Connect with us


Three Things to Know About Texas Tech



Texas Tech has played convincingly well through nonconferene play and seemingly stands ready for the trials of Big 12 football. And let’s be real here: unless you’re a Big Ten-SEC, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust purist, the idea of a classic OSU-Texas Tech game is cardiac-arrest exciting.

Third Time’s a Charm

The Red Raider defenses under Kliff Kingsbury have been much more “matador waving a red flag” than able to slow down any sort of offensive attack.

In the third year under coordinator David Gibbs, it appears to have turned some sort of corner after some promising games against Houston and Arizona State.

I’ll admit that I thought Texas Tech was a lock to lose a non-conference game, if not two. Handling Arizona State, Houston and FCS power Eastern Washington as easily as the Red Raiders did is impressive. More importantly, the defense is rounding into shape. Texas Tech needed several stops down the stretch to win against Arizona State and Houston. A bowl game should now be minimum expectations. [Big 12 Diehards]

It’s early in the ballgame (season) but Tech’s numbers have taken a dramatic turn for the better defensively.

They finished 2016 allowing on average 238.6 yards/game on the ground — that number has nearly cut in half in 2017 to 119.7/yards per game. After letting Arizona State running back rack up eight (!!) touchdowns last year, they held him to just one this year. Total defense has improved from 554 yards/game to 407 this young season.

And this “Last Chance U” star (season two) has loads of talent at linebacker.

Word on the street is they’re playing a lot more fundamentally sound football – -tackling better, getting off blocks and most importantly, forcing a ton of turnovers. The Red Raiders are No. 2 in the country with a positive 2.33 margin/per game.

Now, sort of like when OSU played TCU’s defense last week, this Tech defense hasn’t faced an offense of this potency.

Slow and Steady

Something that TCU did effectively on Saturday was let the air out of the tires by bleeding out the defense with short and intermediate routes paired with a strong running game. That first quarter last week watching TCU play offense was SEC-level miserable (and effective).

An interesting strategy about this Tech team is their tendency to do something similar.

But, what Tech has shown more of this season is success in the short to intermediate passing game, as well as utilizing wide receiver bubble screens and getting the running backs involved. Mahomes and the Red Raiders ran these plays last season, but they seem to be more of the game plan through the early part of their 2017 campaign. [CRFF]

Gone is the NFL arm of Patrick Mahomes and in has checked a mature, discerning thrower with an arm that’s atleast mildly Rudolphy: senior Iowa transfer Nic Shimonek. But he’s been really effective and that’s impressive.

I mean really effective.

The ability for Glenn’s Guys to get the heck off the field will be so dang helpful this week. Can OSU make tackles in the open field? If OSU can avoid being dragged 20 yards at a time, there’s a real shot to get off the field quickly.

Objective No. 1 is not letting this guy get loose: Keke Coutee.

Coutee was second only to James Washington (and potentially Allen Lazard at Iowa State) as the most impressive returning receiver in the conference and he’s shined while featured in this tech offense. He feels a lot like the old Jakeem Grant-type guy.

Please excuse my French.

Texas Tech has guys like Justin Stockton – a scatback with some open field wiggle, Coutee and a Josh Cooper-esque release valve in Dylan Cantrell that the Pokes need to get down in the open field. A major plot to watch on Saturday.

Also, Cantrell is a riot – I’d pay to watch Stoner do this to teammates.

Cowboy Culture

A trend over the last few years has been the eerie way the Pokes have pulled out a lot (not all) close games. For years we loathed/admired “Sooner Magic” as they somehow snatched victories from the jaws of defeat.

Somehow the Pokes have managed to pull some wins out of their ten-gallon bucket hats and it’s been fantastic. Concerning 2016, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Pittsburgh come to mind. The Pokes have, with the exception of one stray hair each year (Baylor 2016 and 2015, West Virginia 2013), owned the middle of the pack.

This is a game you own if you’re a contender.

Texas Tech has been able to develop a bit of that themselves in 2017, wins over opponents after they watched big leads blow away with the Texas winds to narrowly hang on at the end. Maybe not a recipe for championships but definitely an improvement from past years.

The culture of winning has been in place for a while at Oklahoma State, though, and the Cowboys are favored by 10. Time to find out if TCU was an aberration or the norm.

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media