How Texas Tech Football Lost Their Logo & Gained Unity Through the Hashtag #TTVE
The Texas Tech Red Raiders banded together for a great team win against the Houston Cougars over the weekend, ending the team's 16-game home winning streak. The Red Raiders have now proven something is different this year compared to years past, with a new intensity and unity both on and off the field.
It's a narrative that owned the local media day. Family. Unity. There's no divide.
Some of this unity stems from Kliff Kingsbury becoming the head coach this off-season instead of the offensive coordinator. Something that seems simple to the outside world has made an enormous difference, and it all started with Kingsbury being a cheerleader at the spring game.
In 2016, it seemed like it was the Texas Tech offense vs Everybody. I would go as far as saying it was Patrick Mahomes vs Everybody.
There were story lines about how bad the offensive line was. That the running game was non-existent. How Texas Tech's defense was the worst in the country.
Kingsbury himself said the object of Texas Tech's game in 2016 was to just outscore everyone; but they only did that five times.
That mindset led to discord and unrest among the team, which simply isn't there anymore. It also led to the media putting Kliff Kingsbury on the hot seat.
Then, after the season, after Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt's press conference, Kingsbury banned the Double T. The team hadn't lived up to the standard -- Kliff Kingsbury included. Kingsbury, more than anyone, understood that his team was divided and he had played a role in the dissension.
He was also determined to fix it.
When I first heard that Kingsbury was taking away the Double T, I was skeptical. It seemed like a ridiculous gimmick that had no chance of working. Something from a movie where the coaches and players band together and unite against all odds. And to Kingsbury's credit, that's what has happened.
Not only has Kingsbury changed his tune, he's also been adamant that David Gibbs is the answer to the defensive woes that have plagued Texas Tech since the early 2000s.
Now in his third season, Gibbs is just as complimentary of Coach Kingsbury, crediting Kingsbury's shift in focus as being a reason the team is unified more than Gibbs' first couple years in the program. Stick around to the end of the video below and you can hear Gibbs talk about accountability and the Double T.
Gibbs' continuity and Kingsbury's maturation as a leader has coincided with more great leaders stepping up.
The quarterback position is special to any team, but this 2017 squad is thriving under the leadership of Nic Shimonek. He spent his Houston post-game press conference praising the defense. Both offensive and defensive coaches told us this was coming.
Shimonek isn't the only leader on the field.
Broderick Washington is one of the hearts of the Texas Tech defense. He's not flashy, but he has an incredible motor and a huge chip on his shoulder. He's pissed off because the Texas Tech defense commands no respect. This off-season, Washington said he's tired of Texas Tech being known for just offense.
When I asked Washington what it would take to get the Double T back this off-season, he said: "That's a question you'll have to ask Coach Kinsgbury," with his eyebrow raised.
The players worked hard to earn the Double T, and now they're working hard to earn your respect.
Dakota Allen, who was kicked off the team in 2016, has led the revival on defense that has helped Texas Tech navigate to their 3-0 start. Allen's teammates thought so much of him they named him a captain just weeks after he returned to Lubbock.
The spark on defense has also been helped by a bevy of transfers, most notably Tony Jones and Vaughnte Dorsey. Jones has had a momentum changing play in every game so far, and Dorsey has had his share of big hits as well.
Along the offense, there are just as many new faces. Transfers at running back, a true freshman playing guard -- it's basically a brand new team. Basically.
There is still the glue that bonds the past to the present on the field. Jah'shawn Johnson is in his third year as a starter. Dylan Cantrell has been catching passes at Texas Tech since Kliff Kingsbury got here.
Texas Tech's unity is strongest this season, but it isn't new. It's just Kingsbury's plan coming to fruition. That's why this season is (unofficially) being called the Kliff Kingsbury Red Raider Redemption Tour.
Kingsbury and Kompany are out to prove that they have a defense. That they can win at 11 am. That they can run the football. That they are more than the best passing team in the country.
Kliff Kingsbury and the Texas Tech program were too focused on scoring points. Now they are focused on winning games, together.
Texas Tech vs Everybody
The unity inside the program has led a motto that has now turned into a hashtag: #TTVE.
The hashtag translates to Texas Tech vs Everybody.
It's Texas Tech vs everybody who disrespects them. Texas Tech vs everybody who picked them to go 2-10 this season. Texas Tech vs everybody who says they can't play defense.
It's not the offense vs everybody.
#TTVE is why I think Texas Tech has a real chance to get on a roll this season. But you better hop on now, because if you're not Texas Tech, you're just everybody else.
Three games doesn't change the past, but they do lay the foundation to what could be a special season.
Bill Parcells use to say, "Don't eat the cheese." It means the same thing as drinking the Kool-aid or buying into the hype.
It's too early to know exactly what's going on in Lubbock, but what I do know is the Texas Tech team doesn't care what you eat or drink. They only care about the Double T.
Because they've earned it. #TTVE