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Defense grades: Texas Tech vs. West Virginia

The defense not only kept Tech in the game, but can basically claim ownership of the victory last Saturday.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The defense played their best game against West Virginia on Saturday. How did they grade out after that strong effort?

Defensive Line: B+

This unit was partially responsible for helping to hold one of the nation’s best backs to under 100 yards and under 4 a carry. While the pressure was a bit lacking, the line was able to control the point of attack and get in Doege’s face.

Eli Howard in particular played his best game of the season. The only sack of the game was his, and he consistently made Doege miserable and got stronger as the game went on. These hogs have a much bigger task containing a far more talented quarterback in Spencer Rattler, a repeat performance of Saturday’s effort would be a good step to containing him.

Linebackers: A

Containing Brown was always going to fall at the linebackers feet, and they rose to the challenge. Every linebacker performed beautifully, and the fumble caused that led to the victory was just this unit playing hard. Holding one of the nations best rushing attacks to under four yards a carry was a herculean effort and speaks to just how talented this group is. It is hard to find much to critique about their game from Saturday, as they just played hard and very well.

If I am being nit-picky, this unit did not record a sack against Doege. Against Spencer Rattler, who works magic outside the pocket, there will be opportunity abound to string Rattler out and get some sacks.

Secondary: C-

This unit leaves a good deal to be desired, but against West Virginia there were continued signs of improvement. Less and less do guys just look downright confused, but there are still problem areas all over the secondary. The inability to keep their eyes out of the backfield continues to cause problems for these guys. West Virginia did them a ton of favors overthrowing open receivers and dropping so many balls, which changed how everyone felt about the secondary’s performance.

Still, like I said they looked improved week to week which is what you need from your team. The secondary was good in run support, and looked better in their individual matchups. Oklahoma is a far more dangerous passing attack, but Rattler has shown he will put the ball in harms way. Recording an INT or two would be massive next weekend.

Coaching: B+

Patterson called a great game, and most importantly did not get cute to end the game. Looking to ice West Virginia, he stayed in his base defense and stayed aggressive. Of anyone on the current staff, Patterson shows the most ability to adapt and improve each week. He rarely makes the same mistake twice, and seems to be getting a feel for his unit.

Scheming against Lincoln Riley is the definition of a bad day, and last season he thoroughly spanked Patterson. But this is not last year’s Tech defense, and that OU offense is not what it has been. This is a big challenge, and the oddsmakers are clearly of the opinion this defense cannot contain OU. However, as long as the defense plays smart assignment football, they can slow down a potent Oklahoma attack.