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Tag:Texas Tech
Posted on: August 8, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 1:54 pm
 

Texas Tech on the hunt for the football



Posted by Tom Fornelli


I couldn't help but read this story from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and not have some fun with it. While it's a philosophy that is in play just about everywhere, the phrasing begged for mocking. 
“Hunt together, kill together” is the new motto of the Texas Tech defense.

That’s the phrase the defense used to break from huddles Sunday, and cornerback Jarvis Phillips summed up its meaning for the media following practice.

“Hunt together, you know, just get to the ball,” Phillips said, “and kill together, I guess try to hurt ’em.”

The maxim’s origin can be traced to new defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow, who stresses accountability from his defense.

“One of the things we’re going to talk about all the time is hunting together as a unit,” Glasgow said. “We’ve got to have 11 guys that are running to the football as fast as they can and we’ve got to play smart as a defensive unit.”
Happy hunting, fellas.

Posted on: July 20, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 6:55 pm
 

Big 12 media preseason poll released

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The preseason media poll for the Big 12 was released on Wednesday afternoon, and for the most part, it looks exactly like you'd expect it to. Though it definitely doesn't look like something that Texas fans will enjoy or approve of. Forty-three members of the media voted in the poll, and Oklahoma was the runaway favorite as the Sooners garnered 41 of the 43 first-place votes.

Here's how the entire poll looked.

  1. Oklahoma (41) - 428 points
  2. Texas A&M (1) - 362 points
  3. Oklahoma State (1) - 360 points
  4. Missouri - 281 points
  5. Texas - 265 points 
  6. Baylor - 194 points
  7. Texas Tech - 191 points
  8. Kansas State - 140 points
  9. Iowa State - 93 points
  10. Kansas - 51 points
Obviously, the thing that sticks out more than anything is the fact that Texas -- Texas -- comes in ranked fifth. Even though Nebraska has left the conference, the Big 12 media still feels that there are four teams in the conference better than the Longhorns.

Now, personally, I think preseason polls of any kind are silly. How any of us are supposed to pretend we know how good a football team will be without seeing it run a single play against another team is trivial.

Still, Texas is fifth! Only one spot ahead of Baylor! Think about that.

It's amazing how one bad season can have such an impact on a school's reputation. I can't see ranking the Longhorns any lower than fourth in the conference, and I'd have them above Missouri. I just can't help but feel that even though Garrett Gilbert struggled last year, coming into 2011 with that experience will only help him, and the Longhorns offense can't be much worse than it was in 2010. Meanwhile, Missouri has lost Blaine Gabbert to the NFL, and that's not an easy person to replace on offense. 
Posted on: July 15, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:19 pm
 

ESPN: Bruce Feldman resumes normal assignments

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Well, that suspension levied on Bruce Feldman for co-authoring Mike Leach's book, Swing Your Sword, didn't last long. In fact, if you ask ESPN, it didn't happen at all. ESPN announced in a statement this afternoon that Feldman had been returned to his normal duties with the company, ending a 20-hour controversy over Feldman's treatment and involvement with the book. Here's ESPN's statement in full:

"There was never any suspension or any other form of disciplinary action. We took the time to review his upcoming work assignments in light of the book to which he contributed and will manage any conflicts or other issues as needed.   Bruce has resumed his assignments."

Now, the notion that Feldman was never under any disciplinary action, frankly, strains credulity. Again, it took 20 hours for ESPN to address this issue, and it's one that could have been resolved in, well, minutes. Further, the idea that Feldman wasn't suspended is apparently news to Mike Leach, who excoriated ESPN on the radio this morning, saying ESPN "isn't going to let little inconvenient details like the facts get in the way of their agenda."

Moreover, the suspension was all but confirmed by Craig James, who expressed surprise on Twitter about the news this morning -- something that SB Nation's Spencer Hall believed to be true in this editorial, which is a little too scathing and scattershot to be of merit here.

