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Previewing Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss: Secondary

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SECONDARY

Player Ht/Wt Class Position Tackles Passes Defended Interceptions
Jamar Wall 5'10"/195 Jr. CB 59 10 2
L.A. Reed 6'2"/212 Sr. CB 19 3 0
Brent Nickerson 6'0"/195 Jr. CB 26 1 0
Darcel McBath 6'1"/196 Sr. S 70 7 6
Daniel Charbonnet 5'11"/203 Sr. S 55 6 5
Anthony Hines 6'1"/222 Sr. S 30 4 0
Jordy Rowland 6'1"/196 Sr. S 27 3 0
Franklin Mitchem 6'2"/201 So. S 15 0 0
Marshay Green 5'9"/170 Jr. CB 29 6 1
Cassius Vaughn 5'10"/185 Jr. CB 40 3 2
Dustin Mouzon 5'11"/175 Sr. CB 22 1 1
Marcus Temple 5'9"/181 Fr. CB 16 1 0
Jamarca Sanford 5'10"/200 Sr. S 80 0 0
Kendrick Lewis 5'11"/192 Jr. S 78 6 4
Johnny Brown 5'11"/207 So. S 27 0 0

Texas Tech

Darcel McBath plays offense?
Nah, he just likes interceptions.

If there's one thing that this group improved upon from last year, it's the turnovers. Granted, a number of the interceptions were early in the year, the fact that this group, as a whole has been better at creating turnovers, so much so as this year's group is on the plus side of turnover margin, something that hasn't happened in the previous 2 seasons.

In fact, for the year, the Red Raiders had more interceptions, 17, that touchdowns given up, 16. That's a pretty amazing statistic and a testament to the progress this team has made defensively. And one other thing, this team had at least 1 interception for all but 3 games this year. Turnover and play making machines.

The passing yards given up can be deceiving, Texas Tech is giving up 238.08 yards a game through the air, which is 91st in the nation, but good for 3rd in the Big 12. I think that says a little something about the Big 12 offenses, or rather offenses in the big 12 in general. They are just simply prolific.

I don't know if it's fair to say that the offense begins with one safety or another, Daniel Charbonnet or Darcel McBath and it's probably fair just to think of them as being 1.A and 1.B. in terms of importance for this team. I thought McBath did an outstanding job later in the year, displaying his athletic ability that I thought we all knew that he had, but we didn't get to see until later in the year. D. Charbonnet was/is the guy that no one thought was going to be anything special, but has turned into an all-conference player. To me, they are both absolutely integral in stopping both the run and the pass. McBath led the team with 6 interceptions for the year, 3 of those coming against Kansas while D. Charbonnet had 5 for the year, 3 of those against SMU and 1 very important one against the Longhorns.

At cornerback, L.A. Reed was supposed to be the starter from the beginning of the season, but injuries kept Reed sidelined for the beginning part of the year, which slowed his development. Brent Nickerson stepped in nicely, although he had his rough spots, most cornerbacks do, but thought he did a good job for the most part.

If you had asked me to name all of the cornerbacks that have logged significant time this year I would have surely said more than the 3 listed above, but amazingly, Ruffin McNeill relied on his deep group of safeties to help in the sub-packages.

Anthony Hines, Jordy Rowland and Franklin Mitchem each have good size, speed and experience. I think that's by design as McNeill would rather have versatile guys who can play and cover multiple positions.

Mississippi

Jamarca Sanford makes you close your eyes.

The Rebels have a little strange in their pass defense thus far. When the Rebels limit opposing teams in the passing game, they win, when they don't . . . they lose.

In Ole Miss' 8 wins, the Rebels have only allowed teams to pass at 6.1 yards/attempt, gained 12 interceptions, given up only 6 touchdowns and allowed a passer rating of 102.63. In their 4 losses it's a completely different game as Ole Miss allows 7.9 yards/attempt, only intercepted 2 passes, given up 8 touchdowns, and allowed a passer rating of 156.84. Keep in mind that of Mississippi's 4 losses, 3 came against competent passing teams in Wake Forest, South Carolina and Alabama (questionable). The other loss was Vanderbilt, which only passed for 71 yards for the game so that tended to throw off the averages a bit, although Vandy was wildly successful passing the ball when they did (a 152.20 passer rating).

Perhaps the most interesting thing as I looked up players and stats for Ole Miss was the relatively size of these guys. All of them are under 6 feet, although, quite a few of them are close, and there should inherently be some advantages for the bigger/taller Texas Tech receivers (Crabtree, Lewis, Swindall, Leong and James).

Back to the Ole Miss secondary, the Rebel secondary is mostly comprised of cornerbacks, almost the exact opposite of the methods attempted by Texas Tech. Sanford and Lewis have a majority of the tackles and interceptions and the 4 cornerbacks, Green, Vaughn, Mouzon and Temple have all logged significant time, although Green and Vaughn are the primary corners. Considering that Texas Tech will go 4-wide and I would imagine that the linebackers will see some time, Mouzon and Temple will be tested early and often.

Conclusion:

Another tough matchup to decide and as we've discussed before, this type of look at each of the units tends to favor one over another because the conferences where they play. I mentioned above each teams' passer ratings and pass defense and Ole Miss ranks 61st in pass defense (PD) and 44th in pass efficiency defense (PED). Texas Tech ranks 91st in PD and 67th in PED. Texas Tech is worse in PD than Ole Miss, but is ranked 3rd in the Big 12, while Ole Miss is better, but ranks 11th in their conference.

Team PED (Conf. Rank) PD (Conf. Rank)
Texas Tech 127.46 (3) 238.08 (3)
Mississippi 118.91 (8) 209.83 (11)

Again, it's tough comparing apples to oranges, but statistically, Ole Miss has been better defending the pass, and although these numbers don't necessarily play this out, there are some numbers that I've found that I hope to post later in the week regarding Texas Tech struggling to stop the pass.

I'm giving the nod to Ole Miss, but again, it's close.

Previous Matchups

Quarterbacks :: Running Backs :: Receiver :: Offensive Line :: Defensive Line :: Linebackers :: Secondary :: Special Teams :: Coaching

Matchup

Advantage

Quarterback

Running Back

Receivers

Offensive Line

Defensive Line

Linebacker

Secondary