Things have to be fixed, but I’m not sure how to fix them or how to fix them this year or right now or anything like that. I actually like to think that I’m pretty good at looking ahead, but I’m not quite ready to do that with this team and this group of players. So I’m not going to look towards recruits for next year and potential players that could step up next year. There’s a whole offseason to next year. Last year, I dreaded the idea of writing a weekly preview by the end of the year and in some respects, I feel like I cheated the players that stuck through this thing during the most tumultuous time of this program and I don’t think that’s fair.
I’m going to be in my living room with my pennant and I’ll be waving it around each and every game until the last game is played this year. I feel like I somewhat cheated the seniors the last two years because the season ended with a whimper and I refuse to do that now.
So I’m going to fill the next few thousand words on how to make this better because I’m stubborn like that, and I’m going to try to have fun waving my pennant and pom poms because I’m in love with Texas Tech football and we only get three more games to enjoy the ride.
I'll update these links when I get to work. Updated!
- The LAJ on K-State head coach Bill Snyder possibly getting to 175 wins on Saturday.
- The LAJ profiles senior FB Omar Ontiveros.
- Football Study Hall with a look at the advanced box score.
- FSSW has their weekly predictions.
- The DMN with five things to know about K-State.
- KansasCity writes about how stakes are similar for Texas Tech and K-State.
- The Wichita Eagle with how K-State hopes to make a statement this game.
THROW THE FLAG
So the penalties reared their ugly head again last week, and it wasn’t pretty. It was actually downright frustrating at times. The interesting thing is that Oklahoma St. actually had more penalties and more yards that Texas Tech. There are times that the thought that penalties will absolutely destroy a team isn’t really all accurate. Maybe the truer statement is that penalties will destroy a team in a given game that doesn’t have a lot of room for error. I think that’s the difference between Texas Tech and other teams like Oklahoma or Oklahoma St. They just don’t have enough, on offense or defense, to be able to overcome those types of penalties. Earlier in the year, when the opponents weren’t as difficult, then it’s easier to overcome, but not right now, when the margin for error is smaller.
Kansas St. head coach Bill Snyder spoke to the media about Texas Tech and it is beautiful. Here’s Snyder on the similarities between the spread type of offenses (he’s not making the comparison per se, he was asked the question):
"There are a lot of similarities in the offenses. He and Dana Holgorsen were together, so they all have some input in the structure of that kind of offensive package. I guess to answer the question, there are a great deal of similarities with all of them. They spread you out and try to find open areas. They have a multitude, just a plethora of offense and things that they can do. One of the big concerns is what we call gadgets or their trick plays, and those are just part of their offense. Some people make it unique and others just make it part of what they do, and for them it just part of what they do. Whether it is offense, defense or special teams, they are going to put something on the field that might considered trick plays by some but it is just part of their system. They can do a lot of different things because they have receivers and backs that can throw the ball, and they can utilize them in that respect. It is just a lot of that stuff that you have to prepare for."
Here’s Snyder on Kingsbury
"I cannot tell you that I ever thought about it along those lines. When he did get into coaching, he got in with Kevin (Sumlin), and Kevin spoke highly of him. I think he is just in that group of guys that have all been together and they all speak highly of him. I do not know Kliff well, just that we have met that first time he played here many, many years ago. He always seemed like a pleasant young guy and, as a quarterback I thought he was awfully bright. He managed their system extremely well, and I thought he was a good leader. If somebody said at the time that he would get into coaching, that would not have surprised me I do not think."
Snyder on facing a younger coach
"I think so. You just do not have the familiarity with their system. You do not know what all is there because you have not seen it all over a period of time. Something new presents itself over every week and those will be ongoing, so we will see something that has not seen and we just do not know what it is. Now if somebody has been in the league for a long time or you have competed against them year in and year out, then you have a back log of those kind of things that you can rely on to give you a little bit better understanding of what their system is all about."
And Snyder on limiting the Texas Tech offense:
"Whether it is Tech or anybody else, it is important. For a team that is coming off of throwing the ball 70 times in a ballgame and taking 100-plus snaps every once and a while, then you know they are going to cast the ball down field. It is not always those deep throws. It can be those five yard throws that result in 80 yard plays, and they have the ability to do all of that. Yes, it is a major concern week in and week out. Probably with a team like Tech, it is probably as big a concern as any that you have."
You may be thinking that this isn’t that big of a deal or all that awesome, but I’m pretty sure that Snyder is part robot more than anything else.
I definitely thought it was interesting to see how Kingsbury said that he wanted the team to get to fundamentals. Part of the problem with the defense is that if they are stunting and flipping spots, then the problem is that these inexperienced guys that are replacing the more veteran guys are going to be maybe be out of position more times than not. Co-DC Matt Wallerstedt may be forced to pull things back a bit in order to make sure that guys are in the right spots at the right time.
