Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
How the Texas Tech Red Raiders might attack the Texas Longhorns.
I'm really nervous about how this worn down Texas Tech defense goes about attacking the Longhorn offense. I think this type of offense presents the toughest match-up problems for Texas Tech because the defensive line is still a bit small and a bit inexperienced. I'd also add that a balanced offense is tougher to scheme for as UT has shown that if you focus on one aspect, the quarterbacks can beat you throwing the ball. I know that the Kansas game is sticking out a bit as David Ash struggled, but generally speaking he's been good pretty much all year and every player will have an off game. Thinking about it, the Longhorns won despite not having their best running back in Malcolm Brown and Ash having a very rough game.
No matter the offense or the defense, UT is still a talented team and they have the potential to beat anyone else on their schedule. Potential is a scary word and I'm nervous about the Longhorns putting it together.
I trust that Kaufman is going to keep things simple because that's what he's done this year. The thing that was problematic last week is that the defense played well against Klein the first two series, but then K-State adjusted. Kaufman couldn't adjust or create match-up problems and expose the K-State offense. UT does not have K-State's offense and they don't have a player of Klein's quality so matching up should be, theoretically, easier. I think that Kaufman has studied the Texas film backwards and forwards from last year. I even recall players mentioning this game during the spring about not letting what happened last year happen again. I think that Kaufman has had this game circled for a while. Kaufman will keep things simple.
I'd think that Kaufman's game plan would be predicated on a healthy CB Cornelius Douglas, NB Tre Porter and CB Euguene Neboh and I think that Kaufman is going to ask them to simply cover the receivers as they're not going to get much help defensively from Cody Davis and the linebackers. The linebackers are going to be asked to essentially stay at home and just stop the run and much like last week, Kaufman is going to demand that Ash or Case McCoy is going to beat this team and not Johnathan Gray. I also think that with the linebackers struggling the past few weeks, it wouldn't surprise me to see some movement with who starts and who plays. Something needs to happen at this postion.
The easy solution would be to just run the ball. Its the obvious solution considering the problems that the Longhorns have stopped the run, but truthfully, a team has to do what they do. Texas Tech may focus a bit running the ball, but Texas Tech will have success by doing what they do, which is giving QB Seth Doege the ball and trying to open things up over the top that will hopefully open up RB Kenny Williams, RB Eric Stephens and RB Sadale Foster. I think they all need a healthy dose of handoffs, but this team is largely where it is because of Doege.
And I'd also add that this starts up front. This is not a new stance. Doege's fumble against K-State was maybe his fault for not getting rid of the ball and maybe it was the line's fault because the defender went untouched, but this team cannot afford to turnover the ball. They have done a good job despite being on the wrong end of the turnover equation far too often and eventually it will bite them in the rear.
Just like anything else, it is about consistency with the offensive line and if the offensive line can give Doege consistent protection and just move some over-reacting defenders out of their way, then I think the offense will be fine. Before this year, I was concerned with Texas Tech being able to keep pace in a shoot-out and they have somewhat proven that they can do that against TCU. I worry about repeating that performance, but I also believe that Texas Tech will have good success against this UT defense because they don't have the speed that bothered the line and Doege so much against the Horned Frogs.
This offense is talented enough, I think, to do what they want to do against Texas.