With that, then, this issue is effectively settled unless one of the parties feels the need to bring it up again; that seems unlikely. As mentioned before, suspensions almost always degrade a product, especially since Feldman was hardly a limiting agent for ESPN Insider, so ESPN is now better off for having reinstated (or whatever they want to call it) Feldman, so let's leave things like that and move on to more important things. Like video game football.

Posted on: July 15, 2011 3:11 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:20 pm
 

Report: Feldman suspended for role in Leach book

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Mike Leach's new book, Swing Your Sword, was released Thursday, and Leach's co-author on the book was famed scribe Bruce Feldman (The Meat Market, 'Cane Mutiny). Small problem: Feldman also writes for ESPN.com's Insider section, and that may prove to be something of an issue when Leach's book contains a litany of complaints against ESPN on-air personality Craig James for his role in getting Leach fired from Texas Tech.

And yet, according to reports, Feldman was given the green light to proceed with the book, and he never engaged in any promotion for the book before or after its release. Non-issue, then, right? Well, wait:

ESPN college football writer Bruce Feldman was suspended indefinitely during a conference call with three ESPN officials this morning.

[They] informed Feldman today that he has been banned from writing for any ESPN entity, is forbidden from appearing on any ESPN platform, is not allowed to Tweet from his Twitter account nor participate in any promotion of a recently-released book in which Feldman played a role.

Such is the report from Sports by Brooks, anyway, and thus far there's been nothing to indicate the report isn't accurate. Feldman, who's normally a fairly active tweeter, has been silent since Wednesday on his ESPN-branded Twitter account @BFeldmanESPN, and no other ESPN personalities are commenting on the matter.

Just about everybody else in the world is commenting, however, and "Bruce Feldman" became a trending topic fairly quickly Thursday night on Twitter. Twitterers made use of the #freebruce hashtag early and often, especially after Sports Illustrated writer Andy Staples canceled his ESPN Insider subscription in protest:

Now, since ESPN hasn't released its side of this story yet, and since all we're working on is one report from one media outlet, it would be premature and assumptive to rake ESPN over the coals for this decision at this point. All reports indicate that Feldman was given the go-ahead to help write this book before the ugliness between ESPN and Leach. So if there was some amendment (whether explicit or tacit) to the arrangement after ESPN became directly involved, obviously, that would be relevant information that hasn't been released yet. We're all operating with limited information, and rather than build 1,500-word arguments based on assumptions that could be disproved by a single PR release before sunrise Friday, it's probably best to wait and learn more from the parties involved.

That all said, it's worth noting that, generally speaking, suspensions from organizations (whether sporting, media or otherwise) rarely improve the product being put out. Dez Bryant getting banned by the NCAA for the rest of his senior season didn't make Oklahoma State or the Big 12 any better or more entertaining, for example, to say nothing of what the NCAA lost when it wouldn't let Ohio State RB Maurice Clarett or USC WR Mike Williams get drafted or come back and play after their second seasons out of high school in 2004. Rules are rules, but taking talent off the field makes what happens on the field worse.

Obviously, that's not to say that all suspensions or other disciplinary actions are inherently bad -- discipline is important, and to keep the examples in college football, nobody would argue that Lawrence Phillips didn't spend enough time off the Nebraska squad after his domestic assault charge during the 1995 season. So yes, clearly, suspensions or firings/dismissals serve a well-needed purpose.

Yet, based on what we know now, Feldman didn't do anything wrong. He helped write a book that a whole lot of people really wanted to see written, and it wasn't even that one about ESPN itself that so many past and present ESPN employees gave testimony for -- under their own names, no less.

No, instead, ESPN is apparently degrading its PR standing (to say nothing of its paid Insider product, to which Feldman actually contributes) in order to punish Feldman and push this notion of ESPN as a faultless company that virtually zero of its consumers actually believe. It's extremely difficult to find a benefit to the company itself in this decision. The product is worse. The public perception is worse. The journalistic freedom within is now demonstrably worse. Exactly what is ESPN trying to accomplish here?

