When the Texas Longhorns arrive in Lubbock to play a night game at Jones AT&T Stadium against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, they might as well be heading to Iraq. Or Siberia. The type of place you don’t want to visit.
At least, that was the description infamously offered and then retracted by former Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville in 2017. He didn’t like it there, apparently.
Texas Tech fans will do their best to make it a hostile environment, throwing tortillas and generally attempting to live up to their reputation as one of the rudest fan bases in college football.
If they lose, they might just throw a bunch of trash on the field.
Lubbock gonna Lubbock.
Expect plenty of choice words and phrases sent sailing with the tortillas at the visiting sideline, too.
Juniors and seniors like defensive end Charles Omenihu have already been there and won, so they’ve experienced the hostile confines and aren’t worried about the antics of the Red Raider faithful.
“I’ve played in OU-Texas, so I mean if that environment is gonna make me want to start cringing up, then I got a problem,” Omenihu said on Tuesday. ”If you’re too worried about tortillas and the environment and whatever the hell else they’re gonna be doing, then you’re wasting your time.”
Head coach Tom Herman said on Thursday that he doesn’t expect to have any problems with players responding to those fans — he says they know better — but Texas Tech fans will undoubtedly try to occupy some head space.
The bigger concern for Herman is managing the time before the 6:30 p.m. Central kickoff.
Following the typical Family Friday activities in Austin, the Longhorns flew to Lubbock and slept in until around 8:45 in the morning, much later than the team would have for an earlier game, when the alarms sounded about two hours earlier.
Meetings and the walkthrough happened after breakfast, with the team hopefully avoiding any freak accidents like the ankle sprain suffered by junior safety Brandon Jones last week that caused him to miss the West Virginia game and potentially the game in Lubbock.
Since Herman doesn’t want his players expending too much emotional energy before the games, they are back in their rooms after the walkthrough and taking a nap or otherwise relaxing for several hours.
“Night games are difficult in that sense,” Herman said, referring to the potential expenditure of emotional energy during the morning and afternoon before a night game. “So you’ve got to know how to relax leading up to it.”
Then there’s another 30-minute meeting, then the pre-game meal, and then the team will put on their coats and ties and head to the stadium.
Herman isn’t especially concerned about the atmosphere once they arrive — “road games are road games” — even though conceded that a good road environment could be worth seven to 10 points. His mentor probably agreed with that assessment.
“Weird things happen at night in Lubbock,” former Texas head coach Mack Brown once said after a game that included seven turnovers and 19 penalties.
In the history of the Texas-Texas Tech series, however, the weirdest thing is for the home team to win in Lubbock — the Horns have won two thirds of the meetings there with a 20-10 record.
Serve that fact up on a tortilla at a tailgate in Iraq/Siberia on Saturday.