The man behind the answers in this Q&A is none other than Seth C of Double T Nation, who, today posted his Five Reasons Texas Tech Will Win: Kansas Edition. I also did a Q&A for him, and I'll apprise you when it has been posted as well. Thanks to Seth for taking the time to answer our questions. Now if he could just clue us in on how to get so many visitors. Onto the questions...
**UPDATE** Double T Nation has posted the Q&A here.
1. Tech is 7-0 and on the list of no more than 8-10 teams that have a shot at the MNC. However, they could play well, not ever be upset and finish the regular season at 8-4. What were your expectations going in and what are they now?
I think my expectations are the same now as they were before and would have been disappointed had Texas Tech not been undefeated heading into this weekends' game. I would be disappointed with a 4 loss regular season as I think Texas Tech is capable of beating anyone on their schedule. That's not to say that I'm expecting 4 wins, but rather I'm expecting these games to be competitive and I'd be happy with getting 2 out of 4. I know, that sounds somewhat of a defeatist attitude, but winning 2 of these 4 would be a good thing.
2. Obviously the offense is as effective as ever. However, I don't think you've been running nearly enough. Do you agree? And also, do you think we should expect the same ratio here on out or has Leach been saving this in light of the next four games?
Absolutely not. A quick look at the numbers and Texas Tech is running 37% of the time this year. Just comparing that to last year, which was a measly 24%, there's no doubt that Leach has been running the ball quite a bit more, especially in comparison to last year. One of the reasons Texas Tech looked so average against Aggie last week is that there were very few running plays in the first half, but the second half was a different story and Texas Tech ran the ball.
3. Baron Batch is someone I didn't now much about before this year and really enjoy watching. Has he been the biggest surprise for you? If not, who?
I didn't expect Batch to be as good as he is, but the biggest surprise thus far has been the play of DE McKinner Dixon. Dixon was a JUCO transfer, who had played for Texas Tech his freshman season, but due to grades issues, he left to the JUCO ranks. Being back this year has been a breath of fresh air and supplied Texas Tech with two quality pass rushers, the other being Brandon Williams.
4. While I'm hesitant to say Tech's defense has turned the proverbial corner, they are playing physically and do seem better than in year's past. Colby Whitlock, Brandon Williams and Brian Duncan seem to be the most valuable members from my limited perspective. Mind discussing them and any other important cogs?
Up front, there's quite a bit of improvement. The difference of course is that Texas Tech was awful against the run last year, but great against the pass. This year, things are flipped. Given that, I'd still rather have a stout defensive line, like Colby Whitlock who anchors one defensive tackle position, while Richard Jones, subbing in for an injured Rajon Henley, is performing at a pretty high level. As mentioned above, the best part about all of this is that Texas Tech has two pass rushers in Dixon and Williams, while Brandon Sesay was recruited as a defensive end, but has played defensive tackle thus far. As far as linebackers go, Brian Duncan is playing lights out right now. He's excellent against the run and he is the unquestioned leader on the defense. He's really fun player to watch.
5. Keeping with the defense, I would expect them to come hard at the Jayhawks and try to out-physical them. Agreed? And more importantly, what kind of schemes do they like to run? Where would you attack them if you were Todd Reesing?
Thus far, Ruffin McNeill has had his best success coordinating the defense by playing it safe and letting his line do the dirty work. There's no doubt that the defensive line is Texas Tech's strength on defense and you can expect lots of base defense with the tackles stunting, trying to put pressure on the pocket but containing Reesing all at the same time. Personally, I think that's a tough order as I have this fear that Reesing, who has a nice knack of getting out of trouble, using his legs to move the Kansas offense. Again, look for a base 4-3 while utilizing the nickel and dime packages as needed.
6. Speaking of our gunslinger, how do you guys feel about him? Where would you rank him in the Big XII pecking order?
I really enjoy watching Reesing play. You know how you're supposed to have this built up animosity for opposing players (and I'm sure I will to an extent on Saturday)? I don't have that with Reesing. Secretly, I cheer for him. Ranking the Big 12 QB's: McCoy, Bradford, Robinson, Harrell, Daniel and Reesing. That's not a knock on Reesing, but a product of the incredible depth at QB in the Big 12.
7. Quick aside, were you pretty surprised that Vegas labeled you underdogs this week? I know I was.
Yes I was. In fact when I wrote about it I assumed that Texas Tech was favored, which made me look careless. I really respect Kansas and considering last year's success, you guys should be favored.
8. Finish this sentence. Tech will win if...
The defensive line can get pressure on Reesing. If Reesing can't get the ball to Meier or Briscoe then I like Texas Tech's chances. If either or both of those guys go off, I think we're in for a long day.
9. And finally, your final score is...
I'm a homer and most of the time, think Texas Tech can win just about any game. Give me Texas Tech 41, Kansas 38.
And of course, we can't let you go without wishing you a very HAPPY MULLET WEDNESDAY! (Note: formatting on pic is weird; if you're not getting the full shot just click on it.)