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Preview: Colorado v. Texas Tech

v.
The Colorado Buffaloes (4-4, 2-2) v. The Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-2, 2-2)
October 27, 2007 @ 11:00 a.m.
Television:
ABC
Radio:
Texas Tech Affiliates
Gamecast:
CSTV
ESPN
Fox Sports
Weather:
Lubbock, Texas
Texas Tech Statistic Colorado
70.25 Rushing Offense 133.33
487.50 Passing Offense 247.13
557.75 Total Offense 380.25
45.00 Scoring Offense 24.63
169.38 Rushing Defense 129.50
182.50 Pass Defense 201.00
166.79 Passing Efficiency Defense 117.23
351.88 Total Defense 330.50
23.13 Scoring Defense 23.75

This should be an interesting matchup as both teams look to get above .500 in conference wins. This has the looks to be one of those games where it would be easy to focus on the outstanding defense by Colorado versus the Texas Tech offense, but I think I'm a little more interested in how the Texas Tech defense will stop a struggling Colorado offense. Let's go:

WHEN TEXAS TECH HAS THE BALL:

We need to see much more of this on Saturday against the Buffaloes (Texas Tech wide receiver Edward Britton (27) catches a 68-yard pass for a touchdown as Missouri's Carl Gettis defends during the second quarter of a college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)).
Statistical Leaders Texas Tech
Passing Graham Harrell: 302 Comp., 416 Att., 3,548 Yds., 32 TD, 7 Int.
Rushing Shannon Woods: 84 Att., 439 Yds., 8 TD
Kobey Lewis: 31 Att., 116., 2 TD
Receiving Michael Crabtree: 88 Rec., 1,320 Yds., 17 TD
Danny Amendola: 71 Rec., 849 Yds., 5 TD
Eric Morris: 37 Rec., 397 Yds., 4 TD
Ed Britton: 21 Rec., 307 Yds., 2 TD
Statistical Leaders Colorado
Tackles Jordon Dizon: 101
Daniel Dykes: 57
Brad Jones: 53
Sacks George Hypolite: 3.5
Jordon Dizon: 3
Brandon Nicolas: 2
Interceptions Terrence Wheatley: 2
4 tied with 1: Daniel Dykes
Alonzo Barrett, Ryan Walters,
and Jordan Dizon

EDITOR'S NOTE: We're going to mix things up a little bit this week, partly because I'm a little short on time as I will be heading out of town on Friday night to go to the game and I need to spend a little time with the wife. Such is life.

Five Things:

  1. Establish a Running Game: I know, it's a crazy concept, but I'd love to see Leach get Woods some consistent carries throughout the game. Here's the problem, Dizon is a tackling machine and if you don't think that his presence will have an effect on the running game then you are sorely mistaken. The offensive line is going to have to step it up a bit and create some space for Woods. Much was made of the "Wall of Lubbock" last week, but let's see some of this size and height pay off in creating huge holes for Woods.
  2. More Creative Play Calling: This can be such a chicken-and-the-egg argument, is it the play calling or is it Harrell. Leach gives his quarterbacks so much freedom to make the right call. That being said, I'd still like to see a little more than just Harrell dropping back to pass it to a receiver finding a soft spot in the zone. Let's see Harrell take some shots down the field, lateral screens, shovel passes, etc. One other point about Harrell is that I do think he tends to get comfortable with a certain read. Just like anything else in life, sometimes we take the more comfortable route because we know it's safe, but I think Harrell needs to trust his receivers and let the ball fly. I don't want recklessness, but I'd like to see a controlled aggression on the part of Harrell in getting the ball down the field. I don't have any doubt that Leach feels the same way, and we can expect to see a much more creative offense this week.
  3. Give Harrell More Time: Do you think Colorado is going to do the same thing that Missouri did to Texas Tech last week? If I were Hawkins I sure as hell would, so now it's up to the offensive line to give Harrell time to look downfield. Colorado is going to blitz like there's no tomorrow so the line and Woods, if he's helping, had better be ready.
  4. Get Crabtree in the Endzone: Seems like I should say I want Crabtree in the endzone if he's open and Harrell doesn't force the ball. Nope, not at all. I want Crabtree in the freaking endzone. The kid is a playmaker and if given the opportunity, he's going to make plays, let's let him. In other words, I want Crabtree to exert his dominance on the football field and yes, that sounds dirty, but it wasn't intended to be. Let it go.
  5. Move the Receivers: It seemed like the only catch caught in stride with a receiver where said receiver could race down the field was the Britton touchdown catch. Whether it be Amendola, Morris, Lewis (who by the way is edging out Grant Walker almost completely in terms of playing time) or Crabtree, Harrell needs to hit these receivers in stride rather than have them "post-up" in a soft spot of the zone. Let's get these guys moving a little bit and force the issue with the defense try to cover all of these guys while on the run.

