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Special teams gaffes add to misery for Texas Tech in rout

Posted: November 17, 2012 - 9:46pm  |  Updated: November 18, 2012 - 1:26am
Oklahoma State's Zack Craig blocks a punt attempt by Texas Tech's Ryan Erxleben during their game on Saturday in Stillwater.  Zach Long
Zach Long
Oklahoma State's Zack Craig blocks a punt attempt by Texas Tech's Ryan Erxleben during their game on Saturday in Stillwater.
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STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert was the Big 12 Conference special teams player of the week last week after returning a kickoff for a touchdown for the fifth time in his career.

Texas Tech dodged the Gilbert bullet Saturday, but couldn’t get out of Stillwater without positioning another OSU player to be special teams player of the week.

Backup safety Zack Craig blocked two punts, returning one for a touchdown to add to the Red Raiders’ embarrassment in a 59-21 blowout.

“You can’t be conservative, even in the kicking game,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “We spread out and tried to have coverage on the return guy. We never even thought they’d get close to our punt. One of our punt times was slow. The other one, we didn’t protect well enough.”

Tech was already down 21-7 and battling negative momentum in the second quarter when Craig swatted his first punt. That positioned OSU at the Tech 24-yard line, setting up the Cowboys’ third touchdown in less than five minutes.

Early in the fourth quarter, Craig blocked Ryan Erxleben again and ran it in 30 yards for a touchdown, making it 59-14.

“Going into the game, we had some block schemes set up,” Craig said, “and I knew if I ran down there and stuck my arm out, I was going to block it. You never know if you’re going to get it. When I did, I can’t explain it. It was nuts.”

The week after the Tech-TCU game, when the Red Raiders had to contend with dangerous Horned Frogs return man Skye Dawson, Erxleben said he was told to hold the ball a little longer to give coverage a chance to get downfield. The Red Raiders also had a fake punt in their pocket if the punt-return team peeled back.

Tuberville acknowledged as much, but said that wasn’t the case Saturday.

“That was more of a coverage thing, and a thing where we were possibly going to fake it,” Tuberville said of the earlier game. “Tonight, that didn’t happen. They executed. We didn’t.

“They did a good job of bringing pressure from the side we were punting the ball to. They brought it from the right, and we were going right. Our upback didn’t get over and at least get a hand on him where (Erxleben) could possibly get it off.”

The Red Raiders have now had four kicks blocked in the last four games. Before Saturday, Tech kicker Ryan Bustin had field goals blocked in the Oct. 27 loss at Kansas State and in the Nov. 3 loss to Texas.

Tuberville mentioned that tight end Jace Amaro was in on punt protection earlier in the year before he got hurt in the Oct. 13 West Virginia game.

“Ever since then, we hadn’t had anybody really rush us,” Tuberville said. “The second block, we were kicking what we call ‘sky right.’ They did a good job of bringing three to the side we were punting from, and our punt was pretty slow.

“But still you’ve got to have protection. It wasn’t the punter’s fault. Snaps were good. They did a good job bringing (pressure) when normally the other team doesn’t come.”

 

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Worst special teams .......

in the Big 12....... What's funny is that on one of Techs early punts of the game ( first quarter), # 23 for OSU, who blocked two punts later in the game had a free run to our punter and for whatever reason pulled up w/o blocking it. I couldn't believe he didn't get that one as my 8 year old could've blocked it. He would have had three and maybe an NCAA record......at Texas Techs expense....what a joke!

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wall st.

Tubs' real calling, a job on Wall St. as an investment analyst. Lying is respected there as just business, and he has so far proven that he can make excuses and blame others with the worst of his ilk.

At some point, the capacity for fellow birthers to buy the same BS, to purchase more snake oil from the salesman and accept embarrassment will be reached. Let's get rid of his arrogant non-Tech butt and bring in a real Red Raider, not some Hance/ESPN corporatist liar.

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lodotx

Sounds like you just described President Obama.

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Believe this?

In our last 13 conf games, we have lost 7 by at least 20 and 5 by at least 30 points!

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No winning argument

At some point, the "sunshine pumpers" will admit the obvious - TTU will never do better on the field than it did during ML's last 6 years. But even when that acknowledgement occurs (now, 3 years later, 5 years later ... or for me, immediately, when we fired ML), the SP's will deride ML's style, etc.

With ML, we were 3rd best program in conf. Now, we are ~8th best program team in conf and 5th best program in the state of TX (UT, TAMU, TCU, BAY).

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Yeah gunz

I can believe it. What I cant believe is that, no matter what the numbers are, Tubenstein will still be making excuses, blaming the wind, striking GAs, and lying about it next year, compliments of the maniacal nuclear dump chapel builder.