Maybe that’s the right thing to do, scale things back a bit until. The defense looked really good and aggressive when they were able to take advantage of opponents, but now that there are injuries to three starters (J.J. Gaines, Tre Porter, and Terrance Bullitt) and one player that sees significant starter-like minutes (Dartwan Bush) then the defense just isn’t going to be as exotic. So it’s time to maybe scale back a bit in order to just make sure that the guys are getting in the right spots. We’ll see, but I think that a week of getting back to basics is a good thing.
I think that at this point, I’m thinking that Kansas St. has advantages in places where I thought that it was still a push on some level. Obviously, the coaching aspect is going to weigh significantly in favor of Snyder and it is a silly graph, but an homage all at the same time.
Kansas St.’s best defensive players are DE Ryan Mueller and FS Ty Zimmerman, both are guys that could cause real problems for Texas Tech. Zimmerman is fantastic roaming the field and supporting the run. Webb will need to be extra careful with those throws over the middle of the field. The match-up between Mueller and LT Le’Raven Clark should be fascinating to watch and probably the most important match-up of the game. If Clark keeps Webb clean, then Texas Tech has a significantly better chance.
If the Texas Tech running backs can meet the average of what K-State allows, which is 145 yards rushing then I dare say that this might be a dominating game. DeAndre Washington is averaging 6.7, 6.1, 5.1 and 6.3 yards per touch over their last four games, while Kenny Williams was averaging 120 yards a game (receiving and rushing) against West Virginia and Iowa St., while that number dropped to 43 and 76 yards against Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. This is an area that I think can be beneficial to Webb to exploit.
Defensively, I am really unsure about a specific match-up that Texas Tech wins. This really will need to be a collective effort. Kansas St.’s best runners are their two quarterbacks, Daniel Sams averaging 75 yards a game, and Jake Waters averaging almost 30 yards a game, while RB John Hubert averages 68 a game. WR Tyler Lockett is as dangerous there is as a receiver and you have to account for him on kickoffs.
K-State is 20th in the nation in time of possession and penalties in a game, which spells trouble for Texas Tech. Texas Tech is fine trying to speed up the game, but Kansas St. will do their best to do the opposite of that. Texas Tech would maybe be better off on both sides of the ball getting some long sustained drives. That could help out a defense tremendously.
|TTU Pass Offense vs. KSU Pass Defense|
|TTU Rush Offense vs. KSU Rush Defense|
|TTU Pass Defense vs. KSU Pass Offense|
|TTU Rush Defense vs. KSU Rush Offense|
|TTU Special Teams vs. KSU Special Teams|
|TTU Coaching vs. KSU Coaching|
DIAL IT UP
Here's the play sequence for the first two drives. No pretty pictures this morning just data.
D1P1: 1 and 10. 00 Personnel. Pass to TTU11 on a slant, just out of reach. Kingsbury didn't look real happy.
D1P2: 2 and 10. 00 Personnel. TTU11 goes in motion for a screen about the same yard line as the TTU7 and 3 yard gain.
D1P3: 3 and 7. 10 Personnel. 4 man rush, DT stunts from LG to RG and inside containment is busted. TTU7 scrambles. TTU34 does not chip on block, but goes out to left flat. TTU7 is scrambling and throws the ball away. TTU7 is about 10 yards from the original line of scrimmage.
I think the flaw with this drive is something that some other folks have mentioned, which is the idea that maybe running the ball on first down is a good thing and gets you a little wiggle room to have that second down a bit easier. The other obvious and more significant breakdown here is that the inside protection really breaks down and Webb has to get rid of the ball much faster than he wanted. It’s really a downright ugly play and OSU didn’t do anything incredibly fancy, just kicked the rear of the Texas Tech offensive line.
D2P1: 1 and 10. 20 Personnel. TTU21 blocks and TTU7 acts as if going to pass, but hands ball to TTU34. The 2 OSU LB's are on this play and have not been blocked. Maybe busted play as TTU34 should have followed TTU21? Loss of 3.
D2P2: 2 and 13. 00 Personnel. TTU22 with a simple post-up route and then slant across the play for a gain of 26 yards.
D2P3: 1 and 10. 10 Personnel. Pistol formation. Hand off to TTU21. Gain of 4.
D2P4: 2 and 6. 10 Personnel. Hand off to TTU21. Gain of 3.
D2P5: 3 and 3. 10 Personnel. OSU rushes 4. All 4 receivers run past 1st down marker and TTU21 slips out of backfield, but is covered by OSU LB. TTU63 allows pressure on TTU7 and has to pass the ball early and throws out of bounds.
Well, Kingsbury was maybe thinking the same thing here and running on first down, but it went horribly wrong. Amaro and Webb made up for it on second down, but when that critical third down came, OSU again only rushed 4 players and the OSU defensive backs man-handled the Texas Tech receivers, even knocked Amaro to the ground, so Texas Tech was left to punt on 3rd and 3 from the 48 yard line. Of the first 8 plays, Texas Tech really only had 1 explosive play and the 2 of the 3 running plays were okay, nothing big, but the pass plays missed terribly.