The appearance is that Craig James used his position at ESPN to force enough public pressure on Leach to be ousted from Texas Tech, and is now using his position within ESPN to force Feldman from the ranks at Bristol. If either is inaccurate and James would like to see Leach or Feldman restored to their previous statuses, by all means, we'd be glad to document such a statement. If not, it's hard not to think that ESPN is being used as a bully pulpit, and if that means a college football world without heavy involvement from Leach and Feldman, then college football is worse off for it, and that's no role for ESPN or any other major college football media organization to hold.

Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 3:42 pm
 

Leach excerpt: I was fired over contract, lawsuit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one has ever accused Mike Leach of doing anything halfheartedly, save for perhaps coaching defense. So it won't come as a surprise that Leach's new tell-all memoir about his firing at Texas Tech, Swing Your Sword, doesn't appear to pull any of its punches towards the Tech administration and those he felt helped that administration bring about his ouster.

An excerpt from the book now published at The Postgame shows that chief among "those" in Leach's crosshairs is the father-son tag team of ESPN analyst Craig James and his son Adam James. Adam, of course, was the Tech receiver whose concussion (and treatment from Leach and other Red Raider staff in its wake*) sparked the furor that led to Leach's dismissal. In the excerpt, Leach accuses the elder James -- and reproduces several e-mails backing those accusations -- of using both a communications firm and his connections at ESPN (particularly with reporter Joe Schad) to manipulate the story's presentation in the media.

But perhaps the larger accusation is one that Leach has leveled before, and now in much greater detail: that Tech chancellor Kent Hance and other members of the Tech administration had already planned on removing Leach after his acrimonious 2009 contract negotiations, and simply used the James brouhaha as an excuse to make good on their intentions.

Leach alleges that an internal investigation by university attorney Charlotte Bingham found that accusations the coach had mistreated Adam James were "inaccurate." He goes on to say that despite those findings, the school suspended him while (per Bingham's testimony) Hance asked Bingham to alter her report for being too "milk toast" [sic]. Leach responded to the suspension by filing a restraining order that would allow him to coach the impending Alamo Bowl, just before being terminated; the excerpt claims several e-mails from Tech regent Jerry Turner show the restraining order, not Leach's treatment of James, as the immediate cause for Leach's firing.

An e-mail from ex-regent Windy Sitton to Turner reads:
"Jerry, I know his firing has been in the works since the Chancellor and the AD were outmaneuvered by Leach. That is our problem.
"The problem rests with the arrogance of the Chancellor and the ineptness of the AD. Everyone sees through this injustice to Mike Leach and Texas Tech. The Sitton family has given scholarships and have had multiple seats since 1976. We will not renew our options [on] our 12 seats or for that matter our [public seat licenses] for Basketball. This whole thing smells, and we do not want to be a part of this blight on Texas Tech."
Yikes. Considering this and other similar pieces of evidence -- and that Bingham's investigation seems to have given Tech a perfectly valid reason for keeping Leach if they'd wanted to -- it's hard not to feel like Leach's argument is convincing.

But Leach's still-pending (employment-debilitating) lawsuit doesn't rest on convincing bloggers like the one you're reading. Will the book's details ultimately stand up in court? We don't know. (Seeing as how the suit has been dismissed once already and is now awaiting appeal, we sort of doubt it.) But we're interested in seeing every last juicy one come to light all the same.

*Remember that infamous "electrical closet" in which James claimed Leach had forced him to stand? Leach claims in the excerpt James had been told specifically not to go in the closet.

UPDATE: Leach has also released an excerpt to SI.com, one detailing his account of Adam James' behavior leading up to the punishment in question ... and the punishment itself, of course. Also very much worth a read.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 11:02 am
 

Outland Trophy Watch List released

Posted by Chip Patterson

Check the time, we got another watch for you. 

The Football Writers Association of America also released its 2011 Outland Trophy Watch list on Friday.

The trophy is awarded annually to the best interior lineman in college football. Only tackles, guards and centers from both sides of the ball (defensive tackles are included) are eligible for the award. Of the 65 players currently on the watch list, 16 of them are defensive tackles.

