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Williams: Year three critical for Tuberville

The last half of Texas Tech's football season was disastrous, leaving Tuberville and the returning Red Raiders with a lot to prove in year three of the new program.

Posted: November 28, 2011 - 12:28am  |  Updated: November 28, 2011 - 1:06am
Don Williams Column
Don Williams Column
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ARLINGTON — The Texas Tech Red Raiders now have theirs — stretch of embarrassing play, crisis period, crossroads, pick your description.

During the Big 12 era, Tech fans got to revel in the miseries of neighborhood rivals Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma State, even Texas and Oklahoma — all since the Red Raiders last endured a sustained period of really bad football.

No two ways around it, Tech played some incredibly bad football over the past month, crashing to final records of 5-7 and 2-7 in the Big 12. Five straight losses since late October — two in which the Red Raiders allowed more points than ever — have plunged the program into an offseason full of questions and doubt.

The question is how to get back on track before this time next year. The essential nature of that task can’t be understated. Unlike the aforementioned heavyweights such as UT and OU, who can fall back on greater resources, the climb back from a sub-.500 season will always be a riskier proposition for the Red Raiders.

Tommy Tuberville’s year three in Lubbock has to show a major improvement over the disastrous second half of the 2011 season. The Red Raiders will return nearly all their key players, and at an important time in the cycle relative to the personnel of other Big 12 teams. Rivals such as Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor will lose some all-America-caliber talent at the skill positions, and Tech has to be ready to take advantage of that pendulum swing.

Few of the Red Raiders’ seniors filled major roles. More than how to replace the seniors,

Tech’s bigger worries center on whether running backs Eric Stephens and DeAndre Washington make successful comebacks from knee injuries — and how soon.

That, and what can be done with a defense that gave up a school-record 471 points.

First-year defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow took responsibility for the mess.

How does he fix it?

“It’s the same thing I told our kids in the locker room as soon as we finished playing,” he said. “I appreciate the heck out of what the seniors have done for this group and what they’ve meant to this group. But we as a football team have got to go start getting better, and it starts Monday whenever we get back and throughout the offseason. We’ve got to go get bigger, stronger and faster and go become the toughest football team in the country.”

Glasgow’s task this season wasn’t easy, considering he took over a struggling defense, put in a new system and was teaching everyone involved. Not only was he teaching his players the 4-2-5, but — since he came in solo — his defensive assistants didn’t have 4-2-5 backgrounds.

That being the case, it’d be unfair for him not to get a year two to see what he can do. And Tuberville will have a year three.

Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, after the Raiders’ 66-6 loss to Oklahoma State and again after a 66-42 loss Saturday to Baylor, said he’s not inclined to make major shakeups.

Next year, though, all involved have to expect better results.

Mike Leach’s Tech program turned the corner in year three. In 2000 and 2001, the “Air Raid” had hardly earned its nickname. In 2002, Kliff Kingsbury threw for 5,000 yards, the team won nine games, and the Raiders’ fortunes took off.

Art Briles’ third year at Baylor was when he ended the Bears’ 15-year bowl drought.

Oklahoma State went from fifth in the Big 12 South and a tie for fifth in Mike Gundy’s first two years to a tie for third in year three, setting the stage for four years in a row with at least nine wins.

Though the encore season was a letdown, Mike Sherman’s year three at Texas A&M was when the Aggies won six straight conference games to end the regular season and share a division title.

As the Red Raiders left the field Saturday night, such scenarios of a big step forward in 2012 might have seemed farfetched. But they can’t afford not to make a major improvement in Tuberville’s third year their reality.

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Don't compare apples with oranges

Don't compare what Leach took over with what he handed Tuberville. Leach took over a train wreck. Tuberville just got onto a smooth running train and rain it off the tracks.

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RE: apple with oranges

Greenackors, I would not call the mediocrity that was Tech football from 2000 through 2009 a smooth running train. Tuberville has to implement his ideas and schemes, in the hopes of making this team something more than a perennial "bowl eligible" team.

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fishnbait, you call the

fishnbait, you call the winningest teams the Red Raiders have ever had 'mediocrity'? Man, that must be some great Kool-Aid. One thing is for sure, Tubby has made us something different than mediocre. He had made us the new Baylor.

