TT Revamped defense

Discussion in 'CF Archive Bin' started by Wesley, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Wesley

    Wesley Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Envr Engr/Program Manager
    +544 / 0 / -0 - College Football - Texas Tech's revamped defense to face ISU

    Texas Tech's revamped defense to face ISU

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    Posted: October 5, 2007

    AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Texas Tech interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil couldn't have asked for a better debut.
    Thrust into the job after Texas Tech threw for 646 yards, scored 45 points and lost, McNeil's defense gave up the fewest yards of total offense in school history in a 75-7 win over Northwestern State last week.

    McNeil, who replaced Lyle Setencich on Sept. 22, will get his first shot a Division I opponent Saturday when the Red Raiders (4-1, 0-1 Big 12) host Iowa State (1-4, 0-1). Texas Tech coach Mike Leach -- never one to bite his tongue -- likes the changes he's seen from the defense since McNeil took over.
    "Sometimes things can be overanalyzed to the point that your mind is clouded, and I think he has removed a lot of the clouds out of players' minds," Leach said of McNeil. "I see them bouncing around and playing with a high level of enthusiasm that we need to continue to improve on."
    The players say they've taken to McNeil's high-energy approach, which emphasizes a swarming style of play. McNeil has also thrown in a few schematic wrinkles, but Texas Tech's players say the biggest change is mental.
    "He is soaking wet when practice is over. He's out there running, he's in our face, and it's alright to mess up in front of him and be corrected at that time," linebacker Brian Duncan said. "That intensity from that coach is on a high level. It's something we really needed."
    Iowa State is expected to give Texas Tech's defense a stiffer test than the Blue Demons, of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). Just how much of a test the Cyclones can give is the question.
    Iowa State, in its first season under coach Gene Chizik, is last in the Big 12 and 105th in the nation at 18.8 points a game. The Cyclones have shown flashes of progress under Chizik, most notably when they upset Iowa 15-13, but turnovers have hurt them as much as any team in the nation.
    Iowa State is minus-8 in turnover margin and has been outscored a staggering 51-3 in points off takeaways. For a team that hasn't overcome mistakes of any kind, those numbers tell the story.
    "They play a huge role in why we're 1-4," Chizik said about turnovers. "It's a very fine line."
    One area Chizik has improved in his short time at Iowa State is the defense, which isn't surprising given his reputation as a defensive whiz during stops at Auburn and Texas. The Cyclones aren't exactly locking down opponents, but Chizik has turned one of the nation's worst pass defenses into the third-best in the conference.
    Their secondary hasn't seen anything like Texas Tech, though. Iowa State was no match for quarterback Graham Harrell and the Red Raiders' passing game last season in Ames, allowing a school-record six passing TDs in a 42-26 loss.
    It looks like Texas Tech's passing game is even stronger this season. Bolstered by the emergence of freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who leads the nation with 60 receptions and 14 touchdowns, Texas Tech's offense is averaging 54.6 points a game. Harrell is also a mainstay on national leader boards, with 24 touchdowns, 2,301 yards passing and just two interceptions.
    "You don't know where it's coming," Iowa State cornerback Allen Bell said. "You know what's coming, but you don't know how it's coming."
    Scoring points has never been a problem for Texas Tech, especially against Iowa State, which is 1-6 in the series. Stopping opponents from doing the same is another matter. The Red Raiders have allowed an average of 34.7 points in its last three games against Division I opponents.
    Texas Tech is hoping that the intensity McNeil has brought to the defense will be sustained through Big 12 play.
    "We have no choice; we've got to maintain it," cornerback Chris Parker said. "When you have a coach like (McNeil), he's going to expect you to go out there and be aggressive every play or you're not going to be out on the field."
  2. Wesley

    Wesley Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Envr Engr/Program Manager
    +544 / 0 / -0 | 10/04/2007 | KU, K-State football programs struggle to thrive in same small state
    KU, K-State football programs struggle to thrive in same small state


