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Iconography | Texas State Bobcats vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

VTM's extensive preview of Texas Tech's upcoming game with the Texas State Bobcats, including a tweet from Wale, offensive and defensive breakdowns of plays and match-ups.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

EDITORIAL | I was sorta hoping to hide this bit from Football Scoop before today, but I should have known that I wasn't going to be able to do that. In any event, we go back to when RB DeAndre WAshington dropped the ball before he ran into the endzone. It's hard to say what other coaches would do in that situation, all we know is what our coach did:

As ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Ponder noted, Kingsbury walked over and told Washington, "Hey, you've got to score again. You dropped it early."

That's it. No berating, no overkill and no vengeful benching. He knew there would be plenty of time to coach Washington up at practice and provide a valuable teaching moment for the rest of the team, but not in that moment. With five minutes to play you need everyone focused on the next play and working towards a win. There's no point in embarrassing a kid for something he already knows he did wrong, and there's no reason to call further attention to something the other 120-plus guys are already thinking about. None of that will help Tech beat TCU. Kingsbury knew he'd need Washington to perform the rest of the game at his best and crushing his confidence would have him thinking too much. Kingsbury needs guys playing on instinct and how they have been taught, not worrying about if they are going to make a mistake. So he moved on to the next play. Most importantly, so did the rest of the team.

This is where recruiting battles are won. Not on the television, but when the recruits come in and sit down and talk with the current players and they ask what it's really like playing for Kingsbury, they'll be able to look everyone of them in the eye and tell them that Kingsbury will treat you like a man and he won't embarrass you when things don't go Texas Tech's way. Most high school recruits aren't going to be watching a Thursday night game, but when those one-on-one moments occur, they'll be able to tell this story and that player will know that there are expectations at Texas Tech and all of the players do their part. And this isn't to say that Kingsbury is perfect, but this is the right way to handle this situation.

LINKS | These are your morning links:

  • The official site has your list of channels for Saturday's game:
    Suddenlink (Lubbock) - Channel 281
    Time Warner (Dallas) - Channel 906
    Charter Communications (Fort Worth) - Channel 300
    Charter Communications (Dallas/Park Cities) - Channel 184
    DirecTV - Channel 677 (677-1 HD)
    Dish Network - Channel 446 (9516 HD)
    AT&T U-Verse - Channel 691 (1691 HD)
    Verizon Fios - Channel 77 (577 HD)
  • The LAJ writes about how both cornerbacks Bruce Jones and Olaoluwa Falemi played all 82 snaps last week. I didn't even think about it during the game, but sure enough they did. Good stuff from Jones here:
    "That’s all credit to our D-line and the scheme of the game," Jones said. "When it was third-and-long, we were able to go to our two-man-under (coverage) with a little spy and then let the three-man rush go and the spy in the middle (linebacker), and that worked the majority of the time. That was all credit to the D-line and a good job by the DBs to be able to lock up when we needed to."
  • The LAJ also has a bit from TXST HC Dennis Franchione, but there is a link below with full quotes from his presser.
  • The DMN writes about how TE Jace Amaro has turned into one of the best in the country.

BOOKMARK THIS | This is going to be a bit weird, but go click on Texas State's athletic website.  It's different than any other athletic site that I've seen before.  It's pretty clean, fairly spartan, and pretty nice to navigate and read.  I give this two guns up.  Colleges should take note that you can't have to have all of that crud in the background of a website.  Just make it simple and easy to read.

THROW THE FLAG | Penalties again plagued this team. They just have to be corrected. It didn't feel like there were a ton of penalties against the offensive line, at least of the holding variety. I have to believe that this team is going to play a relatively clean game here pretty soon. I hope they doo. That many missed years will be problematic at some point. Against SFA, Mayfield was able to make them up. Against TCU, those yards were much tougher to come by. Tht's supposed to happen and that's what will happen in Big 12 play.

QUESTION FOR THE CROWD | There has been quite a bit of talk about Texas Tech having the opportunity to go 7-0 over their next 4 games. I have intentionally stayed away from this topic, are you looking this far ahead or do you prefer to keep the attitude of the team and just plug away at the next game?

