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The Huddle: Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. TCU Horned Frogs

Texas Tech travels to Ft. Worth to take on the nationally ranked TCU Horned Frogs. We have your complete preview for Saturday's game.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Giving Cumbie Credit. I haven’t talked all that much about Sonny Cumbie, but I am happy for him. Just like a lot of you, I was disappointed when he left, but understood why he did leave. We’ve never really gotten the story as to why he left and we’ve been left to guess, which is always fun, but the thought was Cumbie wanted to stretch his wings as a coordinator and be out on his own. I get that. There was also that salary factor that was bounced around a bit, but since TCU is a private school, we’ll never know that. It’s really shrouded in mystery for the most part.

Game Information
Texas Tech

When: October 25th @ 2:30 pm
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium | Ft. Worth, TX
Watch: Fox
Key Injuries: Tony Morales, Jah’Shawn Johnson, Demetrius Alston, Donte Phillips, Chris Payne

There’s also the part about how much credit to give Cumbie for his work this season thus far as Cumbie has switched positions, going from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach at TCU. Again, this was a position that Cumbie would never hold at Texas Tech due to Kingsbury’s influence and I would guess that this is a more natural way to become an offensive coordinator at another college, although Meacham is the receivers coach now. Even then, we really don’t know how much to credit coaches or players. Treyvone Boykin may have had a natural improvement on his own and maybe a huge part of it was Cumbie. It’s just one of those things where we get to argue about it and never come out with real answer because we just don’t know. The other aspect of it is that Doug Meacham is a huge part of the process, while Cumbie is up in the booth, Meacham is calling the plays and is the face of the offense right now. Again, there’s no real way to know, unless you ask them candidly, how much one has to do with the other.

Personally, I feel that I see more of Meacham’s offense that what we had seen from Cumbie thus far, but we never really got to see Cumbie spread his wings at Texas Tech either. Still, though, that’s just a guess and most likely not accurate.

As far as Cumbie’s influence at Texas Tech, that’s always a tough thing because so much of the success of a coach is dependent on the player. Kingsbury is in charge or Webb, but he’s also been in charge of Manziel and Keenum. Is the player a reflection of the coach all of the time? Well, yeah, sometimes, but sometimes not. Sometimes, it’s the talent of the player and Cumbie helped cultivate some big wide receivers while he was at Texas Tech.

The question that Texas Tech fans now fans face is the lack of production of the wide receivers and as many of you have already noted, a lot of this has to do with the relative youth and inexperience of the wide receivers. Morris inherited a young group and I don’t know how much having Cumbie around would have helped these receivers. Perhaps by the time that Texas Tech rolls out the receivers next year, we’ll see a group that’s a bit better at getting off the line of scrimmage and a group that will be better at getting open. Players take time to develop, really no matter the position, but learning the receiver position and running accurate routes isn’t easy. Not only that, Texas Tech really only has one receiver that has significant height, Dylan Cantrell.

Make no mistake, Texas Tech sees the same thing that you see as far as the receivers are concerned. They’ve offered a handful of bigger receivers, high school receivers, and have recently offered a handful of JUCO receivers, most likely in case some of those high school receivers don’t commit. This is also one of those things where it is darn near impossible to have hindsight on this sort of deal as you could question whether or not the receivers would have stepped up. I surely thought that Reginald Davis would be better, but he is really just a redshirt sophomore, but I’d be lying if I told you that I expected more from Davis and those other receivers from part of the 2012 recruiting class, like Dominique Wheeler.

Uniform Tracker. Because at the heart of it all, VTM is a fashion blog.

Uniform Tracker
Opponent Helmet Jersey Pants Result Photo Photo Credit
Central Arkansas W, 42-35 Michael C. Johnson
UTEP W, 42-35 John Weast
Arkansas L, 49-28 John Weast
Oklahoma State ** L, 45-35 Brett Deering
Kansas State L, 45-13 Scott Sewell
West Virginia L, 37-34 John Weast
Kansas W, 34-21 Michael C. Johnson

* Click photos to embiggen.
** The color intended to be depicted is ombré.


