Monday, September 6, 2010
Tommy Tuberville promised risk-taking
By Jeff Caplan
This is part of our Monday Morning Quarterback series, designed to give you a quick look at some things we learned from Saturday's college football action. Let's look at some brief items from Texas Tech's victory over SMU:
Tommy Tuberville wasn't in Lubbock long before he was quickly reminded that there wasn't a fourth-down situation that his predecessor didn't like. Tuberville said not to worry. He said he's not crazy, but he's not exactly conservative either. He proved it Sunday in the fourth quarter when he kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 from its own 34 despite leading 35-20 with 9:37 to go.
Quarterback Taylor Potts, who threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns, was under center and not in the shotgun. He bobbled the snap and SMU took over at the 32 and scored to make it 35-27.
Potts said he liked the aggressive call.
"That was a great call. Coach calls it and expects me to get a first down. I need to do it. The snap was my fault," Potts said. "I've got to come back with [center] Justin [Keown] this week and work on it. If he expects us to get a first down, we need to do it. We kind of fell short on that one and that's my fault."
Tuberville took the onus off his quarterback.
"I put them in a bind by going for that fourth down," Tuberville said. "I forgot we don't take many snaps underneath the center. I've got to get that out of my mind, but that was my fault and my call."
*Potts and wide receiver Lyle Leong had a huge day, connecting 11 times for 142 yards, both career highs for Leong, and three touchdowns, which tied his career-best. Yes, the two have a feel for one another. They were high school teammates at Abilene High School.
Asked if that was there best game together, Potts had to ponder that for a moment: "I have no idea. Maybe. Maybe better in elementary school. I don't know."
*So much attention has been paid to how coach Tommy Tuberville would alter the Red Raiders' famous aerial attack. Well, Potts put the ball in the air more than 30 times -- in the first half. He finished with 34 completions on 53 attempts. But, what about the defense, Tuberville's specialty?
A defensive scheme promising a more aggressive approach in sacking the quarterback paid off with three sacks of SMU sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron. Tech also intercepted Padron three times -- by three different defenders -- and held the Ponies to 218 yards on 21-of-38 passing.
"We played a lot of nickel, a lot of dime, a lot of six DBs. With a passing attack like SMU's, they know what they're doing passing the ball," Tuberville said. "They had us a little confused at times. We gave up 200 yards passing, which is probably a little bit too much, but they had us confused. But, that's what first games are about. We'll get into more of a rhythm, guys will know what to expect and hopefully we'll play a little bit better. But, overall I thought they graded out well for the first time out as a group."
*The Tech ground game certainly didn't come through as expected. The Red Raiders finished with 431 yards of total offense with just 72 yards coming on 31 rushes. Baron Batch had a team-high 52 yards on 15 carries, not a great start on the senior's quest to become the first Tech tailback to eclipse 1,000 yards since the 1990s.