improvements. But before we get to that, do you have any final thoughts on the UTEP game? There was just so much good in that game, it was difficult to capture it all and enough that was troublesome, especially on defense, to give this team more to improve upon this week.

Travis: There really isn’t much left to be said about the performance last week. I’m still amazed at how well Mahomes runs the offense after having only been a starter for such a short period of time, and it seems like he’s just getting more and more comfortable every week.

As for now, and heading into the game against Arkansas, I really feel similar to how Rind explained his approach in the comments on Tuesday. It’s sort of a relaxed feeling. Of course that can change quickly if Tech goes out and gets slaughtered on Saturday, but it really feels like they are finding a swagger again (ducking from thrown shoes) in that there’s a quiet confidence that Saturday’s are winnable. I really don’t think that has been the case on the sidelines or among the fanbase for several years.

They are far from perfect, and there are tons of improvements to be made, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like we’re building the plane as we’re flying it anymore.

So with all that, it probably means that Arkansas wins by 35 on Saturday night, right?

Seth: As an aside, the idea of building the plane while flying it makes me think of Madagascar 2, which means that I definitely have a 5 year old.

I don’t know how to feel about Arkansas. I really had no idea that they changed offensive coordinators in the offseason and Dan Enos seems to be a quarterbacks sort of guy, so maybe the choice of Enos as the OC and then Arkansas pretty much ignoring the run are two really big surprises. I don’t know if you just turn on the running game like that. Like a switch. Just start being a team that runs the ball, despite being a team that probably worked on the passing game quite a bit of the offseason The thing that I think will be most problematic is the fact that Arkansas uses two-tight ends and I’m going to be real interested to see how Texas Tech plays that. Plus, if Beilema has already played his hand, by saying that Arkansas is going to get back to doing what they do, then at this point, you have almost put Arkansas in a tough position, by loading up to stop the run and just daring Beilema to throw the ball. Arkansas’ offensive line is also huge, and if they can get ahold of you, it’s church, but they’re not exactly light on their feet, so I’m really torn/interested to see how Pete Robertson plays this game. There’s just no way that left tackle can keep pace with Robertson, but that left tackle has 100 pounds on Robertson.

I think this game is going to be a lot closer than maybe a lot of people think, mainly because I do think that this will be a back and forth affair and Texas Tech, I think, has the ability to put points on the board.

One more quick question on Arkansas and how you think Patrick Mahomes is going to show under the spotlight. You had this Twitter discussion with Don Williams during the game where, I think, his point was that he’s not ready to anoint Mahomes as being “the guy” just yet, while it seems pretty evident to the rest of us that it’s Mahomes. Do you think it is too early to think that Mahomes is already the guy or should we maybe need to wait to make that decision after the Arkansas game?

Travis: It could go either way I guess. Hell, you could probably wait until his career at Tech is over before you look back and say, “man, that Mahomes. He was the guy.” I just think that if you’ve won the Big 12 Offensive Player of the week in each of your last three starts, you start earning some capital. What I’m most tired of is how this keeps going back to Davis Webb. I’m proud of Webb for the heart and dedication he’s shown. I think it’s guys like Webb that make this country great, and he’ll ultimately be more successful in whatever he chooses to do than most of us.

So just because I’m really rooting for Pat, and think what he’s done so far is incredible, that doesn’t mean I have some deep-seated hatred for Webb. And I think that’s the prism that guys like Williams view this situation from. I’ll just be happy on the day when there’s not some reaching comparison to Webb when Mahomes makes even the slightest mistake.

So over the summer there was a really terrible accident involving former Tech coach Tim Siegel’s young son, Luke. It just breaks my heart every time I see anything about it or read an update on Twitter from Tim himself. We both have young boys at home. Any thoughts on this?

Seth: Yeah, this is something that has not left the back of my brain since it happened. It seems as if the Siegel family is continually in my head. Just to catch everyone up, last week, it was reported by the LAJ that Luke Siegel is waiting on a bed so that he can be transferred to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. This week we also learned from LAJ’s Nicholas Talbot that Luke is in Ft. Worth and his last day in Lubbock he actually turned his head towards his mom. Luke’s mother, Jenny, will live and be with Luke in Ft. Worth while Tim will stay in Lubbock with his other two children.

“I just want the opportunity — if he can’t play sports again — then to enjoy them with me watching them. Right now we have to take it one baby step at a time. Everyone has told us it is a marathon and we understand that,” Tim said.

We both have young sons, and without assuming too much, this situation hit close to home for me in so many different ways. For those of you who don’t know what happened, Luke is Tim Siegel’s son and Tim was previously the head coach of the Texas Tech men’s tennis team. He retired from Texas Tech and then took the Lubbock Cooper tennis position. Shortly after that, Luke was injured in an accident where he was driving an ATV type of vehicle that flipped and landed on Luke’s head. Shortly after the accident, Tim tweeted to Drew Brees and the Saints:

Tim is a huge football fan, in particular a huge Saints fan. Believe it or not, Brees did respond with an awesome video of hope and encouragement and prayer.

This whole thing has so many angles to take, but the one that I wanted to initially talk to you about was how in times of need we reach out to our heroes and if the athletes that are part of this team ever wanted a reminder about how important they can mean to a person, even though they may not know it, this would be it. At first, I found it odd that Tim would reach out to Brees, but then I thought that our heroes come in all shapes, sizes and professions and we look up to those heroes to help get us through those really tough times.

And I know that I’m probably offending someone by using the term “hero” with an athlete, but it’s the idea that sometimes these players are held in high regard because of what they do and with that, sometimes it comes with an incredible responsibility. And sometimes, it’s incredibly awesome, to be lifted up by one of your heroes, it can be an incredible mental boost when things seem like they are at their absolute worst. I don’t think there’s a question here, but my response is already lengthy, so I’ll let you go because the whole thing just makes me sad.

Travis: It’s just a stark reminder that there are things bigger than football, and I hope that we can all take a minute to say a prayer or think a good thought for Luke.

Seth: I am with you.

The last thing to ask you about is your game prediction and hopefully of GIF of a panda. For me, I’m taking Texas Tech by a field goal. I think it’s close. Texas Tech 38 (that’s only 1 field goal), Arkansas 35.

Travis: My prediction is lots of chaos by a panda in an office from the 1970’s.


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