Double-T Nation News:
We have almost 2 full weeks of gearing up for Kansas State as Texas Tech has a bye this weekend. I was busy yesterday and have posted the following on the UMass v. Texas Tech matchup:
I asked you, the DTN reader, if you had any suggestions, regarding the format and content of DTN and first and foremost, I appreciate all of your responses. I'm a big believer in trying to give you guys what you want and constructive criticism. I've already addressed this in the comments of this FanPost, but I'm going to keep the morning notes. No question. But I do think that if there is a story worth highlighting, I'll do so, like today. I'll be rolling out some of the new features next week in preparation of K-State.
Texas Tech Football:
LAJ's Don Williams runs down all of the positives from the non-conference schedule, including focusing on all of the forced turnovers by the defense as well as the much improved rushing game. We've talked before about Ruffin McNeill's 4-3 defense not utilizing many blitzes or stunts thus far and says it's because the front 4 has put pressure on the quarterback and it hasn't been needed:
"It’s still a work in progress," McNeill said. "I told them I think we have a chance to be a special group as long as we stay focused on little things, ordinary things - only worrying about us and how we play."
McNeill said he’s still holding back blitzes, probably because Tech’s front four has been able to control opposing offenses and get pressure without help.
"The turnovers have come because, even though we are playing base (defense), there is some attacking mode to it with the front and the collision part," McNeill said. "And if you watch, we’ve really been beating up the receivers, which is what I want to do.
"I think when we do blend the blitzes in, it’ll carry over."
I think I would have rather seen McNeill work on some blitzing packages, and I've always assumed that he is, but he's just not showing his hand until conference play. I also haven't noticed that the opponent receivers were beat up, at least not on the line of scrimmage as the defensive backs still tend to back off most receivers by 8 yards or so.
I do think it's pretty interesting to think that McNeill believes that he is still building up these guys and considers his defense a work in progress. I wonder what McNeill's timeline is for having this defense where he wants it and how much did he have to un-teach from Setencich's reign?
In Williams' Red Raiders Football Notebook, he talks about how the UMass game was a dress rehersal for taking 70 players on road games and Louis Vasquez, Aaron Crawford, Blake Collier and Pete Richardson were all left off, but these 4 players are also supposed to be injured. Captain Leach does not disclose injury information.
FWST's Jimmy Burch is quick to say that this Texas Tech team isn't good bad, but he also says this Texas Tech team is moving down, because the relatively weak non-conference schedule isn't anything to write home about:
Texas Tech (4-0): Relax, Red Raiders fans. No one is dismissing this top-10 team as a failed bit or squashing anyone’s title hopes. But among the Big 12’s top teams, Tech has shown the most recurring inconsistencies against overmatched opponents. That’s a concern. Coach Mike Leach would be wise to keep harping on areas that need improvement, as he did last week, rather than letting players consider Saturday’s 56-14 rout of Massachusetts as a magic cure-all. It is not.
I agree with the text, but not the premise that Texas Tech is a team on the downward end of things. A 56-14 whipping of UMass isn't anything other than an ego-booster. It's a nice win and I'm glad it was a blowout, but I think the same things about this team that I did before the UMass game. The offense is fine and the defense is getting better with each game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just that we're not going to know as much as we will on October 5, 2008.