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Film room: Keke Coutee doesn’t disappoint

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For the third consecutive season there’s a 1000-yard receiver in town

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s a player who’s been reliable all season long, that’s wide receiver, Keke Coutee. The Lufkin-native junior is having his best college season, as he broke for the first time the 1000-yard mark with three games yet to play.

In the game against Kansas State, he notched his season highs in receptions (12), yards (189) and touchdowns (2), demonstrating one more time to be among the best slot receivers of the entire country. He’s also third in FBS for receiving yards (1026), preceded only by Colorado State’s Michael Gallup (1196) and Oklahoma State’s James Washington (1133).

As usual, there are some highlights that deserve to be analyzed, not only for the effective results but also for their particularity. Let’s go.

First minutes of the game, and Texas Tech was already trailing. It was only a quick out to the left for a 4-yard gain, but it’s interesting to note the five-receiver set. It’s a formation that the Red Raiders didn’t use so much in 2017, as they mainly lined up with three or four receivers, plus a running back and/or an extra blocker.

So many receivers on the field forced the Wildcats to blitz only four players, and the defensive tackle rolling to his right (pink) was well contained by left tackle Trevor Bruffy. That said, Dylan Cantrell (blue) ran a go route followed by the cornerback (yellow), clearing space for Coutee (red) and his out route.

Now, let’s go to the first Keke’s touchdown, halfway through the second quarter, Texas Tech down 17-7. It was the first play after the Wildcats scored their second touchdown of the game.

The first thing to note was Kansas State’s unusual defensive alignment (pink), with seven players on the line of scrimmage and a big blitz ready to hit the offensive line, and four defensive backs in man-to-man coverage.

Surprisingly, at the snap, the four players in three-point stance pressured the O-line, while the others three dropped in coverage. This didn’t affect Coutee (red), who ran a corner route. “His” defender, #7 safety Eli Walker, backpedaled too much time, and that cost him the step that allowed Keke to reach the end zone. That said, it’s obvious that a 6-foot-3, 210-pounds safety was a favorable mismatch for Coutee, too fast for his massive opponent.

The next play we break out is the second Coutee’s touchdown. That gave the Red Raiders their first lead of the game.

There are many rectangles, circles, and lines, but the play itself was very simple. Kansas State decided for a 5-man pressure (pink), forcing the running back Tre King to help the blockers on the right side of the line. The remaining linebacker probably had the assignment to control the running back, so once again the receivers were one-on-one against the defensive backs.

T.J. Vasher (blue) ran a dig route to the inside, so Keke (red) stretched the field and the defender, #23 Cre Moore, couldn’t once again match his speed. Coutee received the ball, perfectly thrown in this case, and made an outstanding work to stay in bounds and score his second touchdown.

With three games still to be played, Coutee can reach an important milestone, as he needs “only” 326 yards to reach the second position in Texas Tech history for receiving yards in a single season. At the moment in this position, there’s Jace Amaro, who in 2013 recorded 1,352 yards. In the first position, there are Michael Crabtree and his unbelievable 2007, with 1,962 yards.