ITEM COMPLETED | Kingsbury is not receiving enough credit for two of the big plays that Davis Webb executed. Here is my thought process. Kingsbury has a freshman quarterback that is prone to making bad decisions and Kingsbury removes that decision in the screen to DeAndre Washington and the lob corner route to Bradley Marquez. Webb certainly gets credit for executing, but Kingsbury made it easy on Webb with two calls that did not require much in the way of reading the defense. When I watch the fade route to Marquez (start at the 1:23 mark) Webb has thrown the ball within a one-count, but on video, it’s maybe two seconds from the time period that the ball is snapped to the time period when Webb has thrown the ball. The call was 10 personnel, trips left with Marquez on the right side of the ball with single coverage. That was absolutely intentional. Kingsbury forced the hand for TCU and all Marquez had to do was make the play. The safety just can’t get over to Marquez quick enough.

I don't think it takes anyone long to see you're playing a Big 12 school, you're in your second year of FBS football, you're going to their place to play, it's a pretty big challenge. It might be the biggest challenge of the year. -Coach Franchione on the difficulty of personnel

CLIP THIS | Texas St. coach Dennis Franchione spoke to the media and the Texas St. website has some quotes that we'll highlight. Franchione talks about how TCU and TXST have the same or similar defense:

"We know Gary Patterson's defense well. We run almost the same thing. That helps because you understand what they're trying to do by watching the film. Offensively, TCU ran a few more formations that were helpful to us to see how they defended it."

I think that's interesting in that TCU does give a game-plan to other teams on how to stop Texas Tech and Franchione believes that you need to get QB Baker Mayfield on the run:

"Well you hope so. We got to watch the SMU game before Southern Miss. I think the biggest thing TCU did was make him move around in the pocket and throw off rhythm. They had a great run of stops. They went eight possessions in a row holding them to -11 yards during that span. TCU has a great defense. We'll see where we match up with them. We've had two good games."

PHOTO FINISH | This is the J.J. Gaines interception. I first wanted to show the pressure, which is really terrific. Texas Tech is rushing four and as you can see in this photo, someone, I think Hyder has already beat the left guard and is about to go all in on Boykin. Hyder ultimately takes himself out of of the play, but what Hyder and everyone else does is force Boykin to be throw on the run:

This next screenshot displays how Gaines creeping up on the receiver and you have to think that Gaines isn't jumping the receiver if he wasn't reading Boykin and honing in on what he's doing. I think this is also a terrific display of Gaines' athletic ability. There isn't a cornerback in site, mainly because it was a running back that was Boykin's target. That's LB Sam Eguavoen covering James and falling behind a bit. Gaines is obviously picking up the pieces.

One more view, which is from a totally different angle. You can see the running back almost right in front of Boykin but obviously down the field and the linebacker is turned around a bit. Gaines is back and to the right (back and to the right). The difference in this play and any other play is that Gaines makes a break on the ball and actually makes the play, while the running back is waiting on the ball. That’s what you want from your safety, a guy that’s going to go make a play:

IT’S TIME | TCU focused primarily on WR Eric Ward and didn't want to allow what happened last year, which is only 61 yards, but 3 touchdowns. I honestly think that Kingsbury & Co. don’t like having one of their guys shut down for an entire game. I think they take too much pride in their game-planning and hate to have a single guy taken out of their game plan. I really want to see Ward get back on track this game and the coaching staff do whatever it takes to make that work, double-coverage or not. If Big 12 teams are smart, they’ll do the same thing that TCU did, so let’s figure out how to beat that double-coverage against just one guy. Not wanting to bang the collective head into the wall, but Ward is too valuable not to have a catch during the course of the game.

CHARTING MATCHUPS | The offseason is supposed to be ambitious, but the number of posts during the week has become tough. Plus, we have so much good stuff now from all sorts of writers that there’s really no need for the extra content if I can just include it in this post.