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fishnbait - WRONG

fishnbait - I wonder how many people the university pays to stay on top of the comment sections of sites that write pieces on Texas Tech football and make pro Tuberville comments. fishnbait - you're comment is so ignorant it reeks of Hance Koolaid. 2000 - 2009 was the winningest time in the HISTORY of Texas Tech football ... and 10 straight bowl games. And to those who would whine about what the bowl games were I say - WHAT BOWL GAME IS TUBERVILLE TAKING US TO THIS YEAR???? Teams that lose 5 in a row and 7 out of 8 games don't get to go to bowls. Coaches that produce finishes like that get FIRED. And this year they have been pretty much down to the man ... Gill at KU, Erickson at ASU, Callaway at UAB, Houston Nutt at Ole Miss, Zook at Illinois, Porter at Memphis, Mike Stoops at Arizona ... but we've already had Hance parading Hocutt out to announce that "of course Tubs is coming back next season" ... FMLFMLFMLFMLFML

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What Would It Take?

We may assume that those in power at Texas Tech, with the possible exception of Hance himself, are not indifferent to the unrest among fans and would like to win back people's support and rekindle their enthusiasm. The question is what would it take to make this happen. Well several things, but, for a starter, how about some honesty and responsibility? It is time for Tuberville to make an honest and whine free admission that he took over a successful rather than a losing program, that he made serious mistakes in coaching and in hiring, that the program has nose dived, and that he is responsible and should be held accountable for fixing his mess. That would not be enough to square him fully with the fans, but it would be a start. It would make him a appear to be his own man, rather than Hance's whining boy - making excuses, blaming everyone but himself, and toeing to the party line. It is also quite unlikely to happen.

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year three BSPN

Goodness, couldn't you give us a week or two before you crafted your spin? We need a "lot" of recruits says Tubs, so call him on this BS. He did not start from scratch, he took a really salty team from 2009 and underachieved big time. Missouri win had more to do with Missouri completely deflating with exhaustion after running for two easy TDs early in 2010. For most of the season though, a good team underachieved. That trajectory downward continued this year and it was record breakingly embarrassing. Those were NOT the years 1 and 2 of the examples cited. That is, you are feeding readers more and more Hance crap. You should be ashamed! Just say Tubs is getting a year 3 or more, no need to make a lying and deceitful argument that the past two seasons, after the previous ten, are like the other schools, much less like Leach. How can you sell out so often and so consistently, it is sickening.

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Like Year two wasn't "critical"?

Top coaches in the Big 12, like Stoops and Brown took over losing programs and had them winning big by year 2. Tuberville took over a team with one of the longest bowl elligible records in the nation and set all kinds of negative records.

I'd say this article is year too late. fAnd Tubby seems to be going the wrong direction. Why not talk about that, instead of acting like year three is the plan for a good coach? The good ones are already well on their way to improving the program, not giving up 2 worst ever point totals.

Excusism doesn't help the program.

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Don Is Trying, But ...

Don Williams is doing his best to put lipstick on this particularly unappealing porker, but the attempt to equate the present mess with Leach's first two years comes up short when the facts are reviewed, even if one ignores the fact that Tuberville took over a program that was far more successful than the one Leach inherited. In Leach's first two years, TTU's conference record was 7-9, not very good but far better than Tuberville's 5-12. Also Texas Tech did manage to deliver winning seasons and bowl appearances in both 2000 and 2001, though they won neither bowl game. Even more to the point, the record in the second year was better than in the first (not much better but better) while Tuberville in his second year delivered a season that was not only worse than his first but the worst at TTU in over 25 years.

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Seriously?

Am I disappointed with this season? Yes. There are no two ways to say that.

I can make all the excuses that we have had before (unprecedented youth and injuries, new defense coordinator that did not bring in a staff, player suspensions, redshirting young talent, and a couple of more perfectly valid reasons that I have hope coming), but I won't because you all ignore that anyway and say Tubbs is the problem.

Our first two losses, K-State and TAMU, fall directly on the players' faults. Abysmal timing on turnovers, missing field goal blocking assignments on special teams, and careless mistakes on defense were the reasons we lost those two games, coaching had nothing to do with that.

Iowa State, we were flat and high on our rating and press junkets. The coaches should have worked harder to ground the players, that's for sure. But we saw a QB in his first start and nobody could have expected him to be as on point as he was. That team also beat the number 2 team at the nation at the time.

Oklahoma State was embarassing, but quite frankly the offense did not show up against the best team that the Pokes have ever put together. Say what you like about motivation or whatever else, but they were the better team and showed it. Texas, pretty much the same thing goes. Tech had never seen a power formation run like that and, quite frankly, we sucked that day. We were overpowered and got rolled.

