1. Game Links:
2. Avoidance. I watched most of the first half of this game and at 1 o’clock we were off to Youssouf’s soccer game. If you care, his team didn’t win, but he scored 5 of his team’s 6 goals and assisted on that 6th (it was a beautiful cross to a teammate). Since I sort of run the blog I have to keep track of the score while I’m out so that I can post the Post Game Thread & Position Ratings from my phone as long as I’ve pre-written it, which is what I did right before I left. There’s not an opportunity to really wait to watch the game and not know the score for an afternoon or evening. Based on the results, I think I’ve seen all of the highlights and missed the lowlights. As I get older, it’s more difficult to force myself to watch games that are absolute stinkers. I have little motivation to do that to myself, especially since I know the result.
But I don’t think you’re really here to discuss yesterday’s game.
3. The Stretch. I mentioned, ever so briefly, that today’s game was one of the more important games for the Matt Wells era, with Oklahoma, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Baylor all looming, getting to this 6th win seemed incredibly important. It would mean improvement. It would mean bowl eligibility no matter what happened the rest of the season and that needed to be a marker for Wells to point to when it comes time to evaluate his season.
4. Res Ipsa Loquitur. That Latin phrase means “the thing speaks for itself”. There’s this legal idea that the accident could not have occurred without negligence. There’s a lot more to it than that, but the point here is that the Texas Tech football program, at this point, speaks for itself. I think at some point last year, you could make an argument that a coach needs 3 or 4 years to show what he’s going to turn the program into, but when you see coaches with programs that have turned things around more quickly there’s less of an argument to say that Wells hasn’t had enough time. We can gesture at the last 3 or so years and simply say note that it’s all there for your review. We’re sort of that point where we can just look at the record, only 13 wins in the past 2.5 years and that’s just not enough.
5. An Opportunity. I’ve really hesitated to come out and say that Wells needs to be gone. The longer I’ve done this the more I’ve realized how I unproductive that actually is. It doesn’t solve anything by me typing those words and I think that on some level it sort of causes folks to argue as to whether or not a coach should or should not be dismissed. I’m not so full of myself to get that my words can avoid those conversations, but I think that they do to a point.
What yesterday represented was an opportunity, an opportunity to make a decision. I don’t know that Kirby Hocutt really needed that, but any athletic director or general manager sort of needs for their coach to fail enough to warrant termination. That’s just sort of reality. The past two years have given sufficient opportunity I think and yesterday’s loss to Kansas State opens that door that much more.
6. Not Enough. Head coach Matt Wells:
You open the 3rd quarter with a stop on defense, then that punt gets all the way down inside the five there tight. You can’t give up a safety, you’ve got to get the ball out, get two first downs, you’ve got to flip the field. We gave up a safety, then a touchdown, on back-to-back drives. We went cold on offense. Any score on offense on the second half wins the game. The thing that hurt us as the game went on was some untimely penalties. We haven’t had that around here and that’s unfortunate. We had a couple holding calls, then a hands to the face call on third and forever. That’s not like us, that’s giving them a chance for the game winning touchdown, it’s unfortunate. I’m proud of those players, they busted their butt, they’re spilling their guts. Hard fought game, it went down to the wire, but we didn’t make enough plays in the second half.”
7. Who’s In Charge? I don’t have any answers. The one thing that I used to think was that me, on this platform, had some sort of sway regarding these decisions. I don’t. You don’t either. Well, not unless you have a lot of money. There’s the thought that the Double Eagle guys have a lot of influence, and they probably do.
Given what happened earlier this month by making the biggest donation in Texas Tech athletic department history, I’d think that Dusty Womble has a pretty big seat at the table. I think there are certainly more vocal influencers, but Womble sort of asserted himself into a position to be at the head of the table. I don’t think that anyone has a right to be demanding more so than Womble. And his gift was probably curious to a lot of people, but the truth of the matter is that he probably just loves Texas Tech, well, that and for someone like Womble who likely has a taxable estate, there’s absolutely no tax reason (I’m not a tax expert, just know enough to be dangerous, but the estate tax and the gift tax are the same, so might as well pay the tax now) to keep those funds for when you are dead, but giving them during your lifetime has a bigger impact and you actually get to see the fruits of your gifts. I also wonder if Womble, was in a way, asserting himself to an extent, not that he necessarily needs to do so, but because he can. The more vocal contingent have been vocal, but they haven’t done what Womble have done.
8. The Window Is Open. Right now, the window is still open for this coaching staff and this team to surprise us. There’s four games remaining and maybe the the most unlikely of all upsets is simply waiting to surprise us all. But I think that at this point, Hocutt knows that this was not a good hire for Texas Tech. This experiment simply isn’t working out and Hocutt has had some great hires, Tim Tadlock and Chris Beard, and then he’s had some stinkers too, like Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Wells. I know there are others, but I don’t think I need to make this point any further. We all have our wins and whiffs in life. In hiring Wells, Kirby strongly took the wheel and I don’t think that will happen again. Womble has a seat as will the Double-Eagle guys and probably others that we simply don’t know.
9. My Top Three. I’ll let you all debate the merits of this, but my top three, as endorsed by our very own Kyle Jacobson: Sonny Dykes; Jeff Traylor; and Joey McGuire. Those are in no particular order, but I’d be willing to bet that with any one of those hires, you’d be hitting a home run. There are other candidates out there and I’ve maybe put an hour of thought into it, but Dykes and Traylor have built outstanding programs very quickly and McGuire has maybe been the driving force behind Baylor’s two coaching successes.
10. Leaving It Better Than I Found It. I’ve had this goal to sort of leave the blogging community when the football program is in a better place. Not that I have anything to do with the product on the field, but it’s just been one of those things where ideally, I want to walk away when there’s a bit of happiness and hope within the program. Seems silly and seems like I could have this hope in one hand and something else in the other and well, you know how that saying goes. I do think a coaching change will happen this offseason. My hope is that it’s one of those three or some other qualified candidate. I’m ready for a fresh start.