The Red Raiders come riding into Norman tomorrow on a two-game losing streak but with high hopes of ending Oklahoma's home winning streak which right now stands at 39 games. As we continue to bring you the best in pregame coverage we present our Friday Q&A with the outstanding Texas Tech blog Double T Nation.
You can read my answers to DTN's questions here.
CCM: Seth Doege seems to be the next in a long line of very productive Texas Tech quarterbacks. What are his strengths and weaknesses?
DTN: Like a lot of Texas Tech quarterbacks, he doesn't have the strongest arm, only 7.5 yards per attempt, but he's awfully accurate, completing 70% of his passes and up until the Kansas St. game, he was on a record pace in terms of touchdown to interception ratio. He's also a smart kid, having already received his degree as a junior and is working on a post-graduate degree. He seems to make more right decisions than bad decisions. In terms of getting the ball down the field, he did lose one of his big targets in WR Darrin Moore (6-4/215) early in the season and I think this has had an effect on Doege improving on those yards per attempt.
CCM: Tell us about Doege's receiving targets. Who is the biggest down field threat?
DTN: WR Eric Ward has been fantastic in the wake of Moore's injury with 8 touchdowns on the year. The interesting thing about Doege is that he does embrace the idea that he has to spread the ball around to his receivers. There are 8 receivers with 9 or more catches this year and his top three receivers are Ward (38 catches for 381 yards and 8 TD's); WR Alex Torres (35 catches for 381 yards and 1 TD); WR Darrin Moore (21 catches for 339 yards and 4 TD's in just 3 games-- although he is questionable for Saturday's game and most likely will not play); and IR Cornelius Douglas (21 catches for 273 yards and 1 TD).
CCM: How does losing running back Eric Stephens for the season change the offense?
DTN: This hurts a lot. I don't know how much the offense will change, but his replacement, RB Aaron Crawford is a fine running back, but he doesn't have the zip that Stephens possessed. Prior to Stephens' injury, he was (I think) one of the top 20 rushers in the nation, and an integral part of the offense. Crawford is no slouch, he's excellent in pass protection and he's also really good catching the ball out of the backfield, which are two huge parts of the Texas Tech offense. He's also a senior, so he's been around the block a few times. Crawford's backups are two true freshmen, RB DeAndre Washington and RB Kenny Williams, who have played sparingly thus far.
CCM: Defensively the Red Raiders are tops in the Big 12 against the pass. Are they really that good or is it a reflection of opponents attacking the with the running game?
DTN: This is a reflection of teams being able to absolutely run the ball down the throat of the Texas Tech defense and the teams that Texas Tech have played were stronger rushing the ball. The pass defense hasn't been all that bad, but the glaring weakness is that the secondary has lapses in terms of allowing opposing receivers to get past the safeties and this doesn't bode well for Texas Tech when facing the likes of Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills.
CCM: Give us some keys Tech keeping this game close into the fourth quarter allowing them to end Oklahoma's home winning streak.
DTN: As I try to be a realist, I think that the only real way for Texas Tech to keep it close is to keep pace with Oklahoma and that's a scary proposition. I don't think the Texas Tech defense is going to stop Oklahoma's offense and I have serious doubts that the Texas Tech offense can really keep pace, but if this is going to be close, I think the offense has to be on its game on Saturday night. I'd also be completely fine with Texas Tech selling out to stop the Sooner rushing game and giving Jones the short to intermediate passing game and just not give up big plays. This means that the defense could be on the field a long time, but it also may mean that it might be able to slow (just a big) the Oklahoma fast-break offense.
CCM: Care to provide a score prediction?
DTN: Considering Texas Tech walked into Norman in 2008 with their best team ever and was trounced, I'm not expecting good things. I don't know how excited the Sooners are to play Texas Tech this year and although I seriously doubt it, I hope that maybe OU is looking a bit ahead to the final game against Oklahoma St. Right now, I think that Texas Tech covers the 29 point spread, but not by much.