    The Kansas City Star

    To Dan McCarney, it just didn’t seem right. Everywhere he looked, he saw programs with an advantage that his would never have.
    To the west, Nebraska. To the north, Minnesota and Wisconsin. To the south, Missouri. McCarney’s Iowa State program was surrounded by states with only one Division I-A football program. Little Iowa, on the other hand, had two. Talk about landlocked.
    “You sit in the middle of that with less population and two universities,†says McCarney, who was fired last season after 12 years as the Cyclones’ head coach. “It’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact of life.â€
    The Sunflower State can relate. Kansas, the 33rd-largest state with 2.8 million people, is the smallest state to house two BCS-conference programs. Kansas and Kansas State may be headed for success this season, but history says both schools won’t be able to sustain it long-term. Only three times in the last 20 years have KU and K-State both finished with winning records.
    Of course, it’s not a rivalry week without someone somewhere saying, “This state ain’t big enough for the both of us.†But in Kansas, as well as Iowa, Oregon and Kentucky, those words have all too often rung true.
    “No one would say (those states) produce enough players for one school, let alone two,†says former Kansas coach Glen Mason. “When you put two schools in there, it makes it that much more difficult. Does it make it impossible? No.â€
    Mason and former K-State coach Bill Snyder came as close as any to pulling it off in Kansas. In 1995, KU and K-State entered the game ranked sixth and 14th, respectively. The Wildcats pummeled the Jayhawks in Manhattan 41-7, and that was that. Two years later, Mason jumped town for the Minnesota job, which had that one advantage McCarney noted. Mason wouldn’t have to battle with an in-state school for in-state recruits.
    The Jayhawks and Wildcats haven’t enjoyed success in the same season since then. It’s taken 11 years to get to Saturday, when No. 24 K-State and undefeated Kansas (also receiving votes) will play for state supremacy and a shot at the Big 12 North title. Will it be another decade before it happens again?
    “Look across the country, not just the state of Kansas,†Snyder says, “and it becomes seemingly difficult to maintain the highest level of success over a period of time. Look at the upsets this past weekend. Parity is taking hold here, and nobody’s got a surefire lock on anything. It’s difficult (for K-State and KU to both be highly successful on a regular basis) because of it. But is it doable? It’s doable.â€
    To have success at KU and K-State, both staffs have to be creative in recruiting. There simply isn’t enough homegrown talent to go around. During 2006-08, for instance, the state of Kansas has produced only 23 three-star or better recruits in a three-year span.
    “In a great year in the state of Kansas, you’re probably dealing with eight kids that are truly BCS-caliber players,†KU safeties coach Clint Bowen says. “You go 50-50 with K-State, and that’s four guys. You gotta find 21 others somewhere.â€
    KU coach Mark Mangino has built his program largely with players from Texas who were fringe players for the big Texas schools but good enough to play in the Big 12. Twenty-seven players on this year’s roster are Texans, compared with 30 from Kansas. The Kansas schools also have an inherent advantage with the high level of junior-college football being played in the state.
  3. Wesley

    Wesley Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Envr Engr/Program Manager
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    Double-T Nation :: Preview: Iowa State Cyclones v. Texas Tech Red Raiders

    Preview: Iowa State Cyclones v. Texas Tech Red Raiders
    By Seth C Section: Football
    Posted on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 10:30:15 PM EDT


    The Iowa State Cyclones (1-4, 0-1) v. The Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-1, 0-1)

    October 6, 2007 @ 6:00 p.m.


    Texas Tech Affiliates

    Fox Sports

    Lubbock, Texas
    Division I Football Statistics:

    StatisticTexas TechIowa StateRushing Offense86.80142.00Passing Offense523.60221.40Total Offense610.40363.40Scoring Offense54.6018.80Rushing Defense162.00138.40Pass Defense174.40179.40Passing Efficiency Defense110.78134.70Total Defense348.00317.80Scoring Defense24.0026.20

    Statistical LeadersTexas TechPassingGraham Harrell:
    192 Comp., 267 Att., 2,301 Yds., 24 TD, 2 Int.RushingShannon Woods:
    43 Att., 271 Yds., 7 TDReceivingMichael Crabtree:
    60 Rec., 920 Yds., 14 TD

