Texas’ defense shuts down Tech in second half to preserve victory

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Running back Eric Stephens  of the Texas Tech Red Raiders is tackled by Jackson Jeffcoat  of the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Texas-Texas Tech matchup was being billed as the best game in Week 3, but it certainly didn’t live up to the hype.

That’s because the Longhorns’ defense held Tech to 144 total yards and forced three turnovers in a 24-14 victory.

The Tech offense never really got going and even when it started to show signs of life, somebody would turn the ball over. A Jarvis Phillips 87-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the first quarter was huge because Texas was driving for another score already up 14-0. But even when Tech tied the game 14-14 on a Lyle Leong 15-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Potts early in the second, the Raiders still couldn’t drum up much offense against UT.

The decisive blow for Tech came in the fourth quarter when Garrett Gilbert orchestrated a 23-play, 80-yard drive that took 9:25 off the clock and resulted in a Barrett Matthews 1-yard touchdown catch. Even with over nine minutes left on the clock, you got the feeling that the Raiders were finished.

Tech rushed for minus-16 yards on the night, which was their worst total since October 24 (also against Texas). Ouch.

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Texas Tech fires Mike Leach

ESPN.com is reporting that Texas Tech has fired head coach Mike Leach on Wednesday.

The school handed a termination letter to Leach’s attorney, Ted Liggett, just minutes before the two sides were to appear in a Lubbock courtroom for a hearing on the coach’s suspension.

Liggett said the letter said Leach was “terminated with cause effective immediately.”

In February, Leach and the school agreed to a five-year, $12.7 million contract. According to terms of the deal, Leach was due an $800,000 bonus on Dec. 31 if he were still the head coach at Texas Tech.

Leach was suspended by the university on Monday after receiver Adam James alleged the coach twice confined him to small, dark spaces while the practiced.

James is the son of former NFL player and ESPN college football analyst Craig James.

Texas Tech plays Michigan State on Saturday in the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

In an affidavit included with his injunction request to coach the Red Raiders in the Alamo Bowl, Leach said he “would never intentionally harm or endanger a player” and that he had been “forced into this situation without being afforded any process.”

He wrote “absolutely” no evidence had been given to him that showed he had violated any university rules or standards.

Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill will coach the Red Raiders in the 2009 Alamo Bowl. One would think quarterback Taylor Potts and the Tech offense will struggle dramatically considering Leach called all the plays.

It’ll be interesting to see what the backlash will be coming out of Leach’s camp. This all went down quickly, so I’m wondering what Leach’s lawyer has planned in response to his client’s firing. If Leach truly did nothing wrong, then his lawyer might be able to build a nice case against the university. Leach still has a career to protect, so I’m wondering if he’ll fight this in order to save face or if he’ll let the situation die in hopes that he can join another program quickly.

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Lawyer wants court’s help to allow Leach to coach in Alamo Bowl

According to SI.com, the lawyer for Texas Tech’s Mike Leach says that the suspended coach did nothing wrong in the treatment of receiver Adam James and wants to court’s help to allow Leach to coach in the Alamo Bowl on January 2.

The motion for a temporary restraining order was filed Tuesday in Lubbock. An in-chambers hearing was set for Wednesday morning in the 99th District Court.

Leach was “begged to work something out to avoid a confrontation,” said a person familiar with the inquiry who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

That person also said Leach late last week postponed a meeting related to the inquiry and refused to sign a letter saying “no one injured would be returned to work out without doctors’ permission.”

The school’s attorney left a voice mail message with Leach’s attorney that the university needed a letter of apology by noon Monday, the person said.

It did not arrive.

You can read the rest of the SI.com article here, but what this situation boils down to is a bunch of he said, she said circumstances. James says that he was mistreated, while Leach (through his lawyer) is saying that the receiver was dealt with properly.

Maybe this is just my interpretation through the media, but Leach seems like a first class a-hole and that there was some wrongdoing that went on in Lubbock. But again, I fully admit that that’s the opinion I’ve developed while listening to the media, which we all know can be misleading at times. This could very well be a situation where a player is overacting and is making a bigger deal out of this than it is. That said, what would James have to gain in this situation outside of devising a plan to get rid of Leach?

It’ll be interesting to see if Leach is the second coach let go in the Big 12 this season due to alleged player mistreatment. Mark Mangino “resigned” at Kansas in early December after several players said that he mistreated them.

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Texas Tech’s Leach suspended for treatment of a player

In a bizarre, still developing story, Texas Tech’s Mike Leach has been suspended from coaching in the Alamo Bowl on January 2 after one of his injured players, receiver Adam James, complained about being mistreated by the head coach.

From ESPN.com:

A source close to the family said James sustained a concussion on Dec. 16, was examined on Dec. 17 and told not to practice because of the concussion and an elevated heart rate. The source said Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James “to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours.”

A source told The Associated Press that James said Leach told him if he came out, he would be kicked off the team.

According to the source, Leach told the trainer, two days later, to “put [James] in the darkest, tightest spot. It was in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside.”

An attorney for Leach said that while James was secluded twice, the circumstances were not as portrayed in that account.

Ted Liggett, Leach’s attorney, said James “was placed in an equipment room as it was much cooler and darker” than the practice field “after a doctor had examined him and returned him to the field.”

The player claims that he was locked in a closet, yet Leach’s attorney says he was placed in there because it was “cooler and darker?” Something just doesn’t add up here and the entire situation stinks on Leach’s part.

The twist in the story is that James is the son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James, who also played professionally for the Patriots. Given that Craig James is in the media, this could wind up being Leach’s undoing if the investigation turns up that he did something wrong.

We’ll wait and see before more details emerge, but this doesn’t look good for Leach.

Upsets in the Big 12; UNC & Pitt take care of business

#5 Oklahoma visited #12 Missouri last night, and the Tigers pulled the upset, 73-64. Blake Griffin had 16 points and 21 rebounds, but turned the ball over six times in the loss. The Tigers were obviously motivated after the 25-point drubbing they took from the Kansas Jayhawks. This looks like it would have been a fun game to watch — too bad it was only on ESPN360. The network really should have a way to bring great matchups like this to a wider audience.

#9 Kansas lost to unranked Texas Tech, 84-65. Senior Alan Voskuil had 35 points on 9 of 14 shooting from long range. I’m not sure what to make of these Big 12 teams right now. Kansas and Oklahoma looked like the cream of the crop, and they turn around a lose to Texas Tech and Missouri, respectively. (In the Sooners’ defense, Missouri was the #12 team in the nation and the game was on the road.) Oklahoma was in line for a #1 seed, but it looks like they still have some work to do.

Meanwhile, #2 North Carolina fended off a feisty Virginia Tech squad, 86-78, while #4 Pitt beat #15 Marquette, 90-75. The Tar Heels earned at least a share of the ACC regular season title, though they’ll have to beat archrival Duke on Sunday to avoid sharing the honors with the Blue Devils.

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