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Q & A With Bring On The Cats

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Thanks to Bring On The Cats for answering a few questions for DTN.

DTN: What's the BOTC fear factor for Texas Tech (1 being not afraid at all and 10 being all-get-out afraid)?

BOTC: Can I say 11? Seriously, it's off the charts. Our defense is terrible right now, and we're about to face one of the most potent offenses in the country. Granted, our defense was "engineered" -- that's entirely too weighty a word for what our DC is doing -- to stop spread offenses, but I really don't think we can stop anyone who can successfully execute a handoff right now. While I hate losing games, I loathe seeing my team get embarrassed, especially at home. I fear that this may be just such a game.

DTN: Much has been made on BOTC about the pourous run defense, what's the cause and effect? Could it be a result of trying to integrate too many JUCO recruits?

BOTC: I think me, Panjandrum and EMAW could write an entire dissertation on the cause and effect of our poor run defense. The gist of it is bad schemes, poor tackling and undersized personnel. For some reason, our coaching staff decided last year that the 3-4 was a good idea, despite the fact that less than 1 percent (that's an imaginary statistic) of competent football teams run such a scheme. Our blitzes fool nobody and our players aren't sure where they're supposed to be.

Next up is poor tackling. We have a lot of players who go for a "hit" without even attempting to wrap up. Others simply think they can arm tackle the ball carrier. Still others don't seem to grasp the idea that the goal of defense is to get the knee of the other team's ball carrier on the ground.

Finally, our defensive front is, for the most part, not very big. Daniel Calvin is a big guy in the middle, but with only three down linemen, we constantly have linebackers on the line of scrimmage, and I just know opposing offensive linemen are licking their chops to get a shot at 210 pound linebackers on running plays.

You brought up the integration of JuCos, and I see that woven through all the problems described above. Granted, the schematics side of it is mostly a coaching problem, but some of that problem is that we have a lot of players who only have a month or so in the system, rather than those with a year or two. That can't help with getting into position on the field. But where I think the JuCo problems are most pronounced is in the poor tackling fundamentals. These JuCo guys have always been the biggest, fastest, strongest guys on the field. They're used to being able to level other players with devastating hits or pull them down with arm tackles. Now that they're up against bigger, stronger faster players, they can't do so anymore. As K-Staters, we can only hope the adage that the best thing about young players is that they turn into, uhh, less-young players.

DTN: What should we expect from the K-State offense? Lots of Josh Freeman, but not much else?

BOTC: We maybe, juuuuuust maybe, have found something at running back. Lamark Brown is a freakish athlete who we have been playing at wide receiver. After last week's debacle -- 12 carries for 30 yards -- against Louisville, the coaching staff moved Brown to running back. He responded by running for 100+ yards and more than 4 yards per carry. Those numbers are almost unheard of in the Ron Prince era.

Still, it's no secret that Josh Freeman is the golden god man-mountain at the center of Ron Prince's universe, and quite possibly the only thing that's keeping him off a seventh-circle of hell hotseat right now. When Freeman releases his passes, you'll see quite a bit of Brandon Banks, who is almost certainly the smallest football player in FBS, and quite possibly one of the best receivers. I've just been hoping all season that he doesn't end up on the receiving end of a wicked hit from a BCS-level safety, which we've never seen from a Texas Tech defensive back.

Texas Tech Dwayne Slay (via edust25)


Or Not

DTN: Ian Campbell was/is a tremendous player, who seemed to do worse as a result of a position and defense change, how is he progressing and do you expect that he'll get back to his 2006 statistics?

BOTC: In short, no. The 3-4 is a dumb idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of those being its de-emphasis of Campbell, who is easily our best defensive player. In 2006, running a 4-3 defense, Campbell led the Big 12 in sacks. The last two years, running a 3-4 and even playing outside linebacker -- which itself should have been enough reason to fire Prince and Raheem Morris -- he hasn't come close to his 2006 numbers. He's not anywhere close to those numbers again this year, and honestly I'll be surprised if he ends the season with more than a handful of sacks. He is being misused in the most heinous manner.

DTN: Kansas State beats Texas Tech on Saturday becase . . .

BOTC: Umm, all of Tech's starters come down with food poisoning? That's about the only way I can see Tech losing. As you posted on Monday, Seth, Vegas only has Tech as a seven-point favorite, which leads me to think they see something that this cynical fan doesn't, but what the hell is it? Do they think Captain Leach is going to stubbornly stick to the passing game when the entire Western world, not to mention some of the uneducated world that thinks "soccer" is superior to "football," can see that the easiest way to beat K-State is to run the ball straight at them? Do they think Tech is going to get lost on its way out of Lubbock? I have no idea!!!

The only real question to me in this game is whether Leach will suddenly become a merciful, caring despot, and will call off the dogs after the Red Raiders score their 70th point. Unlike the line, and possibly the over/under, that is something I would not bet on.