Taking Notes | Texas Tech vs. Iowa St.

Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Thoughts and notes about Texas Tech leading up to the Texas Tech Red Raiders traveling to Ames, Iowas, to take on the Iowa St. Cyclones.

I'm proud of where we are at in terms of stopping the run. We have not seen a lot of passing teams, teams throw it down the field much, so we'll get a lot biggest test there. So it's good to have some success. I think our guys are building confidence. The reality will set in in terms of what we are getting ready to get into.
- Head Coach Tommy Tuberville
Oh The Team Having Success

QUOTABLE | It’s good to have some success. This team needed it. The coaches needed to instill some of it, but it has to be tough to balance success and confidence with the thought that you have to be humble and continue to work on your craft.

Tuberville continues to talk about how the team worked on technique during the off-week. That’s a good thing. We’ll see how far that confidence takes this team this week and through the entire year. I think that they’ve built up my confidence too. That’s also a good thing.

NOTES | These are notes from around the interwebs this morning:

* LAJ's Nick Kosmider writes about how Iowa St. QB Steele Jantz is looking to be even better this year and here is Iowa St. head coach Paul Rhoads on Jantz:

"There’s no question he’s a better quarterback than he was a year ago," Rhoads said. "He’s anxious to have this opportunity. I’m sure redemption is on his mind. He knows he did not play well against Big 12 competition last year. Like anything else, he anxious to go out there and prove a lot of people — who don’t know if he’s capable of that — wrong."

* I always dislike it when things are declared "back" after the non-conference part of the schedule, but here's a bit about how the running game is back.

* Wide Right & Natty Lite has the final PAC and why you shouldn't vote for Texas Tech, but instead vote for Iowa St. This is good times.

* DT's Megan Ketterer writes about the Iowa St. defense and although I am totally not worried about the Iowa St. secondary, QB Seth Doege is concerned:

"Their (defensive backs), they may not be the biggest guys, but they compete and that’s the one thing that you see about Iowa State’s defense is they play hard and compete every snap," Doege said in a press conference.

* Iowa St. Daily's Stephen Koenigsfeld writes more about a player in the secondary and although I could give two two flips, Koenigsfeld focuses on DB Deon Broomfield:

"Sometimes the linemen will tell the whole story on whether they're planning to do something," Broomfield said. "Not just thinking they're going to pass every time [and] being ready to come up when the run does present itself."

* It hasn't even taken a full football season, as The Smoking Musket is already making fun of Baylor's tarp.

* RRS's Aaron Dickens asks an Iowa St. expert (I should have one of these this week).

* Des Moines Register's Andrew Logue writes about 10 players in the Big 12 that you should watch.

FINDING THEIR WAY | This is not the finding their way that I was hoping to write, but IR Javeres McRoy and S Austin Stewart have both been held out of games because of their academics, or perhaps their lack of attention to them. I’ve always thought, and have repeated consistently, that one of the only things that a coach has as leverage is playing time. Not that you should have to leverage things like that, but sometimes it’s necessary. Leach did it with Edward Britton, but he was a bit more public about it. I like that Tuberville is mentioning that these guys are out for reasons related to academics and I think it is important to hold players accountable. If the academics really means something to them, then they’ll take care of it on that end, otherwise, they may not have a scholarship waiting for them at the end of the year because they haven’t made their grades. It’s almost as if the coaches are saving these players from themselves in a sense.

THE LIGHT BULB HAS GONE ON | Despite not seeing a ton of time at linebacker, I think I’m pleasantly surprised with the play of LB Blake Dees, who is not getting the hype that fellow LB Will Smith received, but in re-watching the New Mexico game, Dees was pretty good. I’ve always worried a bit about Dees size athleticism, but he’s added plenty of weight in the offseason and it makes him a more formidable player at that middle linebacker spot. I thought that Dees got run over a bit last year, but a large part of that was the lack of alignment along the defensive line. He was essentially a punching bag. I still really like Smith, but Dees could start for a lot of teams in the Big 12 because he is incredibly solid and makes the right reads.

