Iconography | Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Kansas Jayhawks

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The most extensive preview of the Texas Tech Red Raiders traveling to Lawrence to take on the Kansas Jayhawks on the entire interwebs.

EDITORIAL

I think we have a little more clairty on who Texas Tech is, or who we think they are. Texas Tech’s win against SMU looks similar to TCU’s win, a close game for a half, but the better team eventually pulls away. I’ve been wondering what to think about TCU’s offense, and they looked less than impressive early,but they really poured it on in the second half. It makes me think that the TTU defense is more legitimate, holding SMU to 23 points which is in the same range as TCU holding SMU to 17.

Texas St. notched an impressive win against Wyoming, in Cheyenne, 42-21. The somewhat stagnant offense looked impressive as they ran for almost 200 yards and the biggest difference is that Tyler Arndt was replaced with Tyler Jones, who didn’t play against Texas Tech (not even Jordan Moore), who looked more competent, completing 14 of 18 for almost 200 yards.

SMU still looks like a poor team because of the opponents they have played (TTU, TAMU and TCU, with a win over Montana St.) although TCU offense only managed 100 yards rushing against the Mustangs and TCU only allowed 16 net yards (Gilbert lost quite a bit on sacks). I do think the Ponies and Frogs are tough to run on.

LINKS

These are your morning links:

  • The LAJ with some notes about how Summitt Hogue and Collin Bowen have been moved to the outside linebacker spot, the Raider spot. Bowen is a preferred walk-on that played quarterback at Randall and Hogue is a special teams ace. The article notes that with Austin Stewart banged up a bit, they needed some depth here. Also of note, is that Tuberville was reprimanded by the Big 12 and Kirby Hocutt after Tuberville's incident with GA Kevin Oliver during the Kansas game last year. More details there. And finally, Co-DC Mike Smith talks about Jacarthy Mack and what the coaching staff hopes he grows into over the years.
  • Also from the LAJ is a look at both Weis and Kingsbury.
  • From CJ Online LB Victor Simmons talks about the tall task of cover TE Jace Amaro.
  • Speaking of Amaro, he's featured in the USA Today.
  • Last week's commit, DT Keland McElrath, via Scout talks about committing to Texas Tech.
  • ESPN writes that winning has Texas Tech confident.

BOOKMARK THIS

This was sent to me and I think this was really something from the College Football Reddit, but it is a legal site that let’s you know when and if a particular game is on the television, IsTheGameOn.com. From what I can tell, I’m not in trouble for posting this because this isn’t illegal streams of games, just a listing of games and what network they are going to be on.

THROW THE FLAG

Still not a lot of improvement here. Maybe a bye week will help with some of these penalties. Thus far in this season, Texas Tech has 8, 10, 10 and 8 penalties. Texas St. felt better, maybe that’s just because the yardage was better, the penalties weren’t the big penalties. This team is 118th in penalties and yards, so there’s a lot of room for improvement. The youth of the offensive line is going to be problematic for the year, and I wish I had some breakdown as to offensive vs. defensive penalties. I think by mitigating mistakes offensively, not as concerned defensively right now, then this team will be better off. With the young quarterbacks, the offense is more likely to need some of those yards if mistakes are made.

QUESTION FOR THE CROWD

How concerned are you about a drop-off? It seems that over the past two years, there has been a great start, but a serious drop-off in wins after that. Last year, Texas Tech wins their first four games, only to go 4-5 the rest of the way. In 2011, the first four games are in the books, and then go on to 1-7 the rest of the way. What’s going to be the difference this year? Just coaching? Coaching and something else? Love to hear your thoughts on what you think will be different this year.

ITEM COMPLETED

Statmilk is back with updated stats. It seemed like it had been a while. There’s a lot more stats there, but son of a gun, check out those points in the first quarter.