Missouri was a good game, say what you like but we led for 57 minutes and had the ball in Seth's hand in the Red Zone to win the game.

Baylor was a close game until late, they exposed our thin secondary and linebackers a bit early. They ran the ball well on us, but that is something that you have to expect with a good feature back and Heisman candidate running quarter back.

Which part of this is poor coaching? Tubbs had the ball in Seth's hand to put together a game-winning drive 4 times this year. he only did it once. I don't blame Seth, despite his age, he is still young. But all of you people acting like Tubberville single-handedly scrapped this season are just terribly off your rockers and, I fear, are simply Team Leachers who are just fair weather fans.

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Mess

Although i am not a huge fan of Tuberville, he is not completely to blame for this fiasco. We wouldn't be in this mess if not for Texas Tech's corrupt administration and Kent Hance. so, blame should fall on Kent Hance and the ones who lied and conspired for almost a year to boot out our winning coach..

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66to 6

We lost two games by the combined score of 132 to 48,66 points scored were the largest ever scored in Techs 85 year history. We are not bowl egible for the first time since 1992, thats 2 decades. Baylor beat us for the first time in 15 years, and thats ot counting the record home losses. Last year we made the you tube funnys with over a million hits on the onside kick fiasco. WE lost 2 games essentially that year because of special teams and had 3 field goals blocked because of special teams that led to 2 losses,and who coachs special teams. The 42 to 7 loss to Iowa St. was supposedly the game to get over the hump, and a freshan quaterback beats us. in front of a home crowd, then The greatest defeat in Techs history 66 to 6, in front of the a home crowd, on national Tv and Tubs statement after the game, one point or 50,embarrasing losses in Jones Stadium, not one but two, and Hocutt has the gall to say, I hope the fans come back, I understand what Tech football means to this area, NO, YOU DONT, HOCUTT!! You dont care and neither does the local media or The BOR, or Hance or any one connected in making sure this dismal failure of a coach and his incompetent inexperinced staff. are here one more minute. WE all know this was going to happen,you could set a clock to the insanity of this whole stinking mess and know without a doubt that Hance calls the shots, and he or his BOR cronys and the spineless, gutless, president BAILEY ARE NOT GOING TO ADMIT THEY MADE A HUGE MISTAKE IN HIRING THIS DUD OF A COACH AND FIRING LEACH. The fans are not going to go see a team that loses by huge margins and a incompetrent coach, good luck in recruting anybody , after those horrendous displays in the jones.

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What a wonderful world

Leach is gone, so get over it. Thatentire episode was the first time in over 50 years I was embarrased to be a Tech grad. Tubbervile is now our coach and I had great expectations. What have we gotten ? We went from number 4 in the nation to 15th in total offense for the past two years. Where I was sold was the expertise he and his staff brought in on defense. Soooo we went from number 49 in the nation (out of 120 teams) to number 114 in 2010 and to 115 in 2011 the last time I looked. Makes Ruffin and company look like defensive masterminds. Yes, we need better defensive players, so do all the other 119 teams. Some coaches are able to win by coaching.

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Leach

I know without a doubt that Leach is not coming back.I graduated from Tech in 72,Ive been a fan since the days of Dewitt Weaver. The reason I used Leach is because if they fired Tubs it would be admitting they made a mistake in firing Leach. As long as these dismal exhibitions , and I too am Embarrased, 66 points scored abound among the other coaching disasters , then you are going to see comparisons between these two coachs. I really thought that Tubs could bring a balanced attack with the AIR Raid OFFENSE.and having Brown familiar with it and a better defense, boy, was I wrong. I understand there has been a lot of injurys and inexperinced young players.I saw for the first time that Tech could play with anybody in the Oklahoma game,and I still feel like Doege is as good as any quaterback in the nation when he has time and Brown opens up the playbook. But I dont understand losing by such wide margins and the I dont care attitude of a head coach, case in point, one point or 50, and his continually degrading these players because his staff and he, Tubs cant adjust or coach these play ers up. In other words IM POED. I believe on pride , and performance, if I coached a team and had a attitude like this coach does, I would be ashamed and hand in my resignation, period. Those pitiful games in front of a home crowd are going to hurt recruting, its bad enough to recruit here historically as it is here in Lubbock.,now your going to have a even tougher time. Bringing ina new coach, well , at least he will get a fresh start and wont have to climb a hill in recruting and those recruits wont be reminded of 66to 6 and all the other coaching blunders.but it wont happen, because Hance calls the shots,anyone familiar with what has hapened in the last 2 years knows that.

