VTM Roundtable: The Future at Defensive Coordinator; Replacing Amaro and Ward

This remains to be the only photo of Mike Smith in the SB Nation photo editor. - Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Thinking down the road, who is next at defensive coordinator, does Texas Tech have the players to replace Jace Amaro and Eric Ward, plus one thing to do for a football game.

1. I'm making a big assumption here, but that's what we do. Assuming that Matt Wallerstedt has a lot of success here and is able to turn his defensive coordinator job to a head coaching job, who on the staff do you think is best suited to be the next defensive coordinator?

LoneStarRedRaider: I would say that Mike Smith would be the next man up as current co-defensive coordinator. His loyalty to Tech and Lubbock would be a great asset.

Travis Hale: I'll go with Occam's Razor and say Mike Smith. NFL experience, already Co-DC, well positioned to take Wally's place when the time comes.

kevinkinsler: I don't see why Mike Smith wouldn't me option numero uno. He would be well suited to continue our trend of keeping "homegrown" coaches in important places, furthering all of our efforts.

DoubleTFaithful: I would think Mike Smith would be the most probable one on the current staff to be promoted and take over. He's got the Co-DC title now with Wallerstedt and he has some pretty good experience.

MikeTTU: Mike Smith, no question. Mike Smith has experience not only in college football but also on the pro level when he was the linebackers coach for Defensive Guru Rex Ryan and his Gang Green Defense. I personally think him and Dick Lebeau are the best defensive minds in the game today, and I would be thrilled to have a Ryan protege to be coaching Texas Tech's defense. The mixture of blitzes, schemes and players while in New York worked against some of the leagues best offenses, including the Patriots. Mike Smith would definitely be my choice to replace Wallerstedt

Seth C: I'm the last person that gets to see all of the answers and I'm in agreement with everybody else about it being Mike Smith. In fact, I wrote a fairly lengthy post about it, but before I posted it, I wanted to see if I had similar thoughts to everyone else.  Expect that post soon.

2. There's been a lot of talk recently about how it will be darned near impossible to replace the production of TE Jace Amaro and WR Eric Ward. Do you think that Texas Tech has the players to replace that sort of production?

LoneStarRedRaider: There aren't very many proven guys on the receiving corp outside of Grant and Marquez, but I have a feeling that Tech will turn out a few new faces who will surprise everyone. I'll go ahead and boldly proclaim that DJ Polite-Bray will be one of those guys.

Travis Hale: I think the offense has a chance to be much more dynamic this year with the young guys on the receiving corps. It was great to have Amaro and Ward last year, but the offense became one dimensional at times last year, particularly with Amaro. Not that that was a bad thing, but we should see a better mix of spreading the ball around this year which will hopefully keep defenses on their heels.

kevinkinsler: Yes, but mostly only as a function of the growth of Davis Webb. He's going to find someone to throw the ball too, and as long as he's accurate and smart those yards will get made up somewhere. I do worry about replacing Amaro particularly as a 'matchup nightmare', while I'm not sure that Ward would draw that sort of description, so I'm much less worried about yards from wideouts.

DoubleTFaithful: Does Tech have the players to replace Amaro and Ward's production straight up, 2 for 2? I don't think so. I do think the offensive (passing) numbers across the board will be better; more yards, more TDs, higher YPA/YPC. I believe we will see a more balanced distribution this season leading to higher numbers. Side note: Jakeem Grant very quietly caught 800 yards and 7 TDs last season.

MikeTTU: Absolutely. No disrespect to Amaro and Ward, they were great Red Raiders and played great for Tech, but Tech has one of the deepest WR cores in college football. Reginald Davis is so athletic and has the ability to create his own plays. DJ Polite Bray can makes plays deep down the field and is still relatively unknown to everyone across the Big XII. Plus, Davis Webb is improved, entering his second season more confident and ready to become a breakout player in the Big XII. This offense won't lose a step in 2014.

Seth C: I sorta get the vibe that everyone thinks that the cupboard is bare after Amaro and Ward are gone and that's just not the case.  There's actually a pretty good amount of talent in the receiving corps and if there was one position where I wasn't worried about production, this would be it.  And this isn't a case where Texas Tech has a 6-5/260 tight end waiting in the wings, like Amaro. I'm not talking about replacing his actual specific talent, but there are other players that are very capable of producing in other ways.

3. If a fan from an opposing team asks you what is the one thing that you should do while in Lubbock for a Saturday football game (they are obviously going to the game, so you may not suggest this) what would you recommend?

LoneStarRedRaider: Let's assume it's late in the fall and that this fan has a family... in that case, I would recommend The Maize. It would be a blast for the kids as well as the adults. Wander through this year's maize maze, take a hayride, shoot a corn cannon, or just enjoy a hot chocolate and a brisket wrap as the sun sets on the South Plains.

Travis Hale: Man, I'm so far removed from the scene in Lubbock so I'll just have to recommend a visit to blackbeard's tailgate and perhaps a scenic stroll through downtown New Deal.

kevinkinsler: Bar-hop on Broadway. Hopefully they aren't attending an 11 am kickoff.

DoubleTFaithful: I would suggest they take a campus tour, and if time permits, a tour of Lubbock. Day in and day out we hear that Lubbock doesn't have anything to offer. And chances are, the people that are saying have never stepped foot in the 806. I have heard plenty of stories where someone was completely blown away by just walking through campus to get to the stadium.

MikeTTU: I really don't go out during football games. I usually just chill with some friends for a while then get to the game early so I can get close seats for the game, so honestly, I don't know a whole bunch about the paying gameday experience. However, I do enjoy eating at Spanky's a lot, and everyone I ate there with enjoyed it also. Burgers, Sandwiches, Fried Cheese, and for those old enough, alcohol. That's all I can suggest

Seth C: I somewhat stumped myself on this one as I really couldn't think of any one thing to do. The game takes up so much of the day, especially given the terrific tailgating scene at Jones AT&T Stadium.  If money wasn't an option and they were there a day before, it's got to be going upstairs to go to the stadium dining at the Texas Tech Club. That's just a really cool scene.

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