CLIP THIS

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis loves to talk about the opposing team. It’s quite different than Kingsbury who gives much shorter answers, but not Weis. Go check out the quotes at Rock Chalk Talk as Weis talks about Texas Tech and here is talking about the Texas Tech defense:

Now, Matt Walerstadt took of the defense, what they've done is play in a 34 configuration, similar to our configuration, but they play multiple fronts, they play odd, they play over, they play under, they play even, they play bear/diamond as we call it, they play multiple fronts and they can do it within a count, they can stem to it, they can align to it, you really have to spend some time studying their fronts. The one guy who makes it easier for them to go in and out of three-man fronts and four-man fronts is (Pete) Robertson, he's listed as their version of a Buck, but he's really the key guy because when they go to a four-man front he becomes their fourth-down lineman.

And I mentioned yesterday that Weis is going to put Victor Simmons on Amaro and as Weis mentions, if you don’t have a plan and have a guy out there all of the time, you can’t change personnel because of Texas Tech’s pace:

You better have a plan going in because the tempo , as we've talked about very many times this year, the tempo they play at you don't have a lot of time during a series to make personnel adjustments because, Kliff, he'll get to the line of scrimmage and rattle them off in a hurry now, he'll crank them out in a hurry. You have to have a pretty good plan, we've been talking about this now for the last week and a half, what's the best way to match up with him along with other people. At least on paper I think we've got a pretty good idea.

And Weis talked about how in the offseason, he was and is going to bring pressure defensively as he hated seeing quarterbacks just pick his Kansas defense apart:

I sat down in the offseason with the defensive staff and I said we are going to play odd and we're bringing heat. And that is what it came down to. We are going to be ready to go and we are going to bring heat. You guys decide how you want to bring, but I want to bring it and I want to bring it often. I sat there last year, just like you guys did, and I watched those quarterbacks stand there and pick us a part. I would rather lose by 100. It felt like we were losing by 100 a few of those games. I would rather do it by getting after them and forcing them to make a throw and sometimes throwing it to us. You will notice our blitz percentage has gone up significantly.

PHOTO FINISH

You want to know what makes this defense so danged interesting, or at the very least more interesting than last year? Let’s take a look at this 1st and 10 from where Texas St. is, again, threatening to score. Notice that CB Bruce Jones, at the top of the screen grab, has zero responsibility. There is not a receiver lined up on his side of the field.

By the time the ball is snapped, Jones is pretty much running full speed toward the TXST quarterback and he’s ready to wreck shop. Also notice LB Terrance Bullitt, this is a similar play that Co-DC Matt Wallerstedt mentioned last week where Bullitt didn’t stick on his man. Here, Bullitt is staying put.

By this time, Jones has hit the TXST quarterback and caused the fumble and things are about to go bad for TXST. Bullitt, though, is still sitting right where he needs to be, he’s got the quarterback in this scenario. Under the play that Wallerstedt detailed, Bullitt tried to go cover too much and here, Bullitt is in line to pick up the fumble caused by Jones.

As an aside, if you would have asked me if Jones created a turnover, I would have told you no way, because I didn’t remember it. I think the coaching staff likes to think of Jones as being a guy that just causes havoc. I’d be willing to bet that if he doesn’t have a receiver lined up to his side this week, he’ll have the green light again. An unblocked cornerback that makes plays. Yes please.

CHARTING MATCHUPS

The Kansas offense is still somewhat stagnant, only 101st in scoring offense (all rankings were written before the games on September 28th), 99th in passing offense and 73rd in rushing offense. They are struggling in just about every facet, including third down completion percentage where they are completing just 38% of those third downs.

There is no doubt that the strength of the team is still the running game. I do think that James Sims is pretty talented and Darrian Miller and Tony Pierson are fine running backs. I do like the fact that Texas Tech played a team like Texas St. in the last game, that's a lot of good film to look at in terms of playing good gap-control defense and sticking with your man. The defense could really look much worse had Texas St scored on some of those very short fields. That's the nature of the game, I suppose.

QB Jake Heaps has just completed 54% of his passes for 5.8 yards per attempt with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. If these numbers were better, then I think that Kansas would be better without a doubt. With only 5.8 yards per attempt, the receivers really aren't a part of the offense. You have to go down to the 5th spot until a KU receiver shows up, which means that there are three running backs and a tight end that show up before the top leading receiver with just 3 catches.

