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Thursday, June 24, 2010
Mailbag: Texas Tech edition

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Travis in Grapevine, Texas, asks: Tommy Tuberville is implementing a more aggressive 3-4 defense. In my opinion this only works with quick, athletic players (see Alabama). Is it a concern that Tuberville can recruit the speed needed to make it work? If not then maybe the bend don't break style of the past was a good fit.

David Ubben: We’ll have to see about recruiting, but he did just reel in Derek David for 2012, a linebacker and one of the best prospects in that class. For this year, though, you’re right. The defense is going to give up big plays. You saw that in the spring game and until they learn the system and get talent that better fits it, that’s going to continue to some degree. They’ll be better by fall, but with this style, they’re going to make big plays, too. How much those and the offense outweigh the big plays given up will decide how good this team is in Tuberville’s first year.


Ty in Juarez, Mexico, asks: Hey David,With the new 10 team look do you think that Tech will benefit or suffer from the new look conference?

DU: Tech benefits slightly. For all this posturing about schedules by guys like Bill Snyder, this whole thing centers around not wanting to see OU and Texas every year like the four remaining North teams will almost surely have to once the nine-game, round-robin schedule becomes official. So in that sense, Tech might have an edge on those teams that would have had better records otherwise and go ahead of them in the bowl pecking order. But Tech will still have to see them, so it won’t have a big effect on the Red Raiders. It just might bring those North teams around them down a bit.


Tarren in Austin, Texas, asks: Do you stand by your initial Big 12 South standings?

DU: No. In my post-spring power rankings, I moved the Red Raiders up to fourth, but I still get e-mails about that first set of rankings. From what I saw and read in the spring, Texas Tech has a clear vision of what it wants to be in combining Tuberville’s style with the spread. You never really know how they’ll look until they take the field, though. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them slip above Texas A&M for third in the league, but I don’t see them passing UT or OU. The potential for disaster is still there if they struggle early on either side of the ball and in the win-loss columns.


Stefano in Houston, Texas asks:
Hey David, I wanted to ask what are the pros and cons of the current quarterback battle between Sticks and Potts, and in your opinion, who would most likely fit with as the main QB for the Red Raiders.

Bailey Rentz in Abilene, Texas asks: potts or sheffield? in your opinion who would u take? and who do you tubberville will start?

DU: Got about 15 versions of this question.

Both guys are going to be able to get it done. But for Neal Brown’s offense, if these guys are really going to have a green light to tuck it and run any time they want like he says they will, I don’t see how you go with anyone other than Sheffield. He offers your offense that additional level of versatility that Potts can’t. Durability is a real concern for Sheffield if that becomes common, but you can’t really worry about that until it happens.


Matt in Boulder, Colo. asks: Though a commitment doesn't necessarily equal a signing, what does getting Derek David mean at this point for the program? Do you see Tuberville luring more high-end talent to Lubbock?

DU: I really think it’s a big deal for a couple reasons. One, Tuberville has the desire -- and now the ability -- to go out and get these types of guys. Mike Leach is a great coach, but Derek David -- or others like him -- would never have come to Texas Tech with him there. Tuberville’s defensive reputation is clearly holding some clout on the recruiting trail, and if other top guys see players like David pledging to the Red Raiders, it’s going to lead to at least a small snowball effect. I’m not saying Tuberville’s going to have a Peliniesque effect on the defense there, but guys like this are going to help take steps in that direction.


Ben in Odessa, Texas asks: how will tech handle the transtion to the 3-4?!?? who will it help and who will it hurt on the team?? Thanks

DU: You sound distressed, Ben. Let me answer this right away. Without any delay or wasted time. Or even wasted words. I’m not going to putz around and leave your question unanswered for a second longer. Not even a millisecond. That’s my promise. Here we go. Ready? OK.

Brian Duncan had a rough year last year, but moving him to the outside and bringing him on a lot more blitzes can only help his numbers from last year. I would be shocked if he didn’t get at least 5-6 sacks this year (up from zero in 2009), and maybe way, way more.