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Defensive Matchups | Texas Tech Red Raiders Defense vs. Colorado Buffaloes Offense

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TEXAS TECH | So many changes, it's tough to really figure them all out. What I do know is that the defense needs help and it needs someone to make plays. This unit is bodering on desperate in terms of getting something, anything, from a defense that is simply hemoraging in the pass defense. The coaching staff has done just about everything they can do to figure this out, short of moving incumbent S Cody Davis to the bench. In the secondary's two-deep, there is one senior, CB LaRon Moore, one junior, S Brent Dewhurst, and the rest are sophomores, redshirt freshmen and freshmen. It's even gotten to the point that walk-on CB Eugen Neboh, is on the two-deep at secondary. Slim-pickings. And this is a pass defense that is almost at the very bottom of the NCAA's ranked 117th in the nation in pass defense.

And with ILB Terrance Bullitt now out because of a broken hand, the defense suddenly gets not as youthful as Tyrone Sonier takes his place. This of course means that the defense also isn't going to be as quick, but then again, Colorado is a pretty good running team, so maybe it's beneficial to have Sonier on the field. Of course alternatively, it's also feasible that it's discouraging that Sonier is getting passed over by a redshirt freshman. Tuberville also mentioned that Tahrick Peak and Dartwan Bush would be seeing time this week. It's actually pretty amazing to see how the depth on this team has just been sapped from injuries, although the truth is that both Julius Howard and Bront Bird are still starting. It's the guys behind the starters that's the problem.

And the defensive line is probably in the worst shape. I have no idea how many plays Bobbie Agoucha can actually play. If I had to guess, I'm thinking that maybe he can play 30 or 40. He's probably just not in game-shape to play an entire game. But make no mistake, he is a classic 3-4 nose-guard, something that DT Colby Whitlock was doing a pretty good job at, but Agoucha's job isn't to get any headlines or make really any plays. His job is to take up double-teams and be an immovable force. I'm also on board with moving Donald Langley to exclusively defensive end. He's about the same size as Scott Smith, although he hasn't shown the tenacity that Smith did. Could really use some fire from the other end. One other note as far as the line is concerned. Dartwan Bush is backing up OLB Brian Duncan, but Tuberville mentioned specifically Christopher Knighton as a guy that could see some time. If I had to guess, it's going to be between Duncan, Bush and Knighton trying to make something out of nothing on the edges.

COLORADO | Offensively, the Buffs are getting better, in particular at running the ball. And the splits between rushing at home and away are staggering, 226 yards rushing at home and 83 yards on the road. And yes, Texas Tech is playing on the road. The difference in wins vs. losses (same link) is also pretty staggering, i.e. when the Buffs average 200 yards, then they win, rush for an average of 100 and they lose. Thankfully, Texas Tech actually is okay for a rush defense (53rd in the nation) and it's going to be interesting to see if moving Colby Whitlock over to defensive tackle and Bobbie Agoucha to nose guard will help improve that rush defense.

A big part of the Colorado rushing offense is diminuitive RB Rodney Stewart, who despite his size is averaging just a shade over 100 yards a game. Second leading rusher Brian Lockridge was hurt recently and is out at least this week for Texas Tech, so Stewart is going to have to carry the load.

I mentioned that LT Nate Solder was one of the more impressive players on Colorado's team during the summer and that's still the case. Solder is huge (6-9/315) and he's fairly athletic as you would expect a lot of left tackles to be. Defensively, I'm not sure how this is going to work except that DE Donald Langley should be lined up in front of Solder and right now, the depth chart has LB Sam Fehoko as Langley's backup. It just doesn't seem plausible to think that Fehoko is going to be able to get around Solder. Joining Solder on the line is LG Ethan Adkins, C Mike Iltis, RG Ryan Miller and RT David Bakhtiari. The Buffs have given up 2.67 sacks a game, and although I'm sure some of this is on the line, I'd guess that like most quarterback situations, some of it is on the the quarterback.

QB Tyler Hansen has been okay thus far. Not awful, but not great. Looks to be more like a game-manager rather than a guy trying to lead the offense. Hansen is completing 66% of his passes, has thrown 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. I'm also sure that the folks in Boulder would love to see Hansen make more plays and he's only averaging 6.8 yards per attempt. Maybe the Colorado pass offense is the tonic for the Texas Tech pass defense. WR Scotty McKnight is senior receiver for Colorado, leading the team in catches, yards and touchdowns. Also in the mix are fellow WR Toney Clemons (18 catches), TE Ryan Deehan (16 catches), RB Stewart (15 catches) and WR Travon Patterson (15 catches). So yes, Colorado likes to spread the ball around and Texas Tech will hopefully figure out how to cover a tight end (i.e. see Iowa St.).

LT Nate Solder vs. DE Donald Langley

Despite substituting in at defensive end quite a bit, Lanley isn't making a ton of plays on the edge or at defensive tackle. Perhaps the permanent move of Langley to defensive tackle is an attempt to get Langley in space to make some plays. Unfortunately, Langley is lining up against one of the better tackles in the country in Solder and he's going to have his hands full. Rather than Fehoko, perhaps you see DT Myles Wade make an appearance at the defensive end position to give Langley a break. I mentioned this above, but Lanley has to help get some pressure on the quarterback. Duncan can't do it alone. Since the SMU game, the sacks are slowly but surely decreasing: 5.0; 4.0; 3.0; 2.0; 1.0; and 1.0. This is where teams miss playmakers.

BOBBIE AGOUCHA
Position Nose Guard
Year RS Junior
Height/Weight 6-4/341
Stats 0 Tackles | 0.0 TFL | 0.0 Sacks

I never thought that a guy that didn't have any statstics 6 games into the season would be a player to spotlight. Seriously, those statistics are accurate. No tackles. No sacks. No tackles for loss. For those of you that don't know who Agoucha is, he was signed as a part of the 2007 recruiting class, was suspended from the Texas Tech team in 2008 and eventually dismissed (maybe in 2009). There have always been rumblings that Agoucha was from a very rough up-bringing and hasn't had the easiest life. I'm not sure what that means and I don't want to speculate. Agoucha's profile at Texas Tech has no mention of Agoucha's life in 2008 and he did get back into football in 2009, playing at Eastern Arizona College. Now, Agoucha, after a year of not even playing in 2008, racking up 21 tackles in JUCO in 2009, finds himself starting at nose guard for Texas Tech. I don't know if I'm alone on this, but I cheer for guys like Agoucha when I probably shouldn't and the odds are that he doesn't make much of an impact, but I'm hoping that Agoucha has figured things out in his personal life and that he wrecks the Colorado offensive line.