What? Texas St. is 2-0? Actually, it's early, like it is for every program, but Texas St. actually has a pretty nice little win, a 22-15 win at Southern Miss. I know the Golden Eagles are struggling a bit, but beating a traditionally okay team is good for them. The 28-3 win against Prairie View, a perennial bad team, isn't all that great, but a win's a win and it was by 25 points. That's just fine too.

The thing that popped for me was looking at Texas St.'s statistics through two games, especially defensively, where Texas St. is 31st in total defense, and 2nd in rushing defense. Digging a bit deeper, S. Miss is 123rd in rushing offense, while P.V. is 82nd (These numbers are all through 9/13, which is the day that I'm writing this because I have to write when I can.). So Texas St. is doing maybe what they are supposed to do against bad rushing teams or maybe they are bad rushing teams because of Texas St.

TXST is still struggling a bit on offense, but you tend to overlook those things if you're winning, sorta like the Texas Tech rushing part of their game. With TXST, they really aren't all that great running or passing the ball either, just okay running the ball, 72nd in the nation and 102nd in passing offense. This somewhat bodes well for Texas Tech, after a really terrific game against TCU, Texas Tech still sits 80th in total defense, which is a bit surprising, although Texas Tech is 44th in rushing defense. The problem is the pass defense, where Texas Tech is 100th in passing offense.

Kingsbury said that Co-DC's Wallerstedt and Smith wanted to focus on was the scoring, which is good for 30th in the nation and I'm happy about that. Go ahead and add in being 25th in redzone offense and this defense has really tightened up the scoring. Still, a lot to favor for Texas Tech for this game.

5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5
TTU Pass Offense vs. TXST Pass Defense

TTU Rush Offense vs. TXST Rush Defense

TTU Pass Defense vs. TXST Pass Offense

TTU Rush Defense vs. TXST Rush Offense

TTU Special Teams vs. TXST Special Teams

TTU Coaching vs. TXST Coaching

DIAL IT UP | I can envision how LB Will Smith, who has been quietly unassuming the first few games, could have a really big game against TXST. Smith has been solid, but Texas Tech is really doing a nice job of rotating linebackers that they are all getting playing time. Smith is one of the bigger linebackers on the team and with a team that likes to run, I think Smith should be in line for a pretty big game. Again, it seems like it has been quiet, but Smith is third on the team with 18 tackles, has 1.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks thus far. He hasn't received much, if any notice from me, but he’s been really solid.

TARGET PRACTICE | Here’s something pretty neat. The NCAA is keeping track of "First Down Offense". This is NOT what the offense does no first down, but the total number of first downs thus far this year and the number of first downs per game. Right now, Texas Tech is 7th in the nation with 82 first downs. I guess I’m trying to figure out if this means that as a result of this, Texas Tech doesn't necessarily have an explosive offense, but can certainly move the chains. Once Texas Tech does get into the red zone, the Red Raiders are 29th in the nation. I think with those two statistics combined maybe the Texas Tech offense makes a bit more sense.

UNSUNG STAR | Hat-tip to Ryan Bustin, who has done nothing but make field goals this year. We were all a bit worried after the spring game, but the guy has been so good this year, making 5 of 6 field goals, his only miss a long distance field goal (40-49 yards).

LIGHTNING STRIKES | This is admittedly a small sample size, but I want to use this "Lightning Strikes" portion to track the big plays, the plays that are 15+ yards and 25+ yards for each game, mostly from a passing perspective. Again, these are just passing numbers, but with three games off the ledger, Texas Tech has had 25 plays of 15+ yards, 8.3 per game, and 11 plays of 25+ yards, 3.6 per game. For comparison purposes, last year, Texas Tech averaged 7.3 plays of 15+ yards in 2012 and 2.2 of 25+ yards per game last year. That's a pretty big difference, especially when you consider that a pretty good deep threat, WR Javon Bell, is no longer on the team. Go ahead and add to this is the idea that Texas Tech has faced a really tough defense in TCU and I think I feel even better.

