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Red Raiders hope to provide better show this year for season-ticket holders

Austin Zouzalik and teammate Eric Ward made stops around the city to visit with season-ticket holders.

Posted: July 10, 2012 - 9:32pm  |  Updated: July 11, 2012 - 12:40am
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With a home schedule including Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia in 2012, Texas Tech will try to give fans a better performance than last season. The Red Raiders did not win a home conference game.
With a home schedule including Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia in 2012, Texas Tech will try to give fans a better performance than last season. The Red Raiders did not win a home conference game.
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Austin Zouzalik says there are times when, even as a Lubbock native, he forgets just how much of an impact the team he plays for has on his hometown. He forgets how many emotions are connected to how his team performs on the field each Saturday in the fall.

“Sometimes we lose sight of what Tech football means to this community,” the senior inside receiver said, “what it means to the people. You can kind of see it on their faces.”

Zouzalik and teammate Eric Ward got to see some of those faces Tuesday evening, when they made stops around the city to visit with season-ticket holders and plant signs in their yard, signaling the approach of a season now less than two months away.

The promotional tour was part of Tech’s efforts to meet a goal of 36,000 season tickets sold, according to Tech ticket sales manager Tommy Heppler.

So far, Heppler said, his department has sold 29,000 season tickets — not including 12,500 that are held for Tech students — for the 2012 campaign. The schedule includes marquee home games against Texas, Oklahoma and new Big 12 foe West Virginia.

Heppler said that number is about 2,800 units ahead of where Tech was in its sales efforts at the same time last year.

The numbers seem to indicate that anticipation of a turnaround is outweighing trepidation following a disappointing 5-7 finish a season ago.

“The only thing I can say,” Heppler said, “is that it’s a new season.”

Cory Needham, whose house was the first to be visited Tuesday, said that while blowout defeats like the ones Tech suffered to Iowa State and Oklahoma State were tough to watch, he never considered not renewing the season tickets he and his wife Kristin have had since 2006.

“Not at all,” he said. “I’m used to the ups and downs. ... I’m always excited. We just have so much fun at the games.”

Zouzalik said the Red Raiders aren’t taking similar enthusiasm from other fans — or the promising ticket-sales figures — for granted. The team, he said, believes it owes fans more after a home schedule in 2011 that featured only two victories, none of which came during Big 12 Conference play.

“The coaches are always (reminding us) we played terrible at home,” Zouzalik said. “These fans deserve to see better during home games. It’s nice to see people still buying season tickets. They said we’re a little bit ahead of where we were last year at this point. It’s nice to come out here and see people who aren’t fair-weather fans. These people are committed.”

Ward, Tech’s leading receiver last season with 84 catches for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns, said the Red Raiders have applied similar commitment to summer workouts, and the team is anxious to report to fall camp on Aug. 5.

When the Sept. 1 kickoff rolls around, Ward believes the fans will be in for a far different experience than 2011 offered.

“This year, our main objective,” he said, “is to protect the Jones and give our fans what they want.”

To comment on this story:

nick.kosmider@lubbockonline.com
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3
3

Promises promises

I'll beleive it when I see it.

5
3

new season

The best & most enthusiastic quote in the article is: "The only thing I can say is, it's a new season".

That's about all there is to say. The team will have to "say" the rest on the field each game. Nothing was shown last year that needs to continue. Something entirely different is needed.

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Ahhhh yes

A new season and new hopes. I do think, however, this team is going to surprise some people this year. I predict 8 years and a bowl game this year, but the below prediction is what I HOPE actually happens.

vs North Western st - W vs Tx State - W vs NM - W vs Iowa St - W vs OU - tough one going to call a L vs WVU - W vs TCU - W vs Kstate - W vs Tx - My heart says W but I think we might lose this one. - L vs KU - W vs Okstate - lost a good QB, a very close one but we pull off the W vs Baylor- Lost RG III, best WR, and RB - W

What do you guys predict?

EDIT NOTE: I might add I really like what Coach Brown said.

"I'm off vacation, I'm a positive guy, I feel refreshed," the usually reserved Brown said as his takeaway note at the end of the program. "Red Raider nation, let's get on the positive. We've got 20 out of 22 starters coming back, a great schedule and a returning quarterback. We've got a group of receivers that are very talented. Four returning O-linemen and we've got a great experienced defensive coordinator coming in.

"It's time to be positive. Let's get together."

http://www.texastech.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1383939

3
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Prediction

Win all 3 non-conf. Beat KU, split BU/ISU, maybe get one more. So 2-7 or 3-6 in conf. I see no way we avoid 3rd consecutive losing conf record. Leach had 1 in 10 years, his first year. Spike didn't have many, either. We're stuck in bottom half of B12-2 for the foreseeable future.

