Texas A&M Aggies (3-3, 0-2)
Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-2, 2-1)
Date: October 24, 2009 :: Time: 6:00 p.m. CST :: Weather: Lubbock, TX
TV: None :: Radio: Affiliates :: Game Cast: Fox Sports
The figures next to the team name are, in order, yards per game / national rank / conference rank.
Texas Tech Passing Offense vs. Texas A&M Passing Defense
Texas Tech (413.57 / 2 / 1): Not surprisingly, the Texas Tech offense struggled a bit against Nebraska, but a win is a win, especially when it's on the road against a nationally ranked opponent, and you beat that opponent by 21. QB Steven Sheffield was a manager, and since all indications lean towards Taylor Potts or Seth Doege taking the reins on Saturday, then I'm hoping that he takes the same advice that Leach gave Sheffield:
I wanted him to throw the ball and hit some fat guy in the stands. That didn’t consistently happen. We had a conversation on that.
I do think that Potts is a quality quarterback, and if there's one thing that Leach has consistently been able to do since he's been here is to coach up a quarterback or two. I don't think that's going to stop and although Potts wasn't perfect (again, there is no perfect QB other than St. Tebow) he's still pretty damned good. If it's 3rd string Seth Doege, then I'm concerned about his ability to play on such a high level without so much experience, but I trust Leach. I think it's a testament to the receivers on this team, but each week, we're seeing a different receiver step up and make plays. In fact, after a few weeks of Tramain Swindall leading this team in receiving, Detron Lewis is back on top. And to jazz you just a tad bit more, there's less than 120 yards separating the top 4 receivers. In other words, one great game and you could see Alexander Torres, Lyle Leong, Swindall or Lewis lead this team.
Texas A&M (226.67 / 73 / 6): The Aggies really haven't played a true passing team, except for Arkansas, and TAMU promptly gave up 271 yards and 4 touchdowns. We're going to continue to talk about this until there are a few more conference games to compare, but TAMU has faced Oklahoma St. and Kansas St. thus far in conference play. Not exactly passing teams and it's hard to gauge whether or not the pass defense is truly struggling (73rd in the nation) or if it's going to get worse. I did have the opportunity to watch quite a bit of the OSU game and I thought that the Aggies do have athletes in the secondary, but they're young, and that's a bad combination going into the meat of the Big 12 schedule. A big part of the pass defense success is the outstanding play of Von Miller, who already has 10 sacks, which includes 12.5 tackles for a loss. And aside from Miller, no player has more than 2 sacks for the year, perhaps indicative of the bigger problems at TAMU, there's talent at certain positions, but it's not enough to win a bunch of football games.
Verdict: I'm nervous about this pick, especially if Potts cannot play, but I'll still take Texas Tech.
Texas Tech Rushing Offense vs. Texas A&M Rushing Defense
Texas Tech (70.43 / 118 / 12): It would be easy to say that the Red Raiders ignored the rushing game on Saturday, and there were times that I thought that the line did a good job of creating holes, but 14 rushes between RB Baron Batch and Harrison Jeffers just isn't going to be enough. Again, the rating looks much worse than it probably is, due in part because Potts took so many sacks earlier in the year (he's working on that . . . promise). The loss of LT Terry McDaniel could prove to be a huge loss for this team I don't know if OL coach Moore has many more options other than to start Chris Olson at left tackle. The only other player that's received significant time is Mikey Okafor at right guard, who was later benched in favor of moving Brandon Carter back to the right side.
Texas A&M (166.83 / 88 / 11): There's going to be a similar theme that I have with the Aggies in that I do think there's talent there, but it's young talent. The Aggies have played two teams that feature their running game and gave up 169 yards and 3 touchdowns to Oklahoma St. and 232 yards and 6 touchdowns to Kansas St. The defensive line features 2 freshmen or sophmores and the linebacking corps also has a freshman and sophomore. Garrick Williams and Kyle Mangum are the linebackers who make most of the plays. The Aggies are 37th in the nation in tackles for a loss, but as mentioned above, Miller is responsible for 12.5 of thoese tackles, which means that the Aggies have 1 player truly making plays thus far.
Verdict: Despite the Aggies looking as bad recently been.
Texas A&M Passing Offense vs. Texas Tech Passing Defense
Texas A&M (320.50 / 6 / 3): The skill position players for TAMU are actually fairly talented and for this reason alone, you shouldn't overlook the Aggies. Freshman WR Uzoma Nwachukwu has been tremendous thus far this year while WR's Ryan Tannehill and Howard Morrow each have over 20 catches. TE Jamie McCoy is an offensive threat, with 21 catches for 251 yards. QB Jarrod Johnson has been remarkably good, not Heisman worthy, but he's been pretty good with a horrible offensive line. Johnson isn't as accurate as you might want him to be, but he's still completing 57.8% of of his passes and has 16 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. As mentioned before, the offensive line has allowed 2.67 sacks a game, which is good for 95h in the nation. That's been Johnson's problem all year, the young offensive line,
Texas Tech (238.57 / 89 / 8): The Texas Tech pass defense has been good, not great and this is something that I keep mentioning, and it's something that's going to have to continue this week, is not to ge beat deep. The pass defense isn't great, but the pass efficiency defense (I really don't know what this is) is at 40th in the nation. In any event, the secondary is also healthy, except that S Will Ford may be out, but there's been enough guys who have seen sufficient reps that I'm not too concerned about losing Ford. The Red Raiders are 8th in the nation in sacks, led by their DE's: Brandon Sharpe (8), Daniel Howard (5) and Rajon Henley (3).
Verdict: I like Johnson, Tannehill and Nwachuksu, but it's the pass blocking that's the problem.
Texas A&M Rushing Offense vs. Texas Tech Rushing Defense
Texas A&M (156.83 / 49 / 5): Prior to this game, I wondered how much the Aggies were actually running the ball, expecting a bit more production from RB's Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael. Both are supposedly heralded, especially Michael, who's had 11 to 14 rushing attempts since the first game. This unit isn't bad, in fact the Aggies are 49th in the nation in rushing offense, which is pretty good, but maybe the point I was trying to make at the beginning, is that why not slow the game down just a tad bit more, in the hopes that the Aggies could hang onto the ball, and chew up some of that time of possession.
Texas Tech (101.86 / 24 / 5): The rush defense has been consistently good all year, and I keep mentioning this point, but the key to a good defense is being able to stop the run. The rush defense is only allowing 3.05 yards a game and despite some rough patches against Texas (135) and Houston (144), the Red Raiders only gave up 70 yards to Nebraska that is averaging 151 yards a game and 116 yards to Kansas St. that is averaging 184 yards a game. DT's Colby Whitlock and Richard Jones aren't showing up in the box score, but coupled with the outstanding and oftentimes overlooked play of the linebackers, this unit is slowly but surely becoming adept at stopping the run. I thought DE Rajon Henley's play last week deserved mention, especially against the run. I thought he was outstanding.
Verdict: I'll take the Red Raiders again.