I think Kingsbury wanted to let the running backs carry the load in the second drive a big, but that just didn’t work out either. If it’s not the quarterback, it’s the offensive line really letting the pressure get to the quarterback on two straight 3rd down plays. It wasn’t necessarily Webb.
Talk about a meteoric rise, this is the catch rate for TE Jace Amaro over the course of his career. It’s pretty amazing and this is both problematic and good on some level.
2011: 12 targets, 7 catches (58%), 57 yards (4.8 per target)
2012: 37 targets, 25 catches (68%), 409 yards (11.1 per target)
2013: 116 targets, 79 catches (68%), 1,035 yards (8.9 per target)
The targets are probably the most eye-opening and I think this might be one of the problems with the offense. As great as Amaro has been, the ball just isn’t being distributed as evenly as we sometimes think needs to happen. Amaro’s 79 catches is 26 more than the next closest guy in Eric Ward. This is the question that we continually consider which is if this type of offense is better if the touches are more evenly distributed or to have one guy (see Michael Crabtree) receive the majority of the catches. Take Bradley Marquez, who was completely shut out against Oklahoma St. and only had 4 catches for 23 yards against Oklahoma. Would the offense be better off with some better distribution between the top four receivers or do you just feed the big guy?
Not a lot of time for context here, but again, this team is kicking the crud out of last year’s numbers:
Week 5: 25 of 15+ and 11 of 25+
Week 6: 43 of 15+ and 18 of 25+
Week 7: 53 of 15+ and 21 of 25+
Week 8: 64 of 15+ and 27 of 25+
Week 9: 74 15+ and 29 of 25+
Week 10: 82 15+ and 33 of 25+
FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
Let's do this.
- Body Up Mueller | Clark has to dominate this match-up. Mueller has 5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and he’s really good. I’ve already gone over the idea that the first two third downs were largely the result of the offensive line not protecting Webb. Webb has to make plays, but the line has to do their job and it starts with shutting down the best K-State defender.
- Slow the Returns | Not really a surprise that some hidden yards are clearly found in those punt returns as Oklahoma St. had 5 returns for 86 yards and over 17 yards a return. Texas Tech has to be better on coverage. Make the opponent earn touchdowns, don’t just hand them over.
- Keep the Game In Front of You | I think that if Texas Tech can play sound, gap-controlled defense and just keep everything in front of them, this thing won’t be that bad. This means that the beleaguered defensive line is going to have to beat some blocks and this may mean that some new defensive linemen are going to need to step up, but the line has to do a better job of beating the offensive line in those gaps. It’s just not happening frequently enough.
- Keep Pushing and Diversify | My answer to the question above is that I do think that the offense is better if there’s more diversity. There’s no doubt that Amaro is the best threat on this team since Crabtree, but this offense is predicated on beating teams all over the field. It’s at it’s most dangerous then. Get Ward, Grant, Foster and Marquez all involved on some level.
- Fight Fire With Fire | I mentioned above how the running backs had success and part of being versatile means the running backs have to be a bigger part of the game plan. They’ve been really good of late and it’s a terrific way to keep teams honest, especially if they are going to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage on vertical routes.
FINDING YOUR WAY
I won’t be able to post the screenshot until I get to work Now I've been able to update with the graphic. The sobering thing with the numbers are that there were more wasted yards than yards for points last week. That should tell you everything that you need to know that despite racking up yards, they aren’t productive yards. Texas Tech, again, lost the turnover battle and it showed and Oklahoma St.’s drives were meaningful and sustained. Only 109 wasted yards for the Cowboys, which is really fantastic for them, but awful for the Texas Tech defense.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Kithuka is about to get his guns up and win that second Big 12 title.
So there you go.
pic.twitter.com/xGicbSmlry Selena Gomez repping texas tech— Alfredo Morales (@Alfredo56TTU) November 6, 2013
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.
Week 5 vs. BYE:
Week 6 vs. KU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; OG Alfredo Morales (knee/ankle) - out for game.
Week 7 vs. ISU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; OG Alfredo Morales (knee/ankle) - out for game; S J.J. Gaines (shoulder) - out during game; DE Dartwan Bush (knee) - out during game.
Week 8 vs. WVU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; S J.J. Gaines (shoulder) - out for game; DE Dartwan Bush (knee) - out for game; IR Jakeem Grant (head) - out for game; IR Carlos Thompson (undisclosed injury) - out for game; IR Sadale Foster (hip) - out for game.
Week 9 vs. OU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; S J.J. Gaines (shoulder) - out for game; DE Dartwan Bush (knee) - out for game; IR Carlos Thompson (undisclosed injury) - out for game.
Week 10 vs. OSU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - out for game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; S J.J. Gaines (shoulder) - out for game; DE Dartwan Bush (knee) - out for game; IR Carlos Thompson (undisclosed injury) - out for game; S Tre Porter (undisclosed) - out for game; OLB Terrance Bullitt (broken hand) - out for game; OG Beau Carpenter (head) - out for game; .