Texas Tech Football: Fan reactions following Oklahoma State loss

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Willie Sykes
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Willie Sykes /

Texas Tech Football is showing improvement this season, and based on fan reactions, Red Raiders are noticing the progression.

Headed into the season, few expected Texas Tech Football to hold a 3-1 record exiting September. With a noticeably improved team, fan reactions following Tech’s loss last weekend at home to Oklahoma State were optimistic, encouraging, and honest. What this shows, is that the culture at Texas Tech is changing all around, and for the better.

Last season, fans were split between head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s coaching aptitude, but this year seems to have a different tone, with many hoping the offense can find a fluid rhythm under first-year starting quarterback Nic Shimonek.

Having covered Texas Tech Football for a few years now, I’ve learned that even though it’s a practice that’s not advised, reading comments and hearing directly from fans tends to offer, perhaps, the most honest barometer of how a program is progressing. While that’s my take, it’s also important to remind fans just how difficult being a coach is, and regardless of how matter-of-fact commentary might be, coaches know what went wrong often while plays are occurring; reminding fans that being constructive tends to boost the overall culture morale, which is something recruits sense.

With that said, here’s what fans were saying following the 34-41 loss, with some added commentary:

Slowly but surely, the Texas Tech defense has developed into a competitive unit. Many pre-game predictions had the Red Raiders losing by at least 21 points, but the defense had 72 tackles, one sack, and three quarterback hurries in 2017, as opposed to 54 tackles, and zero QB hurries in 2016. Sometimes we have to compare the statistics on a deeper level to truly understand how much the unit as a whole has improved, but Texas Tech is improving.

For some reason, Texas Tech’s offense has seen a decline in production since the opening win against Eastern Washington. On several plays against Oklahoma State, Shimonek struggled to make connections, or was unsure about running lanes to extend drives.

In years past, the Tech offense was used to Patrick Mahomes’ field awareness and ability to make plays with his feet. While Shimonek is more of a pocket passer, when that pocket collapses, he has to learn to trust his mobility.

Oklahoma State is at the very least, a Top 10 team. The fact that Texas Tech lost by a touchdown proves every game on the schedule can be won, if adjustments are made quickly.

What’s crazy about this, is that in 2016, Texas Tech only had three penalties for 15 yards! In 2017, Tech had 8-63, compared to Oklahoma State, which had 8-78. Again, if the pass interference issues can be resolved and Tech can stop giving up critical first downs, it could be enough to swing the pendulum in Tech’s favor.

I give this team a solid 6 out of 10, so far. Tackling in space has improved, but especially with the caliber of quarterbacks in the Big 12, the defensive line needs to improve on bringing an all out blitz, and make quarterbacks feel uncomfortable to limit passing plays. If the secondary can eliminate pass interference calls, that could be a huge difference-maker down the line.

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There’s a lot of fight on this Texas Tech Football team this season. You can see a unit that has so much chemistry and respect for each other, but that only gets a team so far. The Red Raiders’ team mantra for 2017 is #TTVE, which stands for “Texas Tech Versus Everyone.” If the team wants to be a disruptive force and earn national respect, every second demands a championship discipline, but so far, there’s plenty to be optimistic about.