TWO REASONS TEXAS TECH WILL WIN
DECEIVING PASS DEFENSE | There's no doubt that the Longhorns can stop the run, boasting the 19th best rush defense in the nation. That's all well and good, but the Longhorns also have the 21st best pass defense and I started to consider the opponent. Of the two Longhorn losses, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St., OU's Landry Jones passsed for 367 yards, 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Against OSU, QB Brandon Weeden only passed for 218 yards, 1 touchdown and zero interceptions, but he was helped with 202 yards rushing from his running backs. Essentially, Jones carved up the UT secondary and it wasn't necessary for Weeden to do much damage because UT couldn't stop the OSU running backs. The one thing that I am a bit concerned about is that in both instances, Jones and Weeden only completed about 55% of their passes and I don't think that QB Seth Doege can really afford to complete that low of a percentage of passes and Texas Tech doesn't have the running game of OU or OSU. And not surprisingly, last week, Texas Tech ended their streak of rushing for over 100 yards on the season with only 99 yards against Iowa St. But back to the point, I do think that it's a bit deceiving in looking at the passing numbers for UT as they've played teams at this point in their schedule that really aren't known for passing the ball (Rice, UCLA and Kansas). BYU, OU, and OSU are the exceptions, although BYU is only averaging about 230 yards a game passing and UT allowed a shade under 200 yards against the Cougars.
INEXPERIENCE AT QUARTERBACK | By all accounts, I do think that eventually, QB David Ash is going to be what people thought Garrett Gilbert was supposed to be, which is a quarterback that controls the offense and doesn't try to do too much. Ash is slowly morphing into that as the season progresses and if you haven't seen him play, he has a strong arm a good set of wheels and will be handing the ball off a lot on Saturday. I mentioned this earlier in the week, but it bears repeating, which is that Ash is still inconsistent and that's understandable. In his first game of significant action, he threw 2 touchdown passes and no interceptions, but in the last three games, he's only got one touchdown and five interceptions. It wouldn't surprise me to see the exact same game-plan for UT that Texas Tech employed against OU, which is to make Ash complete the short and intermediate passes and hope that he makes a mistake or two along the way. UT does have a strong running game and it's been pretty consistent for most of the year, save the OU game (only 36 total rushing yards).
Two reasons to lose are after the jump.
TWO REASONS TEXAS TECH WILL LOSE
NOT CONSISTENT ENOUGH | There were so many things that I learned last week, but one of them is that this team lacks consistency. You can chalk it up to young players or a new defensive scheme for two years in a row or whatever, but I think this strikes me more so on the defensive side of the ball than anything else. This isn't to say that the offense didn't fall last week, because they did, but I do think that the offense is more consistent, or have been, over the course of the last two years to lose too much faith. What does bother me is the fact that the defense continues to have problems stopping the run. I do think that a lot of it is personnel and wish there was a bit more size on the defensive line, but even then players need to adhere to the system and play accordingly. Although I joked about what DT Donald Langley said during Monday's press conference (he didn't know who Malcolm Brown was) I think he said that the team needed to do a better job of executing maybe 20 different times and I have no doubt that he's right. The defense didn't play like they played against OU, or even close to resembling that defense. I mentioned after the game that the linebackers looked like they were guessing in large spurts, but the defensive line needs to do a better job of keeping the linebackers clean so they can make plays. I think a large part of this is that the defensive ends need to do a better job of containment and getting a push along the line other than just running up the field. Langley's teammates need to listen to him:
So with our defense, we're a penetrating defense and with our offense and things like that. Really it's execution. I wouldn't say it's a real big problem, I'm just saying we have to execute better, because at the end of the day, when we play each and every Saturday, it's not about the other team. It's about us executing and playing Texas Tech football. So at the end of the day we lost on Saturday, and we didn't execute. So that's really on us. It's not about the other team, it's really us.
LOTS OF REASONS | After watching last week, it wasn't difficult to think of more than just two reasons. The thought that keeps sneaking into my mind is that Iowa St. didn't do anything extraordinary or surprise Texas Tech in any form or fashion. That's not to say that there may not have been some coverages that were different or looks on offense that they may not be accustomed, but the truth of the matter is that Iowa St. just did what they do and I'm afraid that the Longhorns are going to do the same. They're going to just do what they do, which is run the heck out of the ball, be stingy on defense and make every effort to force as many quick three-and-outs for the Texas Tech offense. The encouraging thing is that obviously, Texas Tech is capable of beating UT as I don't think that anyone is proclaiming them to be world-beaters at this point of their rebuilding process, but they're still capable of doing those things that Iowa St. did, as is every team left on the schedule and that's the troubling part.