WHEN COLORADO HAS THE BALL:

Let's hope Duncan makes defenders fall to the ground a little more often (Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, bottom, scrambles for a short gain before being stopped by Texas Tech linebacker Brian Duncan, top, during the second quarter of a college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)).
Statistical Leaders Colorado
Passing Cody Hawkins: 172 Comp., 304 Att., 1,967 Yds., 13 TD, 14 Int.
Rushing Hugh Charles: 97 Att., 561 Yds., 3 TD
Demetrius Sumler: 89 Att., 310 Yds., 4 TD
Brian Lockridge: 29 Att., 130 Yds., 1 TD
Receiving Scott McKnight: 33 Rec., 387 Yds., 2 TD
Josh Smith: 15 Rec., 343 Yds., 0 TD
Tyson Devree: 20 Rec., 235 Yds., 5 TD
Statistical Leaders Texas Tech
Tackles Paul Williams: 46
Joe Garcia: 48
Marlon Williams: 47
Sacks Brandon Williams: 3.5
Rajon Henley: 2.5
Colby Whitlock: 2.0
Daniel Howard: 2.0
Interceptions Jamar Wall: 4
Darcel McBath: 1
Daniel Charbonnet: 1
Anthony Hines: 1

Five things:

  1. Stop the Run, At All Costs: This needs to be the new mantra of the defense, at least for this week. Stop the run, at all costs. They need to repeat it in their sleep. This is especially true with Colorado who is struggling a bit on the offensive side of the ball, in particular passing the ball. Hugh Charles is talented, but as Kansas showed last week, he was only able to manage 40 yards and the team only rushed for 105. Stop the run.
  2. Force Hawkins to Beat You: Cody Hawkins isn't exactly lighting it up through the air, so Coach McNeill and the entire staff needs to make sure that the focus on Saturday needs to stopping the run (see, I'm repeating it too, it's already in your head) and if we're going to get beat, let it be Hawkins, who attempted 44 passes last week and only completed 27 for 287 yards. Additionally, Hawkins only has 13 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, so it's not as if he's hitting receivers for scores.
  3. Keep Colorado Receivers in Front of You: Taking a look at the Colorado receiving numbers, there doesn't seem to be a game-breaker among them, which means that Wall, Parker and Richardson would be doing well if they could continue with their sure-tackling as well as making sure to keep the receivers in front of you. They haven't shown a propensity to beat any other team deep, so there's no reason to start now.
  4. Defensive Ends Stay at Home: Although I haven't seen a bunch of Colorado this year, I'd imagine that Cody Hawkins is good enough to scramble for first down yardage if the defensive ends rush up the field. Perhaps Daniel Howard returns on Sunday which would give Jake Ratliff, Brandon Williams and to a certain extent Sandy Riley a little more time off. Despite who plays on Saturday, these guys have got to make sure and do their job. Yes, we want you to get to the quarterback, but we also don't want Hawkins running all of the place either.
  5. Create Turnovers: So cliche, but so true. Last week I thought that the tide was going to change in Texas Tech's favor with Daniel's fumble (it was later recovered by MU) and Wall's interception. Myself, along with the rest of you, would love to see more turnovers to go with this swarming and more aggressive defense. Let's win the turnover battle and win the game.

PREDICTION: This is where this group has to show that they are good enough to beat a quality opponent at home. Colorado is not going to be an easy victory and Texas Tech had better be ready for a fight - Texas Tech 38, Colorado 21.