TCU head football coach Gary Patterson spoke earlier this week:

Opening Statement ...
"Game seven for us. This is the fourth game of the October series. Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. We understood what we were getting into. November starts with West Virginia with Kansas State coming down right after that. We're going to keep our nose down and try to get to six wins."

On his team's defensive pride ...
"They care about what they do. They were embarrassed by the Baylor game, and they played their hearts out against Oklahoma State. It also depends on the perspective. I talked to coaches who said we played well all the way until the final eight minutes at Baylor. It is what it is. It's a three-point loss. That's the way I look at it."

On TCU's place in the national discussion ...
"We played two top-five teams in the nation. We won one and got beat by three. The voters showed us respect because we only dropped from ninth to 12th. I'm not worried about the polls right now. It's good for recruiting and Fort Worth, but it only takes seven days for that to go away. We need to go play. You have six games left including Kansas State, who is undefeated in conference play, and West Virginia, who plays unbelievably at home. They just got done beating Baylor and giving Oklahoma all they wanted. You have a Texas Tech team who had West Virginia beat at their place and played Oklahoma State tough. You have to get ready to play."

And how about the brutal honesty about the offense last year.

On TCU's offense before the season started ...
"It was bad. There was no in between. There's so much learning that goes on with this offense, and you have to believe in it. Every wide receiver in America wants to play in it, but they haven't learned how to practice in it. There's a lot of running to it. It's a mentality and a way of life. It's like how we play defense. From the time you step out there, you're moving and catching passes or sprinting and catching passes. Not all offensive schemes are like that."

On where TCU's offense is now ...
"I've been surprised all the way through. In the first year, you can't say, `Well, I knew this was going to happen.' During two-a-days, we struggled with them defensively in scrimmages in the red zone. All of those other things were in place. We just had to change philosophy, how we wanted to play offense and still be physical. That emphasis hasn't changed."

On how the offense dictates calling a game ...
"When you're going into a ball game and you know you're going to score points, as a head coach and a defensive guy, that's all you can ask. If you're having to hold them to 14 in this conference, you're going to have a lot of white hair, unless you have a really good day. Knowing you can score 30 or 40 points makes it easier on this side of the ball and how you do things.

"It makes a difference in how you call a ballgame. Whether people believe it or not, I'm just about winning. How do I need to call a game where we're winning? We're going to try to put a game plan together that is zero points. That hardly ever happens. Our game plan is zero and hopefully we get them to 17 or 21. So, how can you be aggressive but still do the things you need to defensively against a fast-paced offense. That'll be our challenge again this week."


Total Offense 537.7 (7) 489.1 (20)
Rushing Offense 197.5 (39) 158.7 (67)
Passing Offense 340.2 (9) 330.4 (10)
Scoring Offense 45.2 (5) 30.9 (58)
Total Defense 359.5 (45) 466.4 (107)
Rushing Defense 137.5 (40) 237.7 (116)
Passing Defense 220.0 (53) 228.7 (60)
Scoring Defense 20.7 (27) 36.9 (114)
Turnover Margin 1.33 (6) -1.14 (117)
3rd Down % Off. 41.3% (62) 43.3% (45)
3rd Down % Def. 26.7% (27) 43.6% (95)
Yds/Play Def. 4.65 (16) 5.70 (77)

So yeah, that TCU offense is pretty terrific. Out-gaining Texas Tech by 40 yards on total yards. The interesting thing for me is that it appears to the the rushing offense, not the passing offense, that is making the impact, outgaining Texas Tech 30 yards on the rushing end of things. I mentioned above that this is why I thought that the offense was more of Meacham than Cumbie as Meachum was a big part of Oklahoma State for a good while and they've run the ball effectively for a good while. Meachum's influence seems pretty significant in that regard, but Cumbie has certainly helped Boykin with his decision making, cutting down on turnovers.

