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Late Night Ruffin McNeill Thoughts

I haven't had time to watch the game on DVR, but have noticed in the comments of the open game day thread and other places that defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill didn't blitz enough during the game, or perhaps the defense wasn't aggressive enough against Ole Miss. If blitzing against Ole Miss means that the corners are playing on an island, then this seems like it would be an awful idea.

Sure, it has the potential to be great, but the way that Snead seemed to be completing every long pass with help would have simply carried over if McNeill had blitzed and the Ole Miss receivers would have been in single coverage. Remember too that McNeill was pretty short-handed as well, without McBath and Wall meant that he was playing guys that he probably never intended on playing.

Not to mention, if McNeill blitzes and Texas Tech continued to display the inability to stop the run, that's one less defender to save a potential McCluster touchdown run as he and Bolden seemed to regularly be in the Texas Tech defensive backfield.

Maybe I'm too conservative too, but I don't blame McNeill at all for not wanting to blitz, especially when the corners had not shown any ability to turn around and knock down a pass or two and two of four starters in his secondary were essentially out for the game.

Granted, there's the possibility that the blitz would have gotten to Snead created a little bit of pressure, but I think the game-plan starts with Leach and McNeill. As much as we like to think that Leach is very hands-off regarding the defense, I do think he has input about the overall game plan and there isn't a defense that Leach doesn't think that he eventually won't score against. I'm convinced that McNeill's job is to keep it close.

I'm not ready to give up on McNeill (I seem to be developing a pattern about giving up on coaches) as I thought the defense did make some pretty big strides defensively this year, but having the right type of players and athletes will make a coach either look like an absolute genius or completely incompetent.

As much as we might think it's about scheme, I tend to think it's about talent more than anything else. In fact, I'm inclined to believe that this is a huge reason why McNeill has made such a huge push to recruit defensive backs in this year's class that are all excellent at coverage and can play on an island. Everyone of the defensive back recruits are over 6'0" and all have better than average speed. Personally, I think McNeill wants to play a more attacking style of defense, but again, it comes down to talent and right now, it's better than most teams in the Big 12, but it's not upper tier yet either.

We'll have a lot more on the direction of the defense once we get a little further into the offseason, including progress in regards to recruits and how responsible McNeill should be for Setencich's recruits.

It's goint to be a long offseason