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@gunz

So what your saying is that it took Leach 5 years to get us in the top 3 in conference but Tubs needs to go after 3 years even though we are 7-4 this year and heading to a bowl. You may just get your wish. I have been saying since this summer that Tubs needed to win 8 games to keep his job. After the way Baylor played this weekend, it looks like an uphill game. I still say if we don't beat Baylor then it is time to make a change. If we beat Baylor then I say give him one more year. We don't need to give anyone else 10 years to produce mediocre results. Consistently finishing in third place is mediocre. If Tubs is fired at the end of the season, he at least has left the program in good shape as far as talent is concerned. If he can't win 8 games with this team then lets find someone that can.

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@ nashville raider

If being the 3rd best team in a 12 team conference, in which the top two teams in the conference won more games than any other AQ school (2000-09 OU & Texas 110 wins each, Boise State 112) is mediocre, you sir are an idiot. If you think a coach who takes over a program that finished in the Top 25 five of the 6 years before he arrived should have 5 years get it back there after torching it, you are not only an idiot, but have some underlying fascination with the current coach or the incompetent administration that put this disaster in motion in December 2009. Your blind loyalty to the poor leadership at Texas Tech does not make you a good or desirable alum or fan and quite frankly, your constant disparaging of Tech's most successful football coach/teams in history only adds to the deep divide that exist within the alumni/fan base.

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@westtexart

You are just another whining Democrat cry baby. The only idiots on this site are you and all the other dems that continue to cry over your drunk pirate that is about to get canned at WSU because of his inability to coach. He took a team that won 4 games last year and has won 2 this year with no conference wins. If you think spending 10 years without ever winning a conference championship is anything but mediocre then maybe you my friend are the idiot. How is all that WSU gear working out for you?

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Keep Making Things Up Nash

So I'm a Democrat. Interesting since I'm a Precinct Chairman for the Republican Party in my county. Washington State? Could care less and I think Mike Leach is handling that situation poorly. So you see Nash, you constantly shoot off your mouth making things up. There's something that fuels your venom. But unlike you, I'm not going to make something up about you. And don't call me your friend. I'm not. Wouldn't mind finding some common ground to become your friend though. After all, we are both Red Raider fans. Texas Tech '75 here. Wife graduated from there, too. I'm guessing you're about 30, give or take a couple, maybe younger. (Old guys like me don't get into name calling like the younger contributors do on these comment threads...different generation. Well, I did call you an idiot, maybe I should have said your post are idiotic). If I'm right, while you may know the previous Tech football history from reading about it; in your view from the stands, Tech was always a regular Top 25 team and you couldn't see why we hadn't already become another Alabama or Oklahoma. A mediocre program, even though a Top 25 finish is better than 80% of the teams participating in the top level of college football and we were in the top 25% of our conference. If your child finishes in the top 25% of their high school graduating class, will you tell them they are only mediocre? Well, balls in your court. This thread is pretty much left to you and me now.

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westtexart

I'm sorry if we can't agree on what is mediocre, but I live in the heart of SEC country where no coach we be allowed to stay for 10 years with Leach's results. This is my point of reference. It seems like to me that most Tech fans pine for the past which makes no sense to me. It is time to move out of this mind set and try to build a sucessful program for once. If Tubs can't get it done, then let's find someone that can. So far, Tubs has given us the same results that Leach did. This is not good enough. It may just be time to move on. That's the way I see it. By the way, I matriculated at Tech the same time you did. It sounds like you and I are on the same page when it comes to Obama. So there you have.

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Good to Hear Back From You

...Nashville Raider. We will, indeed have to disagree on how to best describe the results of Texas Tech football from 2000-09. Or, going back 10 years to compare Tuberville's results instead of comparng them with the program he inherited. We probably also disagree on where this program would be today if Leach were still the head coach. And, we disagree on this poiont...there are several schools in the SEC that have never had a run like Tech's 10 years under Leach and would have loved to traded places with us. On to what we probably agree on. The real sad commentary on all of this is the deeply fractured alumni and fan base we have at Texas Tech today as a result of the Mike Leach firing. Three years ago, who would have ever thought we would be sniping at each other this way? Disparaging the most successful coach in the school's history? Making personal attacks against the active head coach and his family? Having basically our entire athletic program in the bottom fourth of the conference? Not the Texas Tech I once knew. We can't all be football dynasties. Somebody has to lose the games, too. Leach's teams had a certain chrisma that put us in the national spotlight as well as being competitive. As a season ticket holder during most of those years, I can attest that Tech fans had unbridled enthusiasm and a swagger that I had never seen before and fear I may never see again. Oh, well. So now, my friend, what can we do about the mess in Washington, D.C.?

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@westtexart

Is impeachment out of the question? Maybe Texas will lead the way and exercise their option to leave the union. If you do, I will move back.

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Secession

I heard some interesting comments on ESPN radio in Dallas regarding Texas seceding from the US and how it could affect trying to put together a college schedule. Impeachment might be the easier route. Like Texas Tech football, sometimes I just try to forget about it and have a good day.

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