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Wednesday Matador Mailbag 9.21.16

Time to check out this week's Matador Mailbag!

It's Wednesday! So ya'll know what time it is. Let's see what questions Red Raider fans had to ask us during the bye week!

Mahomes is definitely starting to catch the nation's attention based on his first three games. Leading the nation in passing yards and tied for first with Lamar Jackson in total touchdowns has gotten him recognition at this point, but I don't think the odds are in his favor. When RG3 won the Heisman that year, Baylor had a respectable defense, Mahomes doesn't have that. I think this defense will struggle all season. Mahomes likely will pick up other awards and accolades during and after the season and may even get an invite to New York if he's still in the discussion for the Heisman. He is definitely something special so let's enjoy him while he's here!

It's still early in the David Gibbs era. I know fans are growing impatient, but entering this season Gibbs is the first defensive coordinator Tech has retained in a long time. All I can say is: keep the faith.

I'll say it's a mixture of all three. I admit I don't know a lot about play calling on defense, but that could have something to do with it. Personnel definitely has something to do with the defensive woes so far. Players have transferred, been kicked off the team, and recently injured. Tackling seems to be a fundamental the defense is still struggling with. They need to get better at wrapping up on first contact and tackling in the open field. Like I said in my first answer, give Gibbs some time to work with and develop these guys. 

The depth at safety does concern me since Keenon Ward will be out at least two weeks and Tevin Madison is no longer on the team. I've read articles regarding Ward's injury that Payton Hendrix will likely be replacing him in the lineup alongside Jah'Shawn Johnson. It is tough for this defense losing the senior leadership of Ward for a few games, but they have a bye week and an easy opponent in Kansas next Thursday night. It should give Gibbs and his staff time to adjust based on the injuries they have suffered. I'm not sure why the Tech Athletics YouTube channel is doing that, but they still provide good recaps at the end of the games.

Coutee has noticeably been used more in this offense. He had a rushing touchdown on a reverse in Week 1 vs. Stephen F. Austin and has 11 catches for 105 yards on the season. I felt like his role would increase this year due to his flashes of potential last year. I would expect him to continue to have balls thrown his way, especially since Mahomes has done a good job of spreading it around these first three games.

It's hard to tell based on what I've seen these first three weeks, but right now I have to go with last year's champions in Oklahoma. They may be 1-2, but they had a tough non-conference schedule with Houston and Ohio State. Both were losses. The biggest reason I feel they could win it again is they have the capability to beat just about every team in this conference, including Tech. I think they could go undefeated the rest of the way. Sure they likely won't be back in the College Football Playoff, but they could definitely walk away with back-to-back Big 12 titles.