|STATISTIC (NCAA RANK, CONF. RANK)
|TTU Pass Offense
TSU Pass Defense
|318.92 (7, 3)
207.45 (64, 2)
|TTU Rush Offense
TSU Rush Defense
|141.31 (75, 9)
181.00 (95, 8)
|TTU Total Offense
TSU Total Defense
|460.23 (15, 4)
388.45 (95, 8)
|TTU Scoring Offense
TSU Scoring Defense
|33.08 (23, 4)
34.27 (107, 8)
TEXAS TECH OFFENSE VS. TEXAS ST. DEFENSE
I think we know what to expect from the Texas Tech offense, but I'm really interested to see all of the new toys. There are so many newcomers that could make a difference and if there is a game that we can expect to see, it would be this game due to the fact that it is most likely to be lopsided. When I looked back at Texas St.'s statistics from last year (and keep in mind that these statistics are FCS rankings and out of 117 teams) it was the defense that struggled the most historically. The Texas St. offense has usually been pretty good, but the defense has been abysmal for quite some time and would guess that this is the reason for the change to Dennis Franchione. For those of you who don't know, Franchione and Gary Patterson are linked as far back as Fran being the head coach at New Mexico. Fran then brought Patterson with him to TCU, who eventually became the head coach, and from what I can tell, they started to run the 4-2-5 defense while at New Mexico. I haven't done the research to figure out whether or not Fran has always run a 4-2-5, but I'd guess that he's run something similar, something with a 4-man front.
From the preview of the Bobcats I remember their linebackers being more highly rated of their defense and two of last year's starters were returning, but still, it's a defense that gave up over 180 yards rushing alone. It's tough to turn around a defense. In fact, I've always thought that turning around an offense is easier than turning around a defense because turning around a defense is based more on having actual athletes and players who can compete rather than a change in scheme. Despite having one recruiting class, I'm sure that Franchione won't be able to completely re-haul the defense in just one year.
I do think that Texas Tech has a distinct advantage offensively. If nothing else, it should be about pace and if Texas Tech is as fast as they were last year as noted by RMN's Bill Connelly, Texas Tech was one of the fastest paced teams last year:
Though it wasn’t the true Leach Airraid by any means, the Red Raiders often looked like the Tech the college football world has come to expect in 2010. The Red Raiders threw the ball, committed to their identity and played at a pace amongst the country’s fastest. The identity is preserved by offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who was brought aboard prior to 2010 after running a tremendous Troy offense, and his philosophy isn't all that different than Leach's. Tech’s change in 2010 wasn’t in identity, it was just in effectiveness.
A running game that was used both sparsely and effectively under Leach was just sparse, and while Tech was decent on passing downs, they faced too many passing downs to thrive. They were strong in the red zone and protected the passer well, but the hot and cold nature of Tech’s big play threats mirrored the ups and downs of the team’s entire season. Now, the Red Raiders must replace their top two quarterbacks, their leading rusher, and two receivers responsible for 37 percent of all Tech pass targets in 2010.
I don't think that the transition is going to be too much for Doege to handle, but I also really like the idea of Doege warming up against Texas St. It's not going to be easy, but there are players on the team, players that really no one knows about, that should pick up the pieces. The staff has been incredibly high on Darrin Moore and if Alexander Torres returns to form, you'll see two explosive players that should take advantage of their size relative to who is covering them. You could of course say that it's foolish to think that players that were back-ups will pick up where Leong, Lewis, Batch and Potts left off last year, but I don't think this team is devoid of talent.
The biggest question is the injury of C Justin Keown and I'm excited to see how Terry McDaniel takes hold of this position. I think that he's smart enough to make all of the necessary calls and I don't think that you'll see him struggle. If anything, I think that McDaniel may struggle a bit with leverage as he is every bit of 6'6" (I don't care what the roster says, he's big) and the starting noseguard, Deshun Williams, for Texas St. is 5-11/290. Get you some of that.
Last but not least, given the overall porous nature of the Texas St. defense (again, these were against FCS teams, the Texas Tech offense should be really good. If not, I'm going to be worried for the rest of the year, but I have faith in Doege and RB Eric Stephens and the wealth of receivers that have an opportunity to make an impact on this team. I think more than anything, Tuberville, Brown and Glasgow want playmakers on their team. Let's see what you got.
Now it's up to you fair reader. Tell me what you think the important matchups are from the Texas Tech offense vs. the Texas St. defense.
**** I realize that we're dealing with 2010 statistics and TSU's FCS numbers and that to compare the two aren't entirely accurate or fair, but it's one week and next week, we'll be dealing with real numbers from the 2011 season.