September 3, 2011

Tech adjusts, stifles the option

Imagine a work environment where everything you were taught in training didn't apply to the job at hand.

You've just stepped into the Texas Tech defense's first half situation Saturday. It was a period where Texas State -- a 38-point underdog -- was able to use an option game to jump out tp a 10-9 halftime lead and scare the Red Raider fanbase into thinking it'd take a miracle to beat the FCS school.

The truth of the matter, however, was Tech hadn't prepared for the option. And once Tech made the adjustments, the Red Raiders put up 51 unanswered points for a 51-10 win.

"The thing was we didn't practice (the option that much," Langley said. "We didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal in their offense. But as you saw in the game that's what they were real heavy on."

How could the option have snuck up on the Red Raiders though?

Easily.

No one in Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione's first-year coaching regime, co-offensive coordinators from New Mexico and Middle Tennessee State, had never run an option-heavy offense.

Texas State thought it could confuse the Tech defense early and take advantage of the confusing and succeeded. It took the Red Raiders a full half to figure it out.

But Tech defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow and the Red Raider defense managed to master an option game they weren't prepared for adjustment by adjustment while quarterback Seth Doege and wideout Darrin Moore caught fire to put the Bobcats in a tough spot.

By the end of the third quarter, Tech had taken a 29-10 lead and the Red Raider defense was well on its way to stifling Texas State to just 115 second half yards.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said the key to mastering the option on the fly was teaching how to line up appropriately against it, which Glasgow taught through the first half and in the locker room at halftime.

"The first thing - you have to remember we didn't have a clue what formation they would be in," head coach Tommy Tuberville said in the Red Raiders' team meeting room after the game. "Defense, you have to have defense formations. And we'll have some sessions right in this room here Monday and there will be a lot of mistakes, probably alignment mistakes that just got us in trouble.

"It's little things that keep you from being a real good team."
Tech also rallied in the second half for three turnovers and tied a Red Raider record for most turnovers forced in a game at four.


All and all, not a bad game for a defense that is still incredibly inexperienced.

Defensive end Leon Mackey, tackle Dennell Wesley, linebackers Blake Dees, Sam Eguavoen, safety Pete Robertson and cornerback Sawyer Vest all saw their first action ever as Red Raiders.

"I was proud of the kids and the way they stayed course," Glasgow said. "They played hard and we ended up making a few plays. We didn't play the run very well, I don't think we tackled very well, we didn't tackle well on third down. But the kids kept their composure, continued to play hard and the ball bounced our way a few times."

Tuberville said Red Raider fans can expect to see a much better team against New Mexico on Sept. 17 when the squad returns from a unique second-week bye. Maybe an especially improved team considering the Red Raiders do have film on the Lobos.

"Good confidence builder knowing that we got behind, we were behind for two and a half quarters and then came back and won by 40," Tuberville said. "That goes to show you the patience and playing capabilities we have. But we're going to have to play much better when we go to New Mexico here in a couple of weeks."

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