ESPN Big 12 Sits Down with Tech's Defensive Coordinator: David Gibbs recently spoke to ESPN Big 12 writer Jake Trotter about the changes he is looking to make to Tech's defense, and the biggest thing I took from this Q&A is that Gibbs is looking for players to stay in position.
Texas Tech struggled with some of the front guys, being out of position, being out of gaps. To me, it's just fundamental football. It sounds easy. But it's about the defensive line staying in their gaps, and the linebackers and secondary knowing their run fits. That comes with the coordinating of a defense. From day one, I'm going to be preaching run support calls. Is it always going to be perfect? No. But if you have a system and preach a system, you're going to be better. You'll have a chance. Does that mean Arkansas still can't run you over? No, they still can run you over. But when guys start jumping their gaps to try and go make play and screw their buddy, you're not going to stop anybody.
It is so important to plug gaps and stop the run, and way too many times players were going towards the runner to make the tackle instead of sticking to assignment and plug their hole so their teammates can make the play. Tech has the talent to plug the gaps. Rika Levi is a big body that should stay in his gap, and with the addition of Breiden Fehoko, Tech has more size on the defensive line that it has had in a while.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Don Williams Looks for Justis: Williams focused on Justis Nelson, the most experienced returning starter in the secondary, and where he is going to play in 2015. He has quotes from Gibbs on where he thinks Nelson will line up in the fall.
"There are going to be times when he's going to have to play safety, which I've done it (with starting cornerbacks)," Gibbs said. "I've had my starting corner in base be a safety in nickel and be the nickel in nickel.
"If he has the ability to go play safety and he's better than my third safety, then I'll move him to safety and bring those other corners in the game and let them play."
While Nelson has played corner most of his time at Tech, I think Nigel Bethel II and Tevin Madison gaining significant playing time last year allows Gibbs to have the flexibility to move Nelson to a safety position if he thinks his skill set fits that better. I believe Jamile Johnson is also too talented to keep off the field in 2015, and fitting him in is going to be important as well in determining where Nelson lines up.
Spring Practice Update: Snowstorms in Lubbock forced spring practice to be moved back a couple days. They were supposed to start spring workouts Friday and Saturday, but now will look to start workouts Sunday.