3
1

Add 2 top 25 teams to the mix

and it looks like a battle for the cellar of the B12. Lots of hope for a better season out there but too many off the field distractions and the reality of trying to gain momentum after two losing seasons.

3
3

Add 2 top 25 teams to the mix

and it looks like a battle for the cellar of the B12. Lots of hope for a better season out there but too many off the field distractions and the reality of trying to gain momentum after two losing seasons.

3
2

How To Win Seven Games

1. Continued improvement of Doege. He can play. 2. Return of a squad that enjoys good health. (Like 2000 to 2009.) 3. Dismissal of the defensive scheme (this has been done) that caused the team to look like a pack of rat terriers chasing a Humvee. 4. Beat the three sissies first. 5. THEN WIN SOME HOME GAMES. HOME GAMES. DID I SAY WIN HOME GAMES?

If the current season ticket sales report is correct, and certainly you must consider the source, then I say the greatest fans on the planet earth are Texas Tech football fans.

But this season is a pure emergency in Lubbock. Another year like the last and you could expect nuns to rightfully flee the convent. You all know the names of the people who are in the scalding hot seat--and only a few work in the athletics department.

3
2

The Tech AD

is in catastrophe mode. I don't believe for a second we have sold 29K season tickets unless UT and OU fans are buying them.

1
2

Hope

Man, I would love to see those guys put up 8 or 9 wins this season. Lord knows they have the weapons. Just wish I had the confidence in the coaching staff, but that will come with 8 or 9 wins this year. No excuses. But I think that would go a long way to bringing the fans and the Hancers back together, and, it would go a long way to righting the wrongs committed against the school, football program, and real fans, who are all about our kids being successful and not about supporting board room douchebaggery. Wreck Em!

4
1

If we lose to KU Tommy should be fired on the spot

vs North Western st - W vs Tx State - W vs NM - W vs Iowa St - W vs OU - tough one going to call a L vs WVU - W vs TCU - W vs Kstate - W vs Tx - My heart says W but I think we might lose this one. - L vs KU - W vs Okstate - lost a good QB, a very close one but we pull off the W vs Baylor- Lost RG III, best WR, and RB - W

So your saying we BEAT WVU and LOSE to KU???Dana Holgerson(spelling?) is going to take great pleasure in running it up against the school that canned his mentor. We have not and should not EVER lose to KU (ok maybe we lost once in 2001 after Kliff went out with an injury). It is a basketball school and Tech should be able to beat them anytime anywhere. But after Tommy found a way to lose to Baylor for the first time in twenty years he can probably find a way to lose to KU!

0
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CRPRaider

no you read the L for Tx....it says vs KU - W

2
0

Here's how I think it'll pan

Here's how I think it'll pan out: NWS-W Tx State-W NM-W ISU-W OU-L WVU-L TCU-L KSU-W UT-L KU-W OSU-L BU-L* (flip a coin on this one, pretty evenly matched)

Overall: 6-6 or 7-5

4
1

Iowa State

Winning in Ames would be a surprise. Just not sure why folks believe that's a W against Iowa State. Our offensive players were not entirely devastated with injuries when they put up 6 points against a Cyclone team that was very young when visiting Lubbock. The 3 warm up games are jokes, so going to Ames will be a big road test and a first game for all practical purposes.

Kansas and maybe Baylor, but beating purple teams on the road or the other powers of the conference is a stretch. A fluke win is possible.

Regardless though, a bowl saves the staff? A Ticket City Bowl or worse saves the staff? We might as well wear our 1980's and early 90's throw backs if we are going to be happy with those hopes and dreams.

It will be moot though. All the wrong coaches will lose their jobs, but not Tubs. And the same people who still will not admit that firing and not paying Leach at all will be the same people defending the Admin and Tubs in their Fox News-blind-to-facts false loyalty to the $$$$ Hance sucks in to make Tech really RED Raiders, politicizing a University with a corporate approach where matters are decided by a select few and sheeple are fooled by pretty exteriors and PR spin about a misleading Tier 1 status.

2
5

Ticket sales

5-7 and ticket sales are ahead of schedule....,,take that you fair weather leachers. If you don't want to jump on board enjoy your time as a cougar fan.

I wonder of Leach will get the same scrutiny when his team goes 3-9 this year.

4
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B8J9HO

Considering Leach is taking over a team that went 9-40 under the previous WSU HC instead of taking over a team that went 29-10 from 2007-2009, I doubt it. Coug fans would be thrilled with a 6-6/7-5 type season. Tech fans are pissed because we are being told that 8-5 and 5-7 are growing pains under this joke of a HC.

Before we crow about season tickets, lets make sure those are filled with Red Raider and not Longhorns and Sooners.

