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Texas Tech v. Virginia: Secondary

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This is a series of positional reviews for the matchup between Texas Tech and Virginia at 12:00 p.m. on January 1, 2008 in the Gator Bowl, Jacksonville Florida. I'd also like to give a huge hat-tip to College Football Statistics, who without, these stats would be impossible. Thank you.

Prior Previews:

Secondary: Perhaps the closes position of this series of previews. The difference is that the Big 12 is more of a passing offense where the ACC is not. When we compared the season statistics for Texas Tech and Virginia as well as the Big 12 and the ACC, the ACC passed for almost 80 less yards a game, yet the Red Raiders gave up less than 200 yards a game. Let's get to the review.

*PBU = Passes Broken Up

Texas Tech Ht/Wt Position Tackles TFL Int PBU
Darcel McBath, #7 6-1/196 S 72 0.5 2 6
Joe Garcia, #49 6-1/222 S 74 6.0 0 2
Jamar Wall, #3 5-10 CB 50 0.0 5 5
Chris Parker, #17 5-11/178 CB 36 0.0 1 11
Daniel Charbonnet, #10 5-11/195 S 34 1.0 1 2
Marcus Bunton, #1 5-8/196 CB 25 0.0 0 2
Anthony Hines, #23 6-1/212 S 24 1.0 1 4
Lance Fuller, #24 6-2/222 S 9 1.0 0 0
Steven Harris, #41 5-11/190 S 9 0.0 0 0
LaRon Moore, #28 5-9/186 CB 8 0.0 0 0
Jordy Rowland, #38 6-1/199 S 7 0.0 0 0

I'm not sure what it is, but this is the 4th year in a row that Texas Tech has held its opponents under 200 yards passing per game, which I think is saying something about the staff and the talent that's been available in the defensive backfield for quite some time.

Texas Tech's worst game came against Oklahoma where they gave up over 300 yards passing and as far as touchdowns are concerned, gave up 4 to the Longhorns.

As I try to figure out the best methodology of evaluating how to judge a secondary, it occurs to me that playing in the secondary and having success is based, more or less, on situations, or more specifically situations in the actual game. Once again, via cfbstats:

Situation Passer Rating Pct.
1st Down 108.69 52.0
2nd Down 125.61 62.8
3rd Down 106.05 47.0
3rd Down, 1-3 To Go 90.16 53.8
3rd Down, 4-6 To Go 113.64 60.0
3rd Down, 7-9 To Go 110.43 49.8
3rd Down, 10+ To Go 100.20 28.6
4th Down 254.77 69.2

So it goes without saying that any opponent is likely to have the highest passer rating on 2nd down as it is typically the down where a team will pass the most, present company excluded. Naturally, Texas Tech's worst passer rating is on 2nd down (other than 4th down).

The thing that impresses me is the dramatic decrease in passer rating in 3rd down, especially 3rd and long where it appears that this group really locks down on their opponent. A 28.6% completion rate, no matter how you cut that when a team has to have a completion is impressive. I'll take that any day of the week.

Despite the performance, I think that this will be something to consider against Virginia. Sewell isn't the best passing quarterback and in 3rd Down with 10+ yards to go, Sewell only completes 50% of his passes with a passer rating of 90.48 and on 3rd Down with 7-9 yards to go Sewell completes only 56.6% of his passes with a 102.60 passer rating.

One other thing, I certainly do take requests and DTN reader Tech92 asked what was the averaged yards per completion for Virginia and the average yards given up for each completion. Ask and ye shall receive. Texas Tech gave up 11.42 yards per completion (2006: 11.13; 2005: 10.40; and 2004: 11.15) while Virginia only averaged 10.45 yards per completion. Yep, I too find it interesting that Texas Tech gives up more yards per completion that Virginia completes, but once again, I think this is because the Big 12 is a more offensive conference.

Virginia Ht/Wt Position Tackles TFL Int PBU
Byron Glaspy, #22 5-11/196 S 66 2.0 1 3
Nate Lyles, #30 6-0/199 S 57 4.5 0 2
Vic Hall, #4 5-9/181 CB 50 0.0 1 3
Chris Cook, #26 6-2/201 CB 39 1.0 1 6
Ras-I Dowling, #19 6-2/180 CB 37 0.0 2 7
Jamaal Jackson, #27 6-3/219 S 34 0.0 1 4
Mike Parker, #43 6-2/195 CB 24 0.0 0 3
Trey Womack, #1 5-11/176 CB 11 0.0 0 0
Brandon Woods, #17 6-2/215 S 6 0.0 0 1

Let's take a look at similar stats for Virginia. Remember that Virginia didn't face an offense like Texas Tech's so it's going to be somewhat difficult to make a certain comparison, but at the very least it's an indicator.

Situation Passer Rating Pct.
1st Down 114.74 57.4
2nd Down 122.17 59.4
3rd Down 121.02 54.5
3rd Down, 1-3 To Go 111.57 54.2
3rd Down, 4-6 To Go 110.03 47.6
3rd Down, 7-9 To Go 107.94 64.3
3rd Down, 10+ To Go 157.38 55.2
4th Down 132.24 60.0

If this says anything about Virginia it's that they are consistent. They are not outstanding in any one category and they aren't horrible either. Because this group really hasn't faced a team like Texas Tech it's difficult to determine exactly how they will prepare or if these statistics will even mean very much.

Once again, their worst game, at least from a passer rating standpoint were the following:

  • Wyoming (253 yards and 139.86 passer rating)
  • North Carolina (339 yards and 161.52 passer rating)
  • North Carolina State (347 yards and 137.05 passer rating)
  • Wake Forest (175 yards and 138.46 passer rating)
  • Virginia Tech (299 yards and 166.99 passer rating)

Long story short Virginia was 2-3 against those teams that were successful passing the ball and just for grins and giggles, Texas Tech and Graham Harrell averaged for the year a 159.62 passer rating. Virginia struggled when they had to play passing teams and those teams that didn't pass at all, they completely dominated, probably in part because their rush defense was so dominant.

Finally, again for Tech92, Virginia gave up an average 11.52 yards per completion, while Texas Tech averaged 11.41. Does anyone else find it amazing that Texas Tech averaged over 11 yards a completion? Thank you Michael Crabtree.

Conclusion: The Texas Tech secondary is just better at what they do. Give me the Red Raiders here.