We'll have plenty more Texas Tech preview posts as the week continues and I'd highly encourage you to visit Viva The Matadors who, in my opinion, do as good a job as any blog in the SB Nation family.
This probably isn't going to be the most well organized post you've ever read from me, but I just wanted to throw out some quick thoughts on Saturday's game while they were still fresh in my head. So bare with me a little bit, but keep in mind this post's main purpose is to generate some conversation.
So get busy in that comment section.
Look, nobody in this conference is stopping Jace Amaro. The guy is a nightmare match-up for every team in this league and that's not changing on Saturday. It'd be one thing if he was Tech's only real threat on offense, but with guys like Eric Ward and Bradley Marquez (among others) lining up around him that certainly will not be the case.
So ask me what I'd like to see happen, then ask me what I expect to see happen.
What I'd like to see happen: OU uses Cortez Johnson, a bigger more physical corner with the cover skills to theoritically stay close but also big enough to not just get 'bodied off' by Amaro, in bracket coverage with safety help over the top.
What I expect to see happen: OU is going to use Julian Wilson because he typically covers the inside receiver even though he's been somewhat suspect in coverage his entire career. Still uses the bracket coverage a majority of the time, but to no avail as both Wilson and whoever the safety used struggle to contain Amaro.
Bonus 'What If' - What makes me put my fist through my television if I see: OU tries to use a linebacker to cover Amaro.
It's nothing person with Wilson for me as much as I just feel like the coaches are playing him out of position. You know, kind of like how they did with Gabe Lynn for three years. I think Wilson would benefit very similarly by a move to safety just like Lynn has done. I think they are doing him a disservice by asking him to cover one-on-one in space.
The odds for what I'd like to see are not great because (1) Wilson is who the coaches always use and (2) Johnson basically isn't playing and appears to have fallen behind Kass Everett on the depth chart. Well both those reasons and that my suggestion almost makes too much sense, therefore significantly reducing the odds Bob/Mike/whoever would actually try it.
Not Just A Pretty Face
I've heard a number of people who cover OU for a living this week extolling the Texas Tech passing game and how infrequently they run the ball.
Well, while I don't really get the whole 'Kliff Kingsbury = Dreamboat' narrative I do very much buy that the guy is an incredibly talented offensive mind and play-caller.
So why would anyone think he's going to put in the OU film, watch their defense get shredded on the ground (for the most part), and then not run the ball on Saturday?
Yeah, I realize it's not necessarily their normal method of attack. And yeah, I realize teams that have hurt OU on the ground have done so out of bigger, two tight end sets and that's not what Tech does. But in my opinion you can just as easily spread this OU defense out, run right at them, and have success.
Maybe they'll choose to do so Saturday and maybe they won't, but I don't think you can just assume Kingsbury fails to recognize this and throw the ball because "that's what they do." Or maybe you can and we'll hear a desolate Bob Stoops once again in his postgame talking about how their opponent "did some different things" that "we weren't prepared for" yet again.
No, really Bob? You mean they didn't just copy and paste their previous game plans that you studied on film?!? Wow, who could have possibly anticipated that?
Tackling Is Key
Captain Obvious statement I realize, but it doesn't make it any less important on Saturday. Tackling is always key against Texas Tech because so much of what they do offensively is designed around getting yards after the catch.
In theory it's a very simple thing, but if you miss a tackle on a third down, to extend a Tech drive, that eventually ends in points, that's how you lose this game.
Free Release = Death
Somewhat related to the point above, another aspect Tech's offense that you have to plan for is all the quick, short, timing routes their receivers run.
The worst thing you can do against that type of an offense is to play 5, 6, 7, even 10 yards off the line of scrimmage and allow their receivers a free release into their route.
What you should do is play up on the line in bump coverage to throw off the timing of their routes. Sure, odds are you're probably going to get beat deep on occasion if your corner misses his bump and doesn't have the speed to recover. But for me that's more than worth the risk as opposed to playing off and allowing the quarterback easy completions.
This is something both Stoops brothers have proved resistant to doing in years past, instead preferring to play
too far off and giving up easy pitch-and-catch chances with the hope of tackling well and limiting yards after catch.
Tech has proved over the years they are more than happy to take what you give them if you're playing five yards off and I have no reason to believe Kingsbury would be any different.
Alright, so like I said just some random thoughts. What do you agree or disagree with? What/where/who do you see playing key roles in this game?
Get to commenting!
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