3
2

B8JBO9

I can think of a few, very few who should be on their knees praying for an 8-4 season in Lubbock and a 3-9 season in Pullman. Those few already look like morons for what they have defended and what they apparently stand for. By the way. I hope we get at least 8-4 in Lubbock. For those of you whos only possible retort is to call me a team leacher.

2
0

a walk on hopeful

ive decided to walk-on to the texas tech football program this coming fall. ive made strides in talking to the coaches and ect..

heres a link to my highlight tape.. hope you guys take a look and tell me what you think! ( good and bad feedback welcomed)

http://www.hudl.com/athlete/462612/highlights/12495373 corner back position

5
1

Wow

People here attacking Leach when we're talking about doing something about this disaster. The only way for Tech to get back going is to win conference games at home. Since that's not going to happen the only thing to look forward to is another gala testimonial dinner thrown by Bill Dean honoring Hance, Scovell, White, Sowell, Anders, Anders, and Grigg. Oh, well.

3
1

"Provide A Better Show......."

I honestly think the one way to provide a better show is to put in a dunking booth right under the "I Love Larry Anders" sign that was erected by Larry Anders at the southwest entry of the stadium. The booth, of course, would have Anders as a target. At halftime, move the dunking booth to the 50-yard-line and put up Hance, Scovell, and White. Charge $100 a throw and you'll suddenly have the richest program in the NCAA. And I've got more ideas...

0
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@B8J and Whatever Else

Is everything all right?

2
1

Coaching Staff

The Tech players are not the problem and have the collective talent, with good coaching, to have a GOOD season (i.e. 8 wins).

The problem is the coaching staff. If the coaching staff is some how able to step up to the plate and just does a DECENT job coaching, Tech might go 6-6. However, I fear it may be worse...

I pray I am wrong.

1
2

8 wins is a good season!

You guys are talking about 8 wins being terrible. Mike Leach only won 8 or more games, not counting the bowl games, only 4 out of 10 seasons and all the Leach supporters claim he was so great (3 of those 4 seasons came in the last three years of his tenure). He went 6-4 in his bowl games and went 7-9 in the Big XII over his first two years. I'm not saying that the first two seasons have been great so far, but to win 8 games would be a good to great season. Leach only won 8 games once in his first five seasons, not counting the bowl games. It did take Leach several years to put in place what he wanted with the personnel his wanted. Everyone seems to forget the first few seasons under Leach, mainly because of the 2008 season. It was a great season that lost some of it's luster because of how we lost to OU and the Cotton Bowl loss. I think this will be an 8 win season and I would even propose a 9 win season, not counting the bowl game. We are all speculating anyway, whether you are optimistic or a not. We won't really know anything until the season starts and ultimately ends. I am excited about the season and I always hope for the best no matter the coach. Go Tech!

2
1

I have a feeling

that tubby will go 6-6/ 7-5 at best this season. I only hope Kirby is allowed to go out and find a Dana, Kliff, Sonny etc and I hope the new coach kicks the idiots ruining the radio booth to the curb. John and Brian do a great job but they need help. Steve thinks his position is safe as long as hance is in control and that needs to change. Chris and Aaron need a wake up call. They forget that they are in the minority.

RP and RRS need to be run by fans who care more about the University than a person. It's sad that Chris and Steve have to limit free speech in order to protect their boss from legit complaints from Tech alumni and fans.

1
1

I have a feeling

DP

0
1

@Al in Alabama

A man with reason....finally someone that knows football and doesn't just belly ache.

1
1

@al in alabama @ atxraider

i think they didnt see the fact that 29,000 season tickets have been sold and Neal Brown said that its time to unite. Al u made alot of sense with your comments & its great to read a comment like from someone who doesnt speak bad about the program. Again i predict 8-9 wins. 4-0 to start the season. We lose to OU and we beat WVU (5-1). We beat TCU & Kst and lose to UT ( its gonna b close but we end up falling short 7-2). We beat Kansas (8-2) & we can beat OKst and Baylor (10-2). We have the potential and almost everybodys on board so when you see negative comment just ignore them.

2
0

Neal Brown Is Lacking

The statistcs tell it all:

2011: #6 Total Offense in Big 12; 4,077 yards

2010: #4 Total Offense in Big 12; 5,983 yards

2009: #1 Total Offense in Big 12; 3,565 yards

2008: #2 Total Offense in Big 12; 4,143 yards

Tubberville hired a boy to do a man's job. Who couldn't lead the offensive production at Troy State. Please!!!! I love the Red Raiders but believe Neal Brown will be the demise of Tubberille at Tech!! Brown's "Nascar Offense" looks more like a "Go Cart Offense".

1
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Look

Atx found a little buddy. "Finally".

0
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@cowboysraidersrock

arent those stats similar?

1
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@ Runnin

I think the important stat he was pointing out is the ranking on the left. If they had 10,000 yards and were 10th in conference, it wouldnt matter much.

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