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Texas Tech v. Minnesota - Coaching

We've worked our way through all of the match-ups and the last one before game day is Coaching.  Here is a review of all of the previous match-ups:


Minnesota:  Glen Mason

Most of the information  I've gathered about Coach Glen Mason is from my SBNation brother, Black Shoe Diaries.  Glen Mason has amassed a career record of 123-120 and a 64-56 record at Minnesota.  In just looking at recent history, Minnesota likes to run the ball, with former running back stalwarts, Lawrence Maroney and Marion Barber, III leading the charge.  I do not believe that Pinnix has this type of talent, but lets look at what BSD has to say about the offense:

The Gopher offensive attack is very well balanced. With the right play calling they might be able to keep the Lions guessing. Spaeth is an excellent tight end. Good tight ends have had success against Penn State this year as the Lions tend to try to cover them one-on-one with Posluszny. It seemed Poz was chasing the tight end all day against Notre Dame. Minnesota's offensive line is pretty good, but they have dropped off this year as have the running backs without Maroney and Russell. Michigan did an ok job of containing the run holding the Gophers to 81 yards on the ground using just the front seven. I think Penn State can have similar success and should be able to hold the Gophers to around 100 yards rushing. Their wide receivers are good and will pose a challenge to the undersized Penn State corners. In my opinion this matchup will play a huge part in determining the winner of the game.

As we've figured out going through the roster, this team is just okay, it's not great at any one facet of the game, they're just okay.  Minnesota is also without one of their best weapons, TE Matt Spaeth and recently lost their left tackle.

BSD has this to say about the Minnesota defense:

The Penn State offensive line is hurting and not very deep. But still they should have success against an undersized and inexperienced defensive line. Minnesota is going to stack the box with 8 men like they did against Cal and Michigan. If I was the opposing defensive coordinator and I saw Anthony Morelli at QB and Tony Hunt at RB I would do the same thing. They will force Morelli to beat them and try to take Hunt out of the game. So early on we should see single coverage on either Butler or Williams and I expect the Lions to take a shot deep in their first three plays to stretch the defense. The corners proved they cannot handle guys like Manningham and Arrington from Michigan and DeSean Jackson from Cal who burned them for 3 TD. The big plays will be there and Penn State must hit them to force the Gophers to spread out and open up the run.

Obviously, Penn St. and Tech are as polar opposite as two teams can be, and the team that's closest to Tech in style is Northwestern, but those two teams did not play each other this year.  Minnesota will not stack 8 in the box against Tech, and it will be interesting to see how they adjust.  I'd look for something unusual from Minnesota, they've got nothing to lose here.

Texas Tech:  Mike Leach

Mike Leach is a free wheeling offensive guru, who isn't afraid to take chances.  Offensively, Leach calls his own plays and is more heavily involved in calling offensive plays than most coaches and literally has nothing to do with the defensive play calling.  If you've never read Michael Lewis's incredible New York Times article on Mike Leach, "Coach Leach Goes Deep, Very Deep" then please do so now, it will help you understand how Leach works within a given game.  

Tech is stereotyped as a "dink and dunk" offense, and we know, it is much more complicated than short passes to wide receivers and running backs.  The offense always runs more efficiently when the QB is able to take some chances down the field.  

Defensively, Tech runs a 4-3 and Lyle Setencich has formed a traditionally dismal unit into respectable.  Personally, I always want them to be better than what they are, but I suppose that this is just wishful thinking more than anything else, at least right now.

Setencich has made a habit of rotating the defensive line this year and I feel like it's made quite a bit of difference in getting pressure to the opposing QB.  The linebackers haven't been bad, but they haven't been good either and the secondary has a tendency to get beat deep, but for the most part they play very well as a unit.

Advantage:  Texas Tech.

Overall, and without a doubt, I give the clear advantage to Texas Tech.  I generally don't like to predict mud-hole stomping scores because I feel like it's bad luck, but give me Texas Tech 42-17 over Minnesota.  

Go Raiders . . .