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Leach's return

Coming to a stadium near you; KU's football team with Leach walking the east sideline. Lordy, I hope not...........

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Josh, Don't Step in it

The DQL's are crying themselves a river and nothing you say will convince themselves otherwise.

I'll be glad when they all go home. They probably won't, though. They really just want everyone else to be as miserable as they are.

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spin machines

The Lubb AJ, local sports radio and the local news stations....they all protect the current head coach. Don't believe me, read all the articles the AJ prints about the tech football team, there are always subtleties knocking the former coach to excuse the current coach.... call the local sports radio and complain about the coaching and you'll see what I mean...the local news stations should have made investigative reporting about the shady firing of the former head coach but choose to ignore it. They spin it every chance they get. The cupboard empty and injury theory is all spin...the former coach was in it for the long haul and never had a season this bad, not even close. ....It won't be hard to improve on this yr even if it's by one win, and so next yr the spin to keep him will be the improvement made...I believe unless he jumps ship on his own, he will be secure here....Just some food for thought here

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Takes time to build a champion

it took Coach Leach 2-3 yrs to get going...and after 10 yrs, how many conference championships we had? 0. It took the Baylor and OSU coaches 3+ years as well. Coach TT is trying to do build a championship-caliber team with someone elses recruits. Leach recruited slow, undersized defenders and Tubberville is now stuck with them. If you think Coach TT is not qualified for the job, how do you explain his 13-0 2004 season at Auburn?? (against LSU, Bamma, Florida, AR, etc). He brought in a top 20 class last year and he's putting together another solid class this year... give him time for pete sake! the game against OU was no fluke, the amount of injuries after that game however was a season killer. Show some support in the bad times as well as the good times.

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@AirForceRaider

+1

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Neuheisel

UCLA just fired their coach Neuheisel. He was a decent coach but not liked by the alumni. He is 6-6 for the year and is playing Oregon for the PAC 12 championship. Oops, his successor is playing Oregon for the PAC 12 championship. 6-6 is better than 5-7. Maybe Tuberville could go to Maryland and coach them since they fired their coach.

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Hance apologists

The commenters that get on here and question the loyalty of the fans who are still livid at Hance and the group he brought in are probably the dumbest bunch of sports fans in the country. They argue that those critical of our past two seasons or who are still angry at Hance are somehow "fair weather fans". Most of those I have met that are most angriest are the ones who have been Tech fans for the longest of time periods because they, when the seasons were mediocre or worse, have remained fans for decades. Such fans know what was taken by a political appointee who is simply inept at his position and brought more ineptitude in the form of a yuk yuk good ole boy who speaks his Fox News Obama birther build a chapel language. Hance is an idiot with sports and his apologists on here are too. Loyalty requires, sometimes, going against the establishment to right a wrong or stand up to a wrong, it has nothing to do with abandoning the team in the down times. For long term interests of our school and those players that will come through, we owe it to Texas Tech to make sure Hance and those like him take a hike ASAP. And the local sports media can join them!!!

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James Gang

The James Gang along with the Board of Regents, Hance, AD have driven this program into obscurity. The James gang will be gone along with old AD but the damage is done and is probably never going to be fixed. The James gang add another program to their list of destruction. How long has it been since Texas Tech has failed to win a home conference game, or lose 5 straight or finish dead last in rushing defense in the nation? I guess Kirby is going to give Tommy another year to break a few more records here at Tech. Thank God for Kansas. What happened to their coach? I can understand giving a coach time to improve a losing program, but how long do you give a coach that takes over a winning program to completely kill it?

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Fishnbait

Hey Stinkbait....Hance....ESPN....James Gang. Tom's success at Auburn does not make you a success in Lubbock. Hance, your master plan stinks and take your fishnbait with you. espn a network that hates Lubbock and is glad they may not broadcast anymore Tech games. espn needs to go broke paying pukes like Craig James. Cats in the cradle.....and your boy grew up like you!

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HANCE IS AN IDIOT

Kent Hance is trying to undo everything John Montford did for our proud University. It is time for him to leave.

Thank goodness I have grad degrees from A&M, U.T, and Columbia. Now I don't have to claim Tech until Hance is gone.

MANHATTAN RAIDER

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Change

If Tuber and friends lay another egg next year will Don Williams and the other Hance buddies call for a change?