ITEM COMPLETED | So what in your opinion was accomplished during the non-conference portion of the season? Tuberville mentioned this during his press conference, but he really emphasized that he was happy to get so many guys reps during those non-conference games. Players on the 2nd and 3rd teams each got reps, significant reps, and I think this was and is Tuberville’s version of planning for a disaster. He saw last year how the injuries affected the team and without experience or depth, the player most likely won’t perform up to par because they haven’t seen game experience. This year, he didn’t want to be caught without any backups receiving significant time and this really applied to almost every position, from running back and quarterback, to the offensive and defensive lines, and the secondary. Just about every position had multiple players receive a lot of snaps this week.

KEY TO SUCCESS | This week, I think it’s going to be about Texas Tech coming out to a fast start and stopping or halting any momentum that Iowa St. brings to the game. This is true for both the offense and defense. It’s about maintaining success offensively and it’s about making stops, or making things difficult for Iowa St. We’ve already looked at how Iowa St. struggles on third downs, so this should be the focus. Still, Texas Tech cannot afford to get behind early and often, its a recipe for disaster and one that Iowa St. had done so well the last two years.

WE HAVE QUESTIONS | My biggest question mark heading into conference play is if the defensive line can hold form. We’re still talking about mostly guys that are under-weight in comparison to their conference foes. I think this is the reason why Michael Starts had his redshirt removed, the staff is concerned about whether or not they can hold up over the course of the Big 12 and this staff cannot afford to wait. I think that Texas Tech is pretty well positioned at most other spots, but I’m still worried about the defensive line. And I’d add that I think that as a unit, they just look better last year. Amazing what good coaching and preaching pad-level can do for a team.

A FLASH | Here is a "did you know" that I hope continues this week. Texas Tech is tied for 6th in the nation with 52 passes for more than 10 yards. The interesting thing here is that Texas Tech has 99 completions for the year, which means that half of all of Texas Tech’s completions are for at least 10 yards. I’d also add that this is with only playing three games. A lot of those teams have played 4 games.

GOOD JOB GOOD EFFORT | Let’s hope this stays true this week, but I don’t recall a receiver making a catch on the sideline all year. I do remember some players being open on post routes and just couldn’t catch the ball. I have a feeling that this is Iowa St. is going to pick on S D.J. Johnson and S Cody Davis to start, whether it be play-action and trying to pull them in and get some receivers over the top of the safeties and in one-on-one coverage with the cornerbacks. At least that’s what I would try to do with almost completely untested cornerbacks in CB Cornelius Douglas and CB Eugene Neboh. This isn’t to say that I think that Iowa St. is going to turn away from their running game, but they’re going to test the cornerbacks. I feel pretty confident about that.

TAKING AIM | There's not just one specific idea that I think the team needs to focus on, but rather I just hope that the team is focused in general. I hope they know the implications of the game. That a lot of fans are thinking this game is a harbinger of things to come. Yes, I just used the word harbinger.

INJURY REPORT |

Fall Practice: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year; ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - out 4 to 6 weeks); DT Anthony Smith (rolled ankle from scooter mishap - out 2 weeks); RB Quinton White (broken foot).

Week 1 vs. Northwestern St.: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year); ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - may be out 2 to 4 more weeks); RB Quinton White (broken foot - may be out 4 to 6 more weeks); WR Aaron Fisher (broken leg - out for the year); OG Tony Morales (knee injury - out 2 weeks).

Week 2 vs. Texas St.: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year); ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - may be out 1 to 3 more weeks); RB Quinton White (broken foot - may be out 3 to 5 more weeks); WR Aaron Fisher (broken leg - out for the year); OG Tony Morales (knee injury - out 1 week); WR Eric Ward (concussion - out 1 game).

Week 3 vs. New Mexico: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year); WR Aaron Fisher (broken leg - out for the year); ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - may be out 2 more weeks); RB Quinton White (broken foot - may be out 2 to 4 more weeks); OG Tony Morales (knee injury - should be available); WR Marcus Kennard (groin - day to day); CB Cornelius Douglas (pulled abdominal muscle - 1 week).

Week 4 Bye: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year); WR Aaron Fisher (broken leg - out for the year); CB Jeremy Reynolds (knee sprain - out for the year); ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - may be out 1 more week); RB Quinton White (broken foot - may be out 1 to 3 more weeks).

Week 5 Iowa St.: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year); WR Aaron Fisher (broken leg - out for the year); CB Jeremy Reynolds (knee sprain - out for the year); ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - practicing); RB Quinton White (broken foot - may be out 2 more weeks); OG Tony Morales (knee injury - may be out 1 more week).

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