Emails in on Tech football and Bedlam basketball
The new emails are in, and lots of talk about Texas Tech. Oklahomans’ fascination with Mike Leach and the Tech saga is interesting. I know they liked Leach. I know they feared Tech while Leach was coach. But still, it all seems a little unnatural. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Robert: “I enjoyed what you wrote about Texas Tech football, putting some perspective on it that few Tech fans will really appreciate. There are a lot of younger or newer fans of Tech football that have a limited knowledge of the success Tech had since the ’30s. It’s somewhat cyclic, every 20-30 years somebody ‘gets it’ and can lead Tech to a one/two loss season. Pete Cawthon did it in the ’30s and Weaver in the ’50s. But that was when Tech was a giant in the Border Conference. I can’t help to think that if Tuberville stays at Tech long enough, that this cycle is somewhat broken. I loved what Leach did but he’s not Texas Tech alone. Anyway, great work. I have sent the link to several of my Tech pals who are having a hard time with the transition to Tommy.”
You know, the old Border Conference sounds cool. Tech. Arizona State and Arizona. New Mexico State and New Mexico. UTEP. Hardin-Simmons. West Texas State. Fun football, I’ll bet.
Dewayne: “In your blog you mentioned that you believe that Tech can win without Mike Leach and I tend to agree, with some exception. You said ‘the notion that no one else can win at Tech, or South Florida, or Oklahoma, or Alabama, or anywhere is just silly.’ First, Leach as weird as he is, is in my opinion one of the best coaches in the college football world. If not the best. He was taking the runts while Texas and Oklahoma were taking the pick of the litter when it came to recruiting. His record against Texas and Oklahoma is testament to his abilities as a coach. Finding another Leach will prove to be impossibility for Tech. How many other young guns are out there with that kind of football genius? Even if Tech chooses to keep its current staff, the day in and day out genius of Mike Leach will be gone and the team will be and play a little different. I just don’t believe that the Alamo Bowl was any good indicator of things to come with Tech. Even with OU’s winning tradition and being a name football school, it took OU over 10 years to get back to where they were when they let Switzer go. Tech is not a name football school, nor do they have any real tradition, so their road back may be a little longer. The bottom line is, I believe Tech needed Leach a whole lot more than Leach needed Tech.”
Several things need to be said. First, Leach’s record against Texas was 2-8. Spike Dykes’ record against Texas was 6-7. OK, the ‘Horns weren’t as good during the Dykes era. But let’s not pretend Leach had Tech at the pinnacle of college football. The Red Raiders had one monster year under Leach. Tech also had one monster year under Jim Carlen (11-1 in 1973) and one monster year under Steve Sloan (10-2 in 1976). Leach coached 10 years and twice had three or fewer losses. You don’t think other coaches can do that? Tech’s ‘road back’ will be long? Tech under Leach went to two Cotton Bowls, two Houston Bowls, two Alamo Bowls, one Gator Bowl, one Insight Bowl, one Champs Sports and one Holiday Bowl. Mike Leach is an excellent coach. But to pretend he did stuff that never had been done at Tech is just plain wrong. And the idea that Tech will fall off the map is just plain silly.
Larry: “I wanted to tell you what I thought of the Tommy Tuberville hiring by my alma mater, but I can’t. We’re not supposed to use dirty language over the company server. He’s gotten off to a bad start with me. The first thing he did was promise to keep the Air Raid. Claimed he’d be a fool not to. Praised it to high heaven. Then Day One he runs off Lincoln Riley, who is most qualified to provide continuity and insight, and an ace recruiter to boot. Then he hires an offensive coordinator who runs a different version of the spread, in the process discarding what has been our identity. Just what in God’s name does he think he’s going to do to improve on our offensive performance? We have loads of room on the other side of the football for improvement. That’s where anybody with any sense would focus his effort. I think we just witnessed the passing of the golden era of Tech football, and the long slide backwards begins. Hope I’m wrong.”
I would have kept Ruffin McNeill, in some capacity. He was very popular with the players, he was a tie to the past, he appeared to me – in dealings at Big 12 media days and watching from afar – that he had little ego. Seems like Tuberville could have found a place for a guy like that.
William: “Man, it seems like coaching changes bring the same kind of carnage you read about in World History. Burn and pillage every vestige of the past, no how good they were. Tech just canned a great group of people. Leach will be (or is) a very wealthy man when this is all over. However, the people that had been the most loyal to him will be still scrambling to reprove themselves to someone else.”
That’s the people to feel sorry for, Leach’s staff and support personnel who are out of a job. Leach will be fine.
Let’s move on to college basketball. Some talk about Bedlam and the Sooners. James: wrote about OU: “I sure like Jeff Capel. I don’t know how this season is going to turn out but I like his handling of the team.”
I have to say, I’m not crazy about Capel’s handling of the team. Negative reinforcement doesn’t work as well as positive reinforcement. Too much negative reinforcement, taking away practice gear and locking them out of the locker room. Hey, this is a team game. Lock the coaches out of the offices if we’re passing around blame.
Jeffrey also wrote about Bedlam basketball: “How do you see the OU basketball team doing? Were some problems solved Monday?”
I don’t see how. The Sooners won at home in overtime against a mid-level Big 12 team that missed a bunch of easy shots and played five key minutes down the stretch without its star, who was injured driving for what would have been a 10-point lead. Not a lot of reason for optimism.
Richard: “I know it’s commentary, but come on, why do you continue from football to blame all OSU problems on injuries? Would not a better commentary have been how well OU stepped up, especially after the way they have been playing? Please remember your crowd of readers and listeners. Aren’t there still more OU fans? Bob Jr. at least says that about the TV market. Why were there so few OSU fans in Lloyd Noble last night? Tickets were certainly available. The fewest I have seen here in Norman in years.”
This is one of my all-time favorite emails, because it shows the total displacement from reality some fans experience. OU fails to sell out a Bedlam basketball game, and the question is where are the OSU fans? And there’s a reference to OSU blaming football problems on injuries? Every OU football story of the last four months has been injury-related. This email is what is known as lack of institutional control.
Greg also wrote about OU basketball: “I have a feeling we are about to watch the fickle finger of fans go crazy. Frankly, there is a lot of talent on this team, but no one ever seems to want to play well on the same night. I think if they ever got that great game from the bulk or all of the team on the same night against good competition it would be like a wakeup call, but the longer they go from playing such a game, the more it becomes a remote possibility.”
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