This week's previews are going to be shorter than usual. I'd be lying if I told you that I knew anything about Weber St. other than what LondonRaider has done from week to week. I'll give you the highlights and would ask that you keep in mind that all of Weber St.'s statistics are FCS statistics.
TEXAS TECH RUSH OFFENSE VS. WEBER ST. RUSH DEFENSE | There is no doubt that Texas Tech should be able to run on Weber St. The Wildcats are 82nd in the FCS for rushing defense, giving up 168.00 yards per game. The defensive line is anchored by DE Gabe Bowers, NT Adam Sagapolutele-White, DT Trevor Pletcher and DE Sam Fenn. The Wildcats are a little light inside, Pletcher is only 6-2/240 and Fenn is about the same size. I'm guessing that this defensive line is built on being speedy rather than being big. It will be interesting to see how that will work against Texas Tech. One thought would be that a man-blocking scheme would work really well against an undersized defensive line while a zone-blocking scheme might allow Weber St. defensive linemen to shoot some of those gaps and get into the line of scrimmage.
Bowers leads the team in sacks with 3.5 while Pletcher has 3.0 for the year. Interestingly, Fenn doesn't have any sacks but he does have 6.5 TFL, while Sagapolutele-White also has 5.5 TFL on the year.
The unquestioned leader of the defense, at least in terms of statistics is Nick Webb, a 6-4/230, roving linebacker that looks like all he does is make plays. Webb leads the team in tackles with 91 and leads the team with 8.5 TFL. This is the guy to watch on Saturday. The linebacker corps is rounded out with MLB Taylor Sedillo, 4th on the team with 73 tackles, and SLB Maurice Neal, 7th on the team with 31 tackles.
More good-strong after the jump.
The week before last, we saw a little bit more of RB Aaron Crawford and this past week we saw a bit more of Crawford and RB Ben McRoy. And not only did we see McRoy run more between the tackles (rather than just being the guy that gets the ball on a reverse) and had 7 carries for 38 yards. And Crawford continues to run hard and had 3 carries for 21 yards on Saturday. This, along with Eric Stephens is your future at running back and I really like the outlook of what each player can do and this team has serious depth at the running back position. And to top it off, I'm still not 100% sure that McRoy won't be moved all over the field to take advantage of his speed.
Over the past 7 games the running backs and the offensive line has rushed for 157 yards a game and have more than 100 yards rushing in those seven games except for the TAMU game where the Red Raiders only had 96 yards. Compared to other Big 12 offenses, Texas Tech is still not averaging over 4.0 YPC, 3.90, and that's only good for 8th in the conference. But if you take those last 7 games, it's 4.4 YPC, which would put Texas Tech right behind K-State.
TEXAS TECH PASS OFFENSE VS. WEBER ST. PASS DEFENSE | I'm not sure what to say about a passing offense that only averaged 3.5 YPA for the game against OU. I'm guessing / hoping that Weber St. will be a bit of a cure-all as the Wildcats are 107th of FCS schools (there's only 117 total) in passing defense and are giving up 251.80 yards per game and over their past 4 games against Portland St., Montana, Montana St. and Northern Arizona, the defense has given up 293.5 YPG.
The secondary starts with CB Faron Creighton, CB David James, SS Blake Keller and FS Jordan Brown. James leads the team with 3 interceptions on the year, but overall, this isn't a team that forces many turnovers, only 15 for the year. Brown and Keller are 2nd and 3rd on the team in tackles.
So my question is how does Weber St. play Texas Tech. I don't think they'll have the athletes to pressure the receivers at the line, which means that the line must do a good job of making sure that receivers find the soft spot in the zone. It's always tough to diagnose what the problem is from a passing standpoint. The line must hold their blocks, the quarterback must be patient and the receivers must run the correct routes. But I think one of the big things that receivers must do in this type of offense if to find the holes in the zone. Someone is going to be open, and you would think that the receivers would be able to out-muscle the Wildcats. Last week, none of the receivers, other that Austin Zouzalik had over 10 yards per catch. That has to change this week. No matter what offense you run, you have to stretch the defense and QB Taylor Potts and the receivers didn't do a good job of that last week. Of course, OU had some exceptional athletes that can go from sideline to sideline with just about anyone and they can pressure a quarterback with just their front four.