Friday, September 4, 2009

Leach Speechless After Sooner Domination

Lubbock, TX--Former University of Oklahoma assistant coach Mike Leach, better known as the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, is a man of many words. He's known for saying what he thinks and being a great interview because you never know what he'll say or do next. After Saturday's game against Oklahoma he wasn't saying much.

Leach's air attack offenses have dominated NCAA passing records since he took over in Lubbock prior to the 2000 season. He's had a long line of short-term quarterbacks who bid their time on the bench then threw for four or five thousand yards in one season then were gone, never to be heard from again. It was becoming the "Texas Tech Way". Stockpile good quarterback talent from the rich recruiting base of Texas and promise them they'll play eventually and when they do, look out, they'll wonder if their arm will survive the season because they'll be throwing so many times per game. Leach finally landed a long-term starter when he put Graham Harrell on the field four years ago and he didn't disappoint, leading the Red Raiders to the brink of winning the Big XII South and playing for a chance to play in a BCS bowl. It was not be.

Now Leach starts over with a combination of Tyler Potts (Jr.), Seth Doege (Fr.) and Steven Sheffield (Soph.). It was Sheffield getting the start against Oklahoma since Potts is out for the season with a broken tibia. Sheffield had to be thinking his team could beat the hobbled Sooners if he put together a great game. Heck, they beat Texas last year in Waco, why not OU?Sheffield (above, getting sacked by Gerald McCoy) did his part, passing for 385 yards on 25 of 35 attempts with four TD's and two interceptions. He still had a rough time avoiding the Sooner defense but held his own. Too bad his counterpart, Landry Jones (Soph.) topped him. Jones, thrust into the starting line-up for the rest of the regular season with the injury to Sam Bradford, had a great game. He hit 30 of 52 pass attempts for 448 yards, three TD's and no interceptions. Both QB's were named their team's Player of the Game.The game was tighter than the final score (43-27) would indicate. Oklahoma's 17 point third quarter really opened the game up and allowed OU to cruise in from there. Junior running back DeMarco Murray made his return in this game, running the ball 19 times for only 36 yards but did manage to score one rushing touchdown (below). His presence alone fueled the team on and got the guys amped up for the game.The major beneficiaries of Jones' big day were Ryan Broyles and Jameel Owens. They hauled in 8 catches each for 130 and 161 yards while Owens had two of his receptions go for scores. Tight end Brody Eldridge hauled in the final Jones TD pass.

The main difference in the game appeared to be the Sooners ability to convert two fourth downs and their redzone scoring success. Oklahoma entered the RZ six times and scored all six times, getting two TD's and four FG's. Tech entered only three times and scored twice. Oklahoma never turned the ball over while Tech had 3 (2 INT's, 1 fumble).

The Sooners move to 10-1 (7-0) while Tech moves to 4-7 (1-6). Oklahoma next faces Oklahoma State in Norman while Texas Tech travels to Waco to face Baylor.

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