Late sports broadcaster John Facenda recorded the famous phrase, “The Autumn wind is a Raider poem,” ahead of the 1974 Oakland Raiders season.
If Facenda were cutting a promo for this weekend’s contest in West Texas, he might slightly alter what is arguably his most well-known line.
“The October wind is a Red Raider poem.”
Taking on Texas Tech (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) in Lubbock means preparing for two things more than any other: a high-powered air-it-out offense, and the weather, specifically, the wind.
Texas Tech enters this Saturday’s matchup against West Virginia (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) with the second-best passing attack in the country among FBS teams, in terms of passing yards per game.
That is despite dealing with a stiff West Texas wind that is always prevalent in Lubbock.
“The weather is the weather, it’s not like you can change it,” said West Virginia offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. “So, we’re going to have to execute no matter what we get.”
Harrell rifled passes through stiff breezes and swirling winds in Lubbock for four seasons, beginning in 2005, setting NCAA records in the process. He admitted that his head coach Mike Leach never let him or any of the other Red Raider quarterbacks use the howling wind as an excuse for an arrant pass.
This week, in his first trip to Jones AT&T Stadium as an opponent, he is tasked with orchestrating an offensive game plan that will allow West Virginia to work its way through the wind successfully.
The Weather Channel predicts steady winds from 15 to 25 miles per hour through most of the day in Lubbock on Saturday. Gusts up to 40 mph are also possible.
It’s something that Harrell is used to, and something that doesn’t appear to be concerning his starting quarterback.
“No, I never really have considered weather too heavily. I’ve played in rain, I played in snow when I was younger, I’ve played in a lot of wind,” said Daniels. “It changes a little bit when you’re there. But in general, there’s nothing you can really do to prepare for it. You just go out and throw it.”
Winds are expected to blow out of the west and southwest, which will cut diagonally across the field toward the West Virginia sideline.
It will aid offenses moving from right to left on television screens, while offenses moving in the opposite direction will have to throw and kick into the wind.
West Virginia senior kicker Casey Legg is also a perfect 10-for-10 on field goal attempts, and 24-for-24 on extra point tries this season.
Daniels has thrown for 1,492 yards, nine touchdowns, and just three interceptions this season. Prior to his interception against Baylor last week, he had played three full games without throwing a pick.