TEXAS TECH RUSH DEFENSE VS. OKLAHOMA RUSH OFFENSE | Texas Tech continues to be pretty good at stopping the run. Not great, but good. Obviously, when you allow a 69 and 71 yard runs, that's going to hurt your average, but after those two dismal plays, the defense allowed 120 yards on 29 carries. That's not all that bad. The defensive tackles continue to be Colby Whitlock and Pearlie Graves with Donald Langley and Brian Duncan at defensive end. These were your starters, but Missouri saw more 3-man fronts than this 4-man front for a good part of the game. For what seemed like a lifetime, your defensive line consisted of Whitlock, Duncan and Sam Fehoko. The 4-man front averages 275 pounds while the 3-man front averages 258 pounds. I can't imagine that if OU sees that 3-man front, they're going to just let DeMarco Murray run wild. And OU is capable of running wild, rushing for 325 yards against Iowa St., but also has sub 100 yard games against Florida St., Cincinnati, Missouri and Texas A&M. Murray has always been a really good player, but I never thought of him as a powerback, but a true NFL third down back, in a lot of ways similar to Baron Batch, but with more speed.
The OU offensive line will essentially return intact next year, with the exception of RT Eric Mensik, but LT Donald Stephenson, LG Gave Ikard, C Ben Habern and RG Tyler Evans will all return. Behind this offensive line, the Sooners are only 80th in the nation in rushing offense, somewhat of a surprise to me, averaging only 138 yards a game. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised at anything anymore at this point of the season.
More good-strong after the jump.
I mentioned this after last week's game was that Bront Bird had a good game last week, especially considering what I thought he was asked to do by the coaching staff, but I wouldn't expect that to continue this week. Although OU has been a bit uneven rushing the ball, I can't imagine that DC James Willis will continue to ask Bird to essentially float along the line, shadow the quarterback and fill the gaps. I can't help but think that OU would take advantage of that pretty quickly, especially Murray with his ability to get outside so quickly. OLB Brett Dewhurst and ILB Tyrone Sonier continue to get the starts alongside Bird, but I would expect that you'll still see Julius Howard, Terrance Bullitt, Daniel Cobb, and Cqulin Hubert get some time as well. Small and fast.
TEXAS TECH PASS DEFENSE VS. OKLAHOMA PASS OFFENSE | How about a quick fun fact for the Texas Tech defense? In looking over the game participation from Missouri, not only did Texas Tech receive a critical pass break-up from walk-on CB Eugene Neboh, but you also saw Arlan Waller make an appearance (probably on special teams) and I have no idea who Arlan Waller is. Here's his bio:
Desoto High School in Desoto, Texas... named first team all-district as a senior... competed in football, basketball, track and field and soccer... posted top 100-meter dash time in the city during 2007 campaign... named to academic A & B honor roll... High School Coach: Dave Meadows.
If you ever needed a sign about how much depth has been sapped from this team, then look no further than the fact that Neboh is receiving playing time during critical points of the game on Saturday, and perhaps the biggest defensive stand of the game, covering one of Missouri's best receivers and Waller even getting in the game. I tend to think of myself as a guy that follows Texas Tech pretty closely, but I didn't have a clue about Waller (And why do guys get to be good at everything, academic honor roll and was good at football, basketball, track, and soccer? Wow!) And now I'm thankful that S Franklin Mitchem was able to get back in the game last week and although D.J. Johnson has struggled, this team needs another body. And I'd also say that perhaps Johnson is being asked to do something he's not quote comfortable doing, i.e. man-coverage on the outside and if I remember correctly, Johnson played quite a bit against slot receivers last year, which is why he may have looked so good. If CB LaRon Moore, Neboh and Jarvis Phillips rounding into shape, and Tre' Porter really coming on strong last week, perhaps Johnson will be asked to do what he does best, which is take the slot receiver, which means Broyles, rather than go wide.
And the Oklahoma passing offense is something to behold, it's 6th in the nation at 322 yards a game while QB Landry Jones is 3rd in the country in yards per game, right at 331. Interestingly, in games that Oklahoma wins, they throw for 340 yards on only 41 attempts, while in losses, the Sooners throw for 299 yards on 50 attempts. That's right, 10 more attempts a game, but about 40 yards less. That translates to 7.8 YPA in wins and 5.4 YPA in losses. When OU gets the ball down the field, stretches the defense (tell me if you've heard this before), then they're a more successful offense.
And leading that receiving attack is WR Ryan Broyles, probably one of the top three (OSU's Justin Blackmon and TAMU's Jeff Fuller) receiver in the Big 12. Broyles is just a fantastic player, already has 86 catches for 1,077 yards and 8 touchdowns. True freshman Kenny Stills is your 2nd leading receiver for OU with 36 receptions, while RB DeMarco Murray sits third with 50. Every other receiver for OU has 20 or less receptions, and there's a handful of players that have 20 or less, 11 to be exact, but those three mentioned account for 63.9% of OU's receptions. That's Jones looking for these three each and every game.