DALLAS—Oklahoma State wants to repeat, OU plays Texas and Notre Dame in a 15-day span, TCU and West Virginia are the “prove yourself” schools, Baylor has to prove without The Third, UT may run the ball so much, you’ll forget “This is a passing school!”
“Don’t forget us,” cries Kansas State, “we won 10 games last year.” Kansas just cries, but the Jayhawks have a former Notre Dame boss, Charlie Weis. Iowa State hopes to achieve a bowl invitation, like it got in 2011, but now it needs a winning record as a traveling companion.
And so does Texas Tech, and Lubbock is where we kick off our Big 12 previews. Actually, The Llano News didn’t have to fly into 10 cities; the conference teams gathered in Dallas for Media Days, July 23-24.
“We’ve gotten a chance to learn from last season,” third- year Red Raider head coach Tommy Tuberville declared. A lot of class time may be needed. Tech was 5-7, and the seven losses came in the last eight Saturdays of the year.
“We couldn’t finish games,” Tuberville lamented. “Our guys competed all year, but this team is hungrier.”
Seth Doege’s appetite was not the problem last fall. He hadn’t played very much since his sophomore season—uh, sophomore in high school—but his stats were classic for a Red and Black quarterback: almost 400 completions for 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns.
“It was surreal,” said Doege of Wolfforth Frenship, “but it was my dream to play for Tech; I had so much to think about, I didn’t think about myself.”
“He had to carry the torch,” Tuberville acknowledged, “and he played well, better than I thought.”
That torch had to be volcanic, as the Red Raiders allowed 66 points twice, plus 52, 45, 41, and 41. Doege thinks last fall, “provides us with motivation, and we’ve had one of the best summers I’ve been through.” I wonder how many QBs who don’t play in their junior or senior campaigns in high school become a Davey O’Brien Award candidate?
Oh, you pronounce it, DAY-ghee. (Not gee, but guh, ghee.)
Run the Numbers
The loss of Eric Stephens to a knee injury after five games was huge in Tech’s dismal not-so-elite-eight. He’s averaged more than five yards a carry in 31 games on the South Plains. A solid return by Stephens is essential to giving Doege an alternative message on his wrist band.
The Defense can’t rest
Safeties Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson will be among the leaders on this side of the ball. So will linebacker Terrance Bullitt. Because of injury, “He played with practically one arm last year,” Tuberville insisted, “but he’s ready to go, and he’ll be a huge factor.”
Foot the bill
Ryan Erxleben, out of Lake “Titles Only Please” Travis, is the punter. His dad, Russell, kicked for Texas, 1975-78, and then the Saints and Lions.
Eric Ward hauled in 84 passes in ’11. “We’ve got to get the offense back on the field,” and, in a general observation, “We have to put the past behind us.
“Sure, we have a chip on our shoulder, but we’re going to surprise some people.”