    Statistical LeadersIowa StateTacklesAlvin Bowen: 39SacksKurtis Taylor: 3.0InterceptionsChris Singleton: 2
    • Texas Tech Passing Offense v. Iowa State Passing Defense:
      Sidebar: Is there a team where Texas Tech won't have a distinct advantage in the passing game?
      Back to Iowa State, statistically speaking, they haven't given up a ton of yards through the air and they've been decent, 24th in the nation, in pass defense. Not bad. The problem here has been in the stature of the opponent. Given that ISU played Kent, Northern Iowa, Iowa, Toledo and Nebraska means that most of those teams are quite a bit inferior, or in theory they should be, Iowa has been woeful on offense and Nebraska struggled after hanging on against Ball State. Give the Cyclones credit, they've held every team they've played under 200 yards passing, except Nebraska.
      I still can't imagine that after losing to NI, Kent and Toledo that it would mean that ISU would have played a team that's as capable as Texas Tech passing the ball (and checking the stats, they're not). Not to mention, there's not a receiver on this planet that can compare to what Michael Crabtree is currently doing.
      As far as who leads the Iowa State pass defense and without delving into an ISU depth-chart, it appears that Jessie Smith, Allen Bell and Chris Singleton are the leading tacklers in the defensive backfield. ISU is only 61st in the nation in sacks at 1.80 and defensive lineman Kurtis Taylor is leading the way.
      Where does this Texas Tech passing offense stand today? That's easy, right now our Red Raiders are atop the NCAA in passing. Harrell's done an outstanding job of getting the ball to a number of receivers, spreading the wealth. I'd still like to see that 3rd and 4th receiving threat be a little more consistent, but I'm beginning to realize that maybe that's not as important as I initially thought. Someone, whether it's Britton, Morris, Walker, Reed, etc. shows up for every game. I'm not as worried about that as I was earlier in the year.
      The offensive line received tremendous news earlier in the week when we found out that Brandon Carter would start at right guard, and that's excellent news. The offensive line has been nearly flawless, although there were reports that the line did have problems last week against NW State's quicker defensive linemen. I'm hoping that Coach Moore is making adjustments, just in case Chizik was something that he can take advangage. Advantage: Texas Tech
    • Texas Tech Rushing Offense v. Iowa State Rushing Defense: Before I started my work for this preview, I thought I was concerned about the run this year. For whatever reason I thought that the runs just wasn't as effective as in years past. Last year, Texas Tech averaged 4.71 yards per carry, this year, it's a meager 3.88. So what's the problem? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's having a relatively young and inexperienced offensive line that may be very good at pass blocking, but not quite as adept at run blocking. The other interesting note, the 2007 edition is averaging 86.80 while the 2006 squad averaged only 79.31. So this group is slightly more effective, but much less efficient.
      ISU is 50th in the nation in rushing defense, but where most teams run to set up the pass, Texas Tech passes to set up another pass, and another pass, and possibly another pass. The run for Texas Tech typically is used sparingly, and was used more last week due to the lopsided result and probably needing to run out the clock.
      As it should be, most of the ISU linebackers lead the team in tackles: Alvin Bowen, Jon Banks and Jessie Smith. The leading defensive front for Iowa State are Kurtis Taylor and Ahtypa Rubin, as well as Bryce Braaksma. The problem with ISU attempting to stop the Red Raider rushing attack is that I'm not sure that I'll expect a real rushing attack on Saturday. Despite my feelings that there won't be much need for a rushing attack, I still think that Woods & Co. will get what they typically need to keep the defenses honest. One final note, Woods already has 7 rushing touchdowns this year, which means that he's on more of a Taurean Henderson pace rather than last year's 10 rushing touchdown performance.
      Bottom line, I think the running game is just effective enough to be efficient. Advantage: Texas Tech

    Statistical LeadersIowa StatePassingBret Meyer:
    112 Comp., 179 Att., 1,092 Yds., 4 TD, 8 Int.RushingJ.J. Bass:
    96 Att., 404 Yds., 4 TDReceivingTodd Blythe:
    24 Rec., 291 Yds., 2 TD

    Statistical LeadersTexas TechTacklesPaul Williams: 34SacksBrandon Williams: 2.0InterceptionsJamar Wall: 2
    • Iowa State Passing Offense v. Texas Tech Passing Defense: This is where Texas Tech gets tested. Not necessarily this game, but Meyer is a quarterback who is more than capable of being an effective player. Meyer's biggest problem this year is turnovers. This rings true as Meyer is a fairly productive player, in fact he ranks 34th in the country in total offense, but is 86th in passing efficiency, 8 interceptions to only 4 touchdowns. That's what's killing this offense, that and a lack of efficiently scoring through the air. Meyer has a whopping 44.75 touchdowns per attempts (compare with Harrell's 11.12), which means that Meyer just isn't throwing many touchdowns.
      Todd Blythe is one of those tall, lanky receivers who really showed something early in his career, but has dropped off in production. Although this year, he's had a bit of a resurgence in that he has 24 catches for 291 yards and 2 touchdowns and R.J. Sumrall has 28 catches for 277 yards.
      Despite the improvement last week against NW St., I'm still quite nervous about thinking this defense is going to make huge improvements throughout the year. My heart tells me to believe in them, but my head is telling me otherwise.
      It doesn't help that Garcia didn't play last week, but I still like the talent and I like the depth in the defensive backfield. From a numbers perspective, the pass defense is ranked 32nd in the nation and the pass efficiency defense is ranked 34th in the nation. That's not bad, almost acceptable.
      Not to mention, the