The line was fortified with a couple of JUCO guys, LG Ngalu Fusimalohi (that's a last name) and RG Mike Smithburg. The other starters are either juniors or seniors, so this is a group that has some age to them. Also, Pat Lewandowski is a starter at center and he is little brother to former Red Raider Robert Lewandowski.

The defense also has their issues, but they are much better. Overall, the Jayhawks are 48th in total defense allowing 366 yards a game, which is two spots better than Texas Tech. I'm not considering quality of opponent. The rush defense is 91st, allowing 188 yards a game, but the pass defense has been really good, 26th in the nation and allowing only 178 yards a game. I don't know if the opponents are much of passing teams, La. Tech used to be, but they really aren't any more. Even then, I know that DC Dave Campo knows what he's doing as a coach, it's just a matter of having good players. The defensive line and linebackers was supposed to receive a boost from some JUCO guys, but most of them are backups and some of them have left. The secondary is a different story, there are three starters that were JUCO transfers, RC Dexter McDonald, LC JaCorey Shepherd and FS Cassius Sendish.

5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5
TTU Pass Offense vs. KU Pass Defense

TTU Rush Offense vs. KU Rush Defense

TTU Pass Defense vs. KU Pass Offense

TTU Rush Defense vs. KU Rush Offense

TTU Special Teams vs. KU Special Teams

TTU Coaching vs. KU Coaching

DIAL IT UP

I wanted to focus on the first goal line stand and this is the first down play. I think on the second down play, it was the LB Pete Robertson interception. Everything is covered here. Porter is on the bottom of your screen one-on-one, which is a blessing and you have both cornerbacks at the top of your screen. You’ve got all three linemen on the line of scrimmage, but also included is Robertson at the bottom of your screen. Simple math tells you that Texas Tech doesn’t give a dang about anything other than stopping the run. TXST has 7 offensive players between the hashes and Texas Tech has 8 (3 DL, 4 LB and 1 S).

By this point, every lineman and running back is engaged and Texas Tech still has two players left to make the play, LB Sam Eguavoen and SS Tanner Jacobson. Eguavoen and Jacobson are hard to see, but they’ve already diagnosed the play and are at the line of scrimmage. One other note is that NT Dennell Wesley is occupying two offensive linemen as is DT Kerry Hyder. If anyone is doing his job on this play, it’s Wesley and Hyder.

Now you’ve got Eguavoen at the line of scrimmage and the TXST QB at the 5 yard line in the photo above. Egoavoen is 5 yards away from the quarterback and boom. Eguavoen has stopped the quarterback at the 3 yard line. The quarterback has room to juke and move, to his left where there appears to be an opening, but Eguavoen’s helmet is square in the middle of the quarterback’s chest.

TARGET PRACTICE

We keep talking about this, but without a doubt, whoever is at quarterback needs to find Eric Ward.  This just has to happen.  He's too big of a threat not to be part of the offense.  When we talk about the offense not being as good or as explosive, I think this is part of the equation.  Things can change and through the first four games last year, Ward only had 17 receptions, while this year he only has 20.  Ward didn't even play against Texas St. last year, so there's plenty of time for things to change, but going forward, the quarterbacks need to lean on Ward.

UNSUNG STAR

Sure, why not, another walk-on freshman player getting the starting nod? SS Tanner Jacobson finished the game with 6 tackles in replacing starter J.J. Gaines. Whatever it takes to win.

LIGHTNING STRIKES

Last week, Texas Tech sat at 25 plays of 15+ and 11 plays of 25+ yards. With the Texas St. game under the proverbial belts, Texas Tech now sits at 33 plays of 15+ yards and is stuck at 11 plays of 25+ yards. Texas St. did a good job of keeping the lid on the offense and I would expect that you’ll see a lot of this as the season progresses. The thought might be that you give the freshmen quarterbacks the ability to dink and dunk all they want, but more than likely, they’ll make a mistake. By leaving the safeties over the top, you don’t let anything deep, which maybe explains Eric Ward’s second game of less than stellar play. Not necessarily Ward’s fault, but the defense is going to try to not let Ward beat them. Ward and Kingsbury need to figure out how to change that.

FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME

Let’s do this:

  1. Sell Out to Stop the Run | I don’t know if Jake Heaps really frightens me from the standpoint that he, and he alone can beat you. I think that Texas Tech pretty much did this last year, but it really didn’t work. Kansas still ran for 390 yards and they didn’t really even try to throw the ball. Just 29 total passing yards the entire game. The difference, I hope, is that Texas Tech can really sell out to stop the run, much like they tried to do last year. QB Jake Heaps will make life more difficult because he’s competent, but not great. Still, I’d like to see Kansas be forced to use Heaps with the thought that I’d rather force that aspect rather than let Sims and Pierson and anyone else beat Texas Tech running the ball.
  2. Line Must Protect | I don’t think that Weis is just talking about bringing heat at the quarterback spot and I’m sure Weis knows that the offensive line is the weakest link of the positions, so without a doubt, the line needs to communicate and make sure that they are keeping whoever is calling the game upright. If Beau Carpenter is back and plays then I think this gives Kingsury and OL coach Lee Hays some options. With Alfredo Morales questionable, you could flip Carpenter to left guard and keep the right side intact, James Polk at RG and Rashad Fortenberry at RT.
  3. Fill the Gaps | Defensively, in addition to stopping the run, I think that the linebackers better have a huge day. The line is going to have to do their part, but the linebackers had better make plays. As an aside, Texas Tech has 30 tackles for a loss after a third of the season finished and had 66 tackles for a loss all of last year. More negative plays will help significantly.
  4. Force Third Downs | Kansas is only converting 37% of third downs and they’ve been consistent all year, at 36%, 35% and 41% for their first three games. Texas Tech needs to do their best to force Kansas into third downs and force Kansas to make a play.
  5. Score Early | The Statmilk graphic above tells the story. Kansas isn’t known as an offensive team, but they haven’t scored in the first quarter at all this year. Perhaps the biggest key for Texas Tech is the idea of scoring early and often, which would maybe force Kansas to try to do something that they aren’t all that good at doing, which is throw the ball and try to make plays that way.

THE LIGHT HAS GONE ON

Without a doubt, I'm really concerned about the Texas Tech rushing game.  It's not really even a consideration when I preview a game or think about a game.  It's not even a threat and I think at some point that's going to have to change.  I'm not sure how or why that will change, but something will need to be done to figure some things out.  I don't know if it's a difference in blocking schemes or technique, but the running backs can hardly get good quality looks, inside or out.  Something has to give here during conference play.

FINDING YOUR WAY

TXST had more than their fair share of yards, but they were mostly wasted. A goal line stand will do that and it makes me think that Texas Tech was fortunately or good or whatever, to minimize that. I think that goal line stands tell you something about a team, at least a little, in that do they have the horses to compete up front and if they do, do they have the will to not give up a yard. And for clarification purposes, Swing Points (+) is, "Points via defensive / special teams TDs or drives covering less than 25 yards". Texas Tech capitalized on two of those, so that's some pretty big points right there that weren't all that hard to generate, i.e. drive the entire length of the field. Still, maybe the best number there is limiting Texas St. to just 240 total yards of offense. That's pretty good.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

These are a couple of weeks old, but here goes.

One of the best Red Raiders ever, because he's been to space. Freaking space, man. Here's Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr.:

INJURY REPORT

Fall Practice: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year.

Week 1 vs. SMU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; RG Beau Carpenter (ankle sprain) - day to day; IR Jordan Davis (hamstring) - day to day.

Week 2 vs. SFA: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; RG Beau Carpenter (ankle sprain) - out for game; IR Jordan Davis (hamstring) - out for game; OLB Andre Ross (leg?) - day to day.

Week 3 vs. TCU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; RG Beau Carpenter (ankle sprain) - out for game; IR Jordan Davis (hamstring) - out for game; OLB Andre Ross (leg?) - out for game.

Week 4 vs. TXST: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; RG Beau Carpenter (ankle sprain) - out for game; SS J.J. Gaines (knee) - out for game; OLB Austin Stewart - out for game.

ACTION

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