Or will they ask for more time?

Just how many years will it take?

What is your time table Don?

Please let us know.

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@Don Williams

Why don't you put your money where your mouth is since you want to giver Tuber another year and commit to quitting at the AJ if Tech does not win 8 regular season games next year. Since you want to saddle us with this jerk for another year, why don't you put your money behind your comments.

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Straight Talk - No Emotion

Offense: Very good quarterback considering his lack of experience.

Probably one of the best receiver groups we have had.

A very thin offensive line that was experienced. Why did Tubs not play more freshman? In the end they were overwhelmed.

Running back started out as a strength, but turned out to be a liability. Injuries and a suspension killed our depth.

Defense: Was ineffective from top to bottom. All areas should be rated as failing.

Defensive line was completely manhandled by most B12 teams. No pass rush. Unable to get penetration and keep opposing lineman off the linebackers.

Linebacking was ineffective. Not physical, poor tackling and unable to take correct pursuit angles to stop the run. They never seemed to improve.

Secondary was slow but they were more effective in 2010 than this year. What changed? Moving Douglas to CB was an improvement, but why so long to make the change. Only one player demonstrated BCS skill levels.

Tubs admits that he held a lot of players back that will be potentially, better players, but for what reason. The crew he had assembled on the field was inept, so why not give the new guys game experience. If we give up 72 points, so what.

Special teams-- Carona did a very good job this year. Who's next. McRoy is a threat to go all the way on kick-off teams.

Looking forward what should we expect. Another year of more of the same? Lots of capability and experience on the offensive side of the ball and just the opposite on the defensive side. The defensive class that red-shirted will have to be the best defensive class ever to make much of a difference. Afterall, they were held back to get a years worth of seasoning and gain strength which they supposedly needed. How much of an impact can they make.

So at the end of next year, where will we be? Will we be a 500 team, with an inexperienced QB, and inexpereinced receivers? Probably a good O-line, and some skills at running back. The defense is anybody's guess. Without significant improvement it looks like we are destined for another mediocre year in 2013. Would you keep Tubbs around if this scenarion persists?

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This is not about Leach

This is about a coaching staff with no cohesiveness or structure trying to compete at a high level. The results are horrible. Tubberville does not coach so he is not completly responsible. Glascow and Brown have very little DC and OC experience and it shows. There is no championship team being built only scrambling around for patches to prevent the ship from sinking. Tubs knows 6-6 or less next yr will sink him.

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Ridiculing Tech Fans

I have been been a Tech fan since the 1960's. When I was a child I used to listen to Tech football on the radio. It was so upsetting when TCU beat them down in Ft, Worth to knock them out the Cotton Bowl, again when Ed Hargett had a QB scramble to score at the end of the game and A&M beat Tech and went on to the Cotton Bowl. Every game I have attended, watched on TV, or listened to on the radio was special. Mike Leach brought magic to Tech and they were more competitive than ever. He had a nationwide following. To have him terminated because some upper crust Alumni did not think he paid homage to them was a poke in the eye at all true Tech Fans. Then when they used a made up story by Adam James with Craig James’s influence, as a reason to fire him was the last straw. I cannot say much more as the damage is evident to the football program from the record this year. The cupboard was full when Tuberville took over. Coach Leach had players he could win with. All of this was thrown away by hiring a coach who admits if he does not have superior talent, he cannot win. Listen to all the excuses this year, we just are good enough. I never heard Coach Leach say that, he knew they could win and the attitude of Coach Leach’s teams was a huge part of their success. If you give up on your players why should they play for you? Don Williams and the all the Lubbock Media can defend the decisions all they want, but the Tech Fans know the TRUTH. Check out the book “Double T Double Cross” for the TRUTH..

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Takes Time to Build a Champion

I thought I read somewhere that Tubbs inherited the team at Auburn that went undefeated and at Auburn now, they are crying about the players he left when he quit.

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If your coach goes around telling everyone that you stink...

You always will. I just don't understand how anyone can tolerate the constant blame game Tuberville engages in.

Leach's problem? He chose to coach and teach instead of kissing booster rear-ends. The results: Tech's best years using recruits discarded by "better" programs, a national audience, uncertainty and wariness from top-ranked opponents instead of disdain and disrepect, a stellar graduation rate, multiple players successful in the NFL, and...canned by the good ole boys who could not tolerate a coach who refused to stroke their enormously swollen egos.

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