The Outland Trophy dates back to 1946 and is one of the oldest annual awards in college football.

This award honors the often-thankless positions that fight in the trenches and establish the line every Saturday. Last year's winner was Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi.

Who do you have pegged as a favorite in 2011? Let us know in the comment section below.

2011 OUTLAND TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST (65)
Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State, OT Ryan Miller, Colorado, G
Jeff Allen, Illinois, OT David Molk, Michigan, C
Don Barclay, West Virginia, OT Al Netter, Northwestern, OT
Chris Barker, Nevada, G Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh, OT
Kelvin Beachum, SMU, OT Xavier Nixon, Florida, OT
Tony Bergstrom, Utah, OT Trevor Olson, Northern Illinois, OT
Mike Brewster, Ohio State, C Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State, OT
James Brown, Troy, OT Moe Petrus, Connecticut, C
Jared Crick, Nebraska, DT Ken Plue, Purdue, G
Andrew Datko, Florida State, OT Dontari Poe, Memphis, DT
David DeCastro, Stanford, G Nate Potter, Boise State, OT
Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, OT Tydreke Powell, North Carolina, DT
Lonnie Edwards, Texas Tech, G Kheeston Randall, Texas, DT
Joel Foreman, Michigan State, G Riley Reiff, Iowa, OT
Marcus Forston, Miami, DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut, DT
Dalton Freeman, Clemson, C Matt Reynolds, BYU, OT
Garth Gerhart, Arizona State, C Mitchell Schwartz, California, OT
Cordy Glenn, Georgia, OT Kawann Short, Purdue, DT
Ben Habern, Oklahoma, C Bradley Sowell, Ole Miss, OT
Braden Hansen, BYU, G Akeem Spence, Illinois, DT
Logan Harrell, Fresno State, DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington, DT
Dan Hoch, Missouri, OT Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State, G
Khaled Holmes, USC, C Chris Thompson, Houston, C
Jaye Howard, Florida, DT Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech, G
Malik Jackson, Tennessee, DT William Vlachos, Alabama, C
Chris Jacobson, Pittsburgh, G Larry Warford, Kentucky, G
T.J. Johnson, South Carolina, C Brandon Washington, Miami, G
Barrett Jones, Alabama, G Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina, OT
Ben Jones, Georgia, C Billy Winn, Boise State, DT
Matt Kalil, USC, OT Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati, DT
Jonathan Martin, Stanford, OT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State, DT
Mike Martin, Michigan, DT Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin, G
Zack Martin, Notre Dame, OT  
By conference: Big Ten 13, SEC 11, Pac-12 9, ACC 7, Big 12 7, Big East 6, Conference USA 3, Independents 3, Mountain West 2, WAC 2, MAC 1, Sun Belt 1.
Tackles, guards and centers are eligible for consideration
Candidates may be added or removed during the season

Posted on: June 30, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Former Texas Tech coordinator gets probation

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Former Texas Tech defensive coordinator James Willis has pleaded guilty to the charge of assault and domestic violence stemming from an incident in December.

It was reported that Willis had gotten into an altercation with his wife on December 22nd, and just a few days later Willis was no longer working for Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech. Willis has been sentenced to six months deferred probation and could face up to a year in prison if he's found in violation of his probation. He must also attend anger management classes and do 30 hours of community service. 

According to the police report, Willis' wife Shalane Willis called police to the couple's house on December 22nd claiming that Willis slapped her, hit her on the nose and threw her on the bed during an argument. She then ran out the front door and to a neighbor's house where she called 911.

Willis only spent one season at Texas Tech as defensive coordinator, but had worked under Tuberville alongside Florida head coach Will Muschamp at Auburn. Willis was replaced at Texas Tech by Chad Glasgow.

Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Hot Seat Ratings: The Big 12 coaches

Posted by Tom Fornelli

CBSSports.com's very own Dennis Dodd went through every head coach in the FBS this week and assigned a hot seat rating for each one, with 0 being the "coolest" seat and 5 meaning that the coach may end up in a hospital burn ward should he sit down. Looking through Dodd's ratings for each coach in the Big 12 this year, while I agree with most of his ratings, there were a couple I didn't feel were accurate.

Here's the list of Big 12 coaches and the Hot Seat Rating Dodd gave them from lowest to highest.

- Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: 0.0

- Bill Snyder, Kansas State: 0.5

- Paul Rhoads, Iowa State: 1.0

- Gary Pinkel, Missouri: 1.0

- Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: 1.0

- Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: 1.5

- Art Briles, Baylor: 2.0

- Mack Brown, Texas: 2.0

- Mike Sherman, Texas A&M: 2.0

- Turner Gill, Kansas: 3.5

Again, for the most part, I agree with Dennis' rankings, but there are a few of the coaches who I have some nitpicks about. So instead of just writing Dodd an email to let him know, why not publicize it?

Mack Brown - Dodd gives Brown a 2.0 ranking, which according to his system means "Safe--solid position." I do not agree. Honestly, if these were my rankings, I'd bump Brown up to a 4.0. Which Dodd describes as "Warm seat--feeling the pressure." Which is exactly where I think Brown sits at the moment. Coming off of a 5-7 season Brown had to let go of his offensive coordinator Greg Davis and brought in Bryan Harsin. He also saw Will Muschamp leave for Florida. Which means that he was already feeling pressure. You don't go firing your offensive coordinator, and essentially lay the blame at his feet in the process, if you aren't a bit worried about what might come your way.

In a sensible world, Mack Brown should be at 2.0. He should be safe. But this isn't a sensible world, this is Texas Longhorns football where a 5-7 season just isn't acceptable at anytime under anybody. Brown may have a national title to his name, but if Texas goes through another season like the one it went through in 2010, I don't care who Mack Brown is. He'll likely find himself out of a job.

Mike Sherman - Much like Mack Brown, Dodd sets Sherman at a 2.0, and much like Mack Brown, I feel this number is a bit too low. After all, last October when Texas A&M was 3-3 on the year and 0-3 in the Big 12, there were plenty of people who felt Sherman wouldn't be around College Station much longer. Sherman then made the move he had to make by benching Jerrod Johnson for Ryan Tannehill and Tannehill rewarded him by saving his job and helping lead the Aggies on a six-game win streak and berth in the Cotton Bowl.

Still, even with that 9-4 season, the Aggies are still only 19-19 in Sherman's three seasons with the school. The Aggies may not be the power that they once were these days, but I don't think a .500 record is ever going to sit well with a fan base that wants to rule the state of Texas year in and year out. Now, after such a positive finish to the season, expectations are raised at A&M. Should the Aggies and Sherman stumble out of the gate again this season -- and with a stretch of games against Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Missouri early, another 3-3 start isn't out of the question -- then Sherman's pants may be literally on fire before the year is done.

Art Briles - Dennis has Baylor's Art Briles at a 2.0, but I feel that's a bit too high. I'd put Briles at more of a 1.0 or a 1.5 because I just don't see a situation where he's going to be fired this year. In his first two seasons in Waco, Baylor had 4-8 campaigns under Briles, but there was improvement in the team that was evident in anyone who watched. Improvement that led to a 7-6 season in 2010 and Baylor's first trip to a bowl game since 1994.

At a school like Baylor, where football success isn't exactly a common theme, nor is it that big of a deal, I don't see any way in which Briles is going to be fired after leading the program to its first bowl game in 17 years. The only way I can envision Briles not coaching at Baylor in 2012 is if he gets a job somewhere else.

Bob Stoops - Dodd lists Bob Stoops as a 0.0, the safest coach in the Big 12. Dennis is right, Stoops is the safest coach in the conference, but I just don't feel that 0.0 is low enough. I'd put it at a -5.0 because the only way I see Bob Stoops getting fired is if he goes on some cross-country killing spree, and even then he might survive. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com