After a pair of solid performances, the Oklahoma Sooners head to unfriendly territory to play a night game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Here to give us some background info is Jay Burrous of Viva the Matadors — SB Nation’s Tech site. We discuss Alan Bowman’s weapons, the Texas Tech defense, Lubbock’s bars and restaurants, John Denver, meat and more!
After missing some time, freshman QB Alan Bowman has been back for the last two games, and he’s been pretty efficient (for the most part) when he’s been out there this season. What does he do well as a QB? What does he need to improve? Finally, that should Oklahoma fans expect from him on Saturday?
It’s a tough question to answer right now, because he really struggled against Iowa State this past week. Generally speaking, I think he’s got an above average arm, solid decision making, and deceptive pocket presence that allows him to make throws when things break down. We thought he was super cool/collected ahead of Iowa State, but we started to see him get flustered in that one. I think we’ll all be curious to see how he reacts against Oklahoma. I expect him to have a good game, and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t throw for more than 350 yards and 3 Touchdowns. The key will be how much he protects the ball.
For what it’s worth, I think you’ll see some special packages this week for Jett Duffey too. He’d have received more playing time last week against Iowa State had Matt Campbell not called a timeout.
The running back position at Texas Tech is often overlooked from the outside, but which names should Oklahoma fans know heading into this game?
This group also had their worst game of the season against Iowa State. Da’Leon Ward got the most touches, and didn’t do much with them. My favorite guy is certainly Ta’Zhawn Henry — he’s a true freshman scat back that’s got a knack for the end-zone and is the next big thing in this offense. Past those guys, you’ll see DeMarcus Felton get a few touches, he actually went off for 100+ yards on Oklahoma State, and Tre King might play? This group has been inconsistent this year, but we’ll need their best game if we want to hang with the Sooners.
Tech has a pair of big targets on the outside in Antoine Wesley (6’5”) and TJ Vasher (6’6”), and Oklahoma has experienced issues with receivers of their mold. Having said that, Ja’Deion High (5’11”) has been quite the weapon in his own right. What makes him such a special receiver?
If you guys struggle with size, then I’ll cross my fingers that Kingsbury has that dialed in! Regardless, High is simply consistent and “pretty good” at everything. There’s nothing about him that screams future-NFL guy, but he tends to get open on 3rd down, he’s made several one-handed catches, and I’d be worried if he wasn’t part of this offense. If the Sooners match him up one-on-one all night, he’ll win plenty of those opportunities.
Texas Tech has a better defense than the one we saw two years ago, but the group is still 79th in defensive S&P+. Are there any specific areas at which this defense thrives, and what are the specific weaknesses?
Good, to elite, quarterbacks tend to dominate us. Which is absolutely great news for Sooner fans, because that’s exactly what you have in Kyler Murray. For reference, the most linear connection to Murray is D’Eriq King, and he threw for 400+ yards in Lubbock. I think David Gibbs will do his best to take away the running game, and that’s primarily to interrupt rhythm. You’ll see plenty of QB Spy with our linebackers — whom are extremely athletic by the way — and we’ll hope that Murray gets frustrated. Frankly, I don’t see how we hold you guys to less than 45 though.
Speaking of the game from 2016, which types of feelings and emotions come up when Tech fans look back on that game. Texas Tech obviously didn’t come out on top, but Patrick Mahomes had himself a game with over 800 yards of total offense (albeit against a bad OU defense). How will that game be remembered by Tech’s fan base?
I was at the game, and it does practically nothing for me. Sure, Mahomes had an unbelievable game, but we saw him play like that for 2.5 years. Should the Red Raiders have won, I’m sure we’d be telling a different story – but, we lost and it’s more a reminder of what could have been if we had a defense.
Provided that Tech earns at least one more win and makes it to a bowl game, is Kliff Kingsbury officially off the hot seat?
If we wind up 6-6, it’ll definitely matter how we got to 6-6. We’d have to lose close to you guys, close to UT, and then still take a loss to either Baylor or K-State. That certainly wouldn’t make fans feel great. I’d say most people, myself included, will be disappointed if we don’t get to 7 wins given the remaining schedule. Equally, the game Saturday has tons of upset potential, as does the UT game.
Kingsbury’s in a good spot right now, and you can see that the program is improving. It’s just a matter of finishing 2018 strong and taking advantage of huge road wins against Oklahoma State and TCU.
Plenty of Oklahoma fans will be traveling to Lubbock, and some of them will be in town for the first time. For those of us who aren’t too familiar with Lubbock, what are your recommendations for:
· Bars? Blue Light (Texas Country music), Bier Haus, Nick’s Sports Bar, and Crickets if you can get in. The bar districts are the Depot District, and Broadway. Broadway tends to be the college kids though – good luck.
· Restaurants? Caprock Café on 34th Street (burgers/beer), One Guy from Italy (pizza), Triple J (steak/beer), Orlandos (Italian), and Evie Mae’s BBQ if you have time (gotta get there by 10:30am Saturday). Lastly, and this is a personal favorite, but Bigham’s BBQ. Only do the frito-pie though….it’s fantastic.
· Tailgating? West-side of the stadium is certainly where it’ll be the most concentrated. I’d expect some people will invite Sooner fans in if you’re just wanting to hangout.
Who is your favorite Texas Tech alum outside of athletics?
Outside of athletics? That’s a pretty tough one. I’m a pretty big fan of my boy John Denver. That’s primarily because West Virginia claims ownership, but he’s a damn Red Raider too.
Take Me Home, Country Roads- John Denver pic.twitter.com/snhuupues1— dancing lizard (@dancinglizardd) September 10, 2018
If you could have a two-hour conversation with Mike Leach on one topic, what would you choose to discuss?
Oh man, there were some rumors that he MIGHT have come back to Lubbock this past off-season had we fired Kliff Kingsbury. I’d have loved to have chatted about those stipulations and to learn how serious he really was about that. Non-Tech related…I’d pick his brain on aliens for awhile to see what his take there was. He’d certainly know more than me, and it’d be entertaining to re-tell those stories.
What’s one fact about Texas Tech University that would surprise people who are unfamiliar with the school?
I think most people are shocked to hear that the Lubbock-metro is 300k+ people. So, it gets old when people dog on Lubbock being so secluded. Otherwise, the secret of Texas Tech is their “meat department” likely sells the best steaks in America. Check out Red Raider Meats online, and when you try their ribeyes for the first time – you’re welcome.
What does Texas Tech have to do to cover the spread (13.5) or pull off the upset?
We’ve got to turnover Murray, score touchdowns and not field goals, and we need our running game to go for 175+ yards. The odds are certainly stacked against us, but I think we’ve got a chance to win if we catch the right breaks.
What’s your final score prediction?
Oklahoma wins 51-38. I think the Sooners will have a comfortable lead most all of the game, but will ice it in the 4th Quarter to go up by two scores and put this out of reach for the Red Raiders. Regardless, I do expect there to be plenty of scoring.