In a new format, throughout the year I want to get questions from the fans and discuss topics going on with Tech football. Whether it's the previous game, the upcoming game or just Tech in general, it's a great way to pass along information and get into certain topics we may miss or don't go quite as deep into in other posts. I postponed with article last week because all of the questions were on the QB situation. This week, it seems it's all about defense. So... I picked the most frequently asked questions about Texas Tech's defense. Here we go.
Raiderprodigalson: "Could it take some time to get up to game speed on the new scheme or is it more of the same from last year?
While I agree that on the surface, the defense looks just as bad, if not worse, than last years defense, there are some definite takeaways from the game this past week. One, FCS teams aren't made up of nobody's that couldn't get recruited out of high school like they may have been a decade ago. A lot of these teams are made of good talent and transfers from big time D1 programs. One of the Bearkats running backs, Jalen Overstreet, is actually a transfer from Texas. Second, notice the difference in the second half. The defense settled down shutting out Sam Houston in the 3rd and forced 4 turnovers in 2nd half alone. With several top players out for various reasons, this is not the same animal we saw in 2014. Yes the yards were ugly and yes the points were as well, but this defense has the chance to be special if given time.
Jared B. : Do you realistically think that the defensive woes can be remedied with our 7th defensive coordinator in 7 years?
Yes, especially because this isn't a his first time as a coordinator. Long after the recruiting woes are overlooked, the 2nd most overlooked stat in those 7 coordinators is, McNeil, Willis, Glasgow, Wallerstedt, and Smith had never been coordinators before. Because of that there is a huge learning curve that was evident and exposed due to Tech's lack of depth on defense. Also, David Gibbs, has a background not only in college but on some very good defenses at the pro level. Just like any coach, it will take some time to get used to what Gibbs is asking them to do. He said as much in the press conference today about how he called a play to stop what Sam Houston was trying to do, and he wants the defense to understand the type of play he's trying to stop based off the play called. This Saturday didn't show that, but it'll come.
Andrew B: What improvements will we see with the Tech defense this year?
I think you saw a lot of them on Saturday against Sam Houston. Turnovers were a big preaching point for Tech this off-season and the defense forced 4 in the 2nd half. Also there were only 2 penalties on Tech defense on Saturday. None were of the personal foul variety that gave the ball back to SHST after a stop. I think now that they have a game under their belt they will be better suited to go out and execute Gibb's play calling and get some stops. If however, you're looking for improvements in total yardage, I don't think that comes this year. I think when it comes to turnovers, you have to take some risks and those risks involve giving up yards.
Robert C.: Will the TTU defense hold UTEP run game to under 250 yards? If not can tech win?
I think 250 is a reasonable expectation for this weekend's game. And though I think they can hold UTEP under that number, I don't think it happens simply because that's all UTEP is going to do. They are going to hand the ball off to Aaron Jones, eat the clock and play keep away from Tech's offense. UTEP was second in the nation last year for time of possession. I think our defense gets worn out, but turnovers again are the difference and we get the win.
That's it for this week. Keep the questions coming for next Tuesday! You can send them to me on Twitter @avcoachsmith or post them here over the weekend after the UTEP game!