Keys to the Game: Texas Tech vs Nevada

LUBBOCK TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders cheer against the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 18 2010 in Lubbock Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Keeping the wolves at bay...Three Amigos style.

After a couple of scrimmages, Texas Tech finally plays an opponent with a pulse this weekend in the Nevada Wolf Pack.   Nevada is rebuilding this year after losing 4 skill players, including the impressive duo QB Colin Kaepernick and RB Vai Taua, who led the team to an eye-popping 13-1 record last year.  Tyler Lantrip will start at QB in the play the role of Ned Nederlander in their pistol-based offense.  But look for coach Chris Ault to be the one pulling the trigger quickly if Lantrip doesn't perform well, which could make tomorrow RSFR Cody Fajardo's Lucky Day (see what I did there).

Nevada uses the pistol in sort of a hybrid spread-option attack that is a challenge to defend.  Combine that with the fact that the Nevada O-line does a pretty good job of keeping their man from getting a Dusty Bottom, and they do a pretty good job of moving the football.  However, Lantrip isn't the most mobile QB, and hasn't impressed with completions and interceptions.  Fajardo is the future, the better runner, and capable of some explosive play making - but he's still learning the offense.

Texas Tech has been on a roll on offense, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid of a let down game after a near perfect performance a week ago.  The defense has basically been able to experiment a little and play bend but don't break in the first two games.  Given Nevada's offensive struggles so far, that might be a strategy worth keeping.

Key #1: Don't get over confident on offense

Doege: Coach Brown, I have thrown many beautiful touchdown passes so far this season

Coach Brown:Many touchdown passes?

Doege: Oh, yes. Many.

Coach Brown: Doege, would you say that you have thrown a plethora of touchdown passes?

Doege:: A what?

Coach Brown: A plethora.

Doege: Oh yes, I have thrown a plethora.

Coach Brown: Doege, what is a plethora?

Doege: Why?

Coach Brown: You told me you have thrown a plethora of touchdown passes, and I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has thrown a plethora of touchdown passes and find out that that person has no idea what it means to have have thrown a plethora of touchdown passes.

Doege: Forgive me, Coach Brown. I know that I, Doege, do not have your superior intellect and education. But could it be that, once again... you are angry at something else... and are looking to take it out on me?

Coach Brown: Like what, Doege?

Doege: Could it be because Texas Tech is only #3 in overall offense? Could it be because you are still living in the shadow of Mike Leach? When we want to pass the ball, we pass the ball. When we want to run the ball, we run the ball.. If we want to be #1 in offense, we will be #1 in offense! Why don't we go out and take them?

Coach Brown: You do not understand football. You cannot force open the petals of a flower. When the flower is ready, it opens itself up to you.

Texas Tech needs to be careful about thinking they can do anything they want on offense.  40 point wins over Texas State and New Mexico don't mean a lot when Lubbock Monterrey could pull off something similar.  Don't get me wrong, the offense is doing the things that it needs to do, but until they do it against a team that will post a better than.3-9 record this season, they should be careful about expecting to be able to put up those kinds of numbers each week.  And above all, don't force it.

Key #2: Get out of the blocks fast

This applies to the defense as well as the offense.  If we can force Nevada to play from behind, I have a feeling that we'll see them make a QB change.  While this is a bit of a gamble in that Fajardo is a better runner and therefore a better fit for the Wolf Pack system, he is allegedly not making the best decisions with the ball.  If they are playing from behind, this works in our favor.

Key #3: Avoid a shootout

As I mentioned early, I think bend but don't break is the key for the defense in this game.  Nevada has been stalling on offense in the first 2 games.  Just avoid the big play, and everything should be fine.  If Fajardo comes in as I think he will, the last thing we need is Nevada picking up momentum and turning this into a shootout.  The defense should feel a little relief in that the offense has been performing well, and we should put plenty of points on the board.  Keep the Wolf Pak under 30 and, though it may not win any style points, Tech walks away.

 

Let's ride!....errrr....Wreck 'em!

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