KEYS TO THE GAME | Let’s do this:

  • Shut The Running Game Down | I'm not sure what to make of the distribution of the running attempts. RB Chris Nutall has 18, then RB Terrance Franks has 16, then QB Jordan Moore, has 16, RB Robert Lower has 12 and QB Tyler Arndt has 13. TXST is obviously rotating a lot of running backs here and they also seem to be playing plenty of Moore. I always thought that Arndt was "the guy" at quarterback, but he's getting time in both games. Perhaps a change of pace? Not sure. Either way, the only way for TXST to move the ball, really, is to run the ball.
  • Take Advantage Inside | The tackles along the offensive line are seniors, the center is a junior, but the two guards are a freshman and a redshirt freshman. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see DT Kerry Hyder, DT Dennell Wesley, and DT Jackson Richards all crash these guys inside and create havoc from the inside out. I can't envision a situation where Texas Tech is just going to let the defensive ends run free, and based on what TXST does offensively, there's not as many opportunities to rush the passer.
  • Get Mayfield Going | TCU was a tough defense and QB Baker Mayfield probably learned some lessons in watching film this week. This should not be a situation where Mayfield struggles, but TXST does have some talented palyers along the line. I mentioned during the summer that DT D.J. Yendrey was cought up in the drug scandal at TCU and he starts at defensive tackle, while LB Michael Orakpo transferred from Colorado St. after an off-campus altercation. There's some legitimate BCS type of talent on the defense, but the offensive line should keep Mayfield clean. They had so much thrown at them, they should be okay. TXST has veteran group in the defensive backfield, so we'll see if that's something that TXST will be able to scheme against Texas Tech and Mayfield. One other note is that Xavier McDaniels is a safety converted to cornerback and depending on who he's lined up on, this could really be a position to exploit.

THE LIGHT HAS GONE ON | I don't think that I gave enough credit to CB Bruce Jones and how good he has been all year. He's just been terrific, either in zone or man and he's really able to stick with his receiver in all sorts of coverages. He makes terrific plays on the ball and he's still only 5'8". He's going to get beat deep, but is sure does help to have some safeties behind him that help keep the lid on the defense.

FINDING YOUR WAY | You’ll notice the chart to the right, which comes courtesy of college football writer extrordinaire Matt Hinton via Football Study Hall. I thought that it would be fun to keep track of these on a game-by-game basis moving forward. I’ll have to find a spot for it each week, but that’s the least of my worries. I did think that it was interesting that TCU had a better offense, but had a ton of wasted yards. Just a lot of unproductive yards. Plus, Texas Tech averaged an additional 11 yards each drive. If anyone ever asks you the value of a guy that kicks the ball into the endzone each and every kickoff, this is it.

TWEET OF THE WEEK | Spencer Hall dreaming the impossible dream:

And then there's this:

Look, I'm going to be honest, I didn't know who the heck Wale is before I saw this tweet, but he's VERIFIED. That's right, VERIFIED. You and I aren't verified, but Wale is and Wale doesn't just think that Kingsbury is the most swagged out coach last Thursday night, not just this year, but EVER. Kingsbury might want to hop on Twitter and give a shout out to Wale.

I would also like to give myself a pat on the back for working in a Tweet from Spencer Hall and Wale in a post. Pow. Pow.


Fall Practice: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - to miss SMU game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - believed to be out for SMU game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year.

Week 1 vs. SMU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - to miss SMU game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - believed to be out for SMU game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; RG Beau Carpenter (ankle sprain) - day to day; IR Jordan Davis (hamstring) - day to day.

Week 2 vs. SFA: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - to miss SMU game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - believed to be out for SMU game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; RG Beau Carpenter (ankle sprain) - day to day; IR Jordan Davis (hamstring) - day to day; OLB Andre Ross (leg?) - day to day.

Week 3 vs. TCU: S Jalen Barnes (shoulder) - out for year; OG/C Tony Morales (shoulder) - to miss SMU game; QB Michael Brewer (back) - believed to be out for SMU game; LB Kris Williams (ACL) - out for year; RG Beau Carpenter (ankle sprain) - day to day; IR Jordan Davis (hamstring) - day to day; OLB Andre Ross (leg?) - day to day.