What does Tommy Tuberville need to do this year to get off the hot seat?
Win. Specifically, he needs to win in Lubbock to stick around. I've gone back and forth, but I even think that 6-6 let's him keep his job, but honestly I waffle back and forth on that quite a bit. The expectations are to the point that Texas Tech needs to have a program that hovers around 7 to 9 wins each year. I think the fact that Texas Tech broke their decade long streak of winning seasons really deflated a lot of fans and with people being quick to pull the trigger to fire a head coach, I think that a lot of fans will be pretty quick to start making demands.
How big of an impact does Eric Stephens' return have on the ground game and do you feel there is more depth at RB than in prior years?
I think he was injured for the Iowa St. game, but yea, he's pretty good and he can have a significant impact. I think this year, the coaching staff realized how reliant they were on Stephens last year, as he was "the" rushing attack. When he was injured during the Texas A&M game and out for the year, Texas Tech turned to two true freshmen, DeAndre Washington and Kenny Williams to pick up the slack. This year, the carries are fairly evenly split, much like Iowa St., in that now Stephens, Williams and JUCO Sadale Foster are all involved in the running game. That's a good thing, from a depth perspective and reliability perspective. Stephens is still the best running back, but Williams isn't far behind.
Seth Doege is currently completing 74.3% of his passes with a ridiculous 12-1 TD-INT ratio. Of course, he was also completing 77.6% and had 11 TDs to 0 INTs last September only to fall off a bit as the season went on. Do you see history repeating itself or has he turned a corner?
That's the deal with Doege in that he was terrific in non-conference games and games that Texas Tech won (Kansas and OU), but very inconsistent in all of the other games. Doege's consistency is a huge part of this team being better this year. Doege cannot afford to let the offense be shut out. Of course, a lot of Texas Tech fans point to the loss of Stephens as a big part of the reason for the scoring drought in the latter half of the season. Players mature, they normally get better with age, so it's not a stretch to think that Doege will be better. He's a smart kid, already working on his graduate degree, so I think he gets it. A lot of his improvement is mental, not letting one bad play affect plays after that. As far as Doege's performance, he's been pretty good this year, but there have been some questionable balls thrown that could have been intercepted had the competition been better. He's not perfect, but I think he's been better, namely because the yards per attempt has been better than last year.
Texas Tech is on a roll thus far, with the #1 defense in pass efficiency. High octane offense is nothing new to the Red Raiders, but what do you make of changes on defense this year, after rolling in your 3rd defensive coordinator in 3 years?
The focus this year has been on fundamentals. The new defensive coordinator, Art Kaufman, just started from scratch during the spring and decided to just start from the beginning. That has seemingly helped quite a bit, you know, lining up correctly and having good technique. I don't think there has been anything exotic or necessarily special about what Kaufman has done, he's just been really solid. And as you all helped me find out, Kaufman was at North Carolina at the same time as your defensive backs coach with Butch Davis. Davis knows what he's doing in terms of teaching defense and I have to think that Kaufman took a lot of what he learned and applied it here.
Your school administrators initiated the removal of the greatest (and coolest) football coach ever at Tech, and then forced you to change the name of Double T Nation. How do you stop yourself from kidnapping them and putting them in electrical closets on a daily basis?
This is going to sound incredibly passive, but a person can only control what they do and for me I can only do what I do, which is write. It really doesn't matter the platform or the name, people will find you if you are passionate about writing and consistent and that's all I've ever tried to be. I've also adopted a little boy from Ethiopia, it's been almost a year since we've had him home, and I realize that life is too short to worry about Texas Tech saying they own the name "double-t". As ridiculous as I find the notion that they own the phrase "double-t" it's not worth fighting about for me. There are better ways for me to spend my money and my time. As far as Leach is concerned, I think that a lot of healing has begun since Kirby Hocutt was hired as the athletic director. I think that a lot of people really trust what he's doing and he was far removed from Leach being terminated as he wasn't even the AD at the time. I think that helped quite a bit. A recent example is Billy Gillispie resigning, which is most likely a situation where the athletic department bought Gillispie's silence on the matter and that's the way that it should have been with Leach. There should have been a nice clean break where people don't necessarily get exactly what they want, that shouldn't happen in a settlement, but they walk away feeling relatively happy about the situation. Hocutt handled the Gillispie deal as well as could be expected and I am thankful for that.
Well, that got more heartfelt than we usually get on WRNL, but serious props to Seth on his adoption and a nice reminder that sports take a backseat to life. We also did a Q&A with him over at Viva The Matadors, so be sure to check that out, or for anything else Texas Tech related you may be interested in.