Oh, and the scoring offense is a significant upgrade.

The defense is still the difference for me and they've been really great against the run . . . for the most part. I mention below that the rush defense hasn't been perfect, having hiccups against Baylor and Oklahoma.

The one big stat that Texas Tech will have to fight is that turnover margin, especially on the road. On the road, Texas Tech is a -1.67 and at home it is only -0.75, meaning that Texas Tech has a propensity to turn the ball over on the road significantly more than at home. Texas Tech has to buck that trend.


Don’t forget, you’ve got two big home soccer matches tonight and on Sunday.

And the volleyball team has a good chance of getting their 4th conference win on Saturday, something that hasn’t happened in a long time.

Head baseball coach Tim Tadlock showing off his College World Series bling or ring or whatever the kids say.

Five Things

1. Three Players to Watch on Offense for TCU.

1) QB Treyvone Boykin (6-2/205): Boykin has been nothing short of fantastic this year, completing 60% of his passes for 7.6 yards per attempt with 14 touchdowns and 3 picks all year. This is a big improvement on last year when Boykin still had about the same accuracy, but he threw 7 interceptions and 7 touchdowns (insert joke about players improving on not throwing interceptions). However, the thing that Boykin has improved upon more than anything else is the rushing yards, where he was indecisive at best, probably because he was getting sacked way too much. Boykin had 310 yards last year for just a shade under 3 yards a carry, while this year, Boykin already has 350 yards and is averaging almost 4.5 yards per carry. Oh sure, the interception to touchdown ratio is great, but it seems as if Boykin's freedom to play football has helped quite a bit.

2) WR Josh Doctson (6-4/190): The reason you never heard of Doctson before this year is that he transferred from Wyoming and sat out 2012 and played a bit last year. Oh, and his Dad works for TCU, so there's that bit of Doctson's story which is interesting. Doctson has already grabbed 31 passes for 497 yards and 16 yards a reception with 5 touchdowns this year. Doctson is explosive and had a huge game against Oklahoma State. Doctson has terrific hands and great leaping ability and yeah, I'm worried abut that height on the edge because . . .

3) WR Kolby Listenbee (6-1/183): Because, TCU has bookend big receivers, which could be real problematic for Texas Tech as one cornerback has decent height, but the field cornerback is on the small side, Nigel Bethel, II, or Tevin Madison. Listenbee has plenty of speed to go over the top and the speed makes it even that more problematic for Texas Tech. Listenbee had 18 catches on 418 yards and averages 23 yards a catch, along with 3 touchdowns. Listenbee is the deep threat.

2. Three Players to Watch on Defense for TCU.

1) LB Paul Dawson (6-2/230): Dawson is a play making machine. He is strong and athletic and he quite literally makes plays all over the field. He's leading the team in tackles with 68, he's grabbed 2 interceptions, has 9 tackles for loss, which includes 3 sacks, broken up 3 passes and already has forced 2 fumbles. That's pretty productive. And to think he started out as a receiver at Skyline and was converted, most likely from safety to linebacker, over time.

2) DT Chucky Hunter (6-1/305): Hunter is maybe the cog that makes this thing run as is a run-stuffing tackle that takes up significant space. Alfredo Morales and Jared Kaster will have their work cut out for them in this game as Hunter is a significant force. His stats aren't great, but that's not his job. His job is to open things up for this teammates and he does a pretty good of that and helps lead a TCU defense that is incredibly stingy in the running game.

3) CB Ranthony Texada (5-10/170): I'm profiling Texada here because TCU's cornerbacks and secondary isn't quite as good as the run defense. Texada is relatively young, a redshirt freshman, but he was relatively highly recruited coming out of high school from Frisco. Still, if you had to pick on just one guy, Texada might be it, despite the fact that he does have some talent, but the outside receivers need to step up here.

3. Three Keys to the Game.

1) Keep Webb Clean: TCU is 16th in the nation in tackles for loss and 16th in sacks. Texas Tech's best chance to win will be to keep Davis Webb clean for the entire game and give him plenty of time to let the offense work a bit. Webb is going to need time because I have a feeling that Gary Patterson is going to drop everybody. It wouldn't surprise me to see TCU just rush 3 defenders. Texas Tech will have to make TCU make a decision and for the first time in a long time, I think they have the running back to do it.

2) Don't Shy Away: That's right, don't shy away from running the ball. It's what helped get Texas Tech earn their first Big 12 game of the year and if you want to keep TCU honest, you'll run DeAndre Washington as much as possible. Washington has been really terrific as of late, gaining 132 and 164 yards the last two games after being non-existent against Kansas State. I think it was pretty clear that Kingsbury knew that he needed to get the ball in his best player's hands and let him do work. It's taken significant pressure off of Webb, to the tune of being even on turnovers for two straight games. Seems like it's been ages since that happened.

3) Keep the Pressure: Since Wallerstedt's resignation, Texas Tech has been significantly better at rushing the passer. Texas Tech had just 3 sacks through their first 3 games. Granted, it was UTEP and Arkansas, but still, there was just hardly any pressure. Wallerstedt is replaced and now, Mike Smith has really helped the defense, at the very least, create pressure points. Since those first three games, Texas Tech has had 10 sacks over their last 4 games. TCU has been pretty good protecting Boykin and he hasn't taken many sacks this year. Still, Boykin is susceptible to taking sacks but that was least year when he was taking more time to make decisions. Texas Tech needs to continue that trend.

4. Two Reasons Why Texas Tech Will Win.

1) Opportunity to Pass: I think there is some real opportunity to pass the ball against TCU, assuming that Webb gets enough time. TCU has been stellar against teams like Samford, Minnesota and SMU, but have given up huge yards, 309 against Oklahoma, and 510 against Baylor. Yeah, TCU did a heck of a job shutting out Oklahoma State, but OSU has been a real boom or bust sort of passing offense with Daxx Garmon at the helm and I think that Davis Webb will have some opportunity to work over the TCU passing game, assuming that the offensive line can keep Webb relatively clean.

2) Limiting the Run: Texas Tech has to slow down the TCU running game if they want to have a chance.  I tend to think that TCU will get those yards passing, but one of the reasons why Texas Tech couldn't stop West Virgnia was that they couldn't stop the running game.  The Oklahoma State game was close because Texas Tech very much limited an Oklahoma State offense to under 160 yards running the ball.  With TCU averaging close to 200 yards rushing, I think the Red Raider defense will need a similar performance to last week, which is not allowing TCU to push the ball on the ground and through the air.

5. Two Reasons Why Texas Tech Will Lose.

1) Over the Top: I think TCU is going to have a huge advantage with their receivers and the potential to go over the top.  I like Nigel Bethel, II a ton as a true freshman, but this is a real bad match-up for Texas Tech and it's one that worries me.  TCU has the ability to go over the top on both sides of the ball and it is something that I think Texas Tech wants very badly this next year.  Someone that can go up and get the ball and make the quarterback look even that much better.  Still, I don't know that Texas Tech has an answer here.

2) TCU is Really Good: I haven't had a problem thinking of just two reason why Texas Tech would win for the entire year, but this week I was stumped and I'm still thinking that my second reason is really not that good of a reason in reality.  TCU scares the snot out of me from how they match up with Texas Tech.  Of course, I felt the same way against West Virginia, but TCU's got that defense that has played pretty well thus far.  They have given up a ton of points and yards against better opponents, but the combination of two quality units makes me think this is a true uphill battle and I have a really tough time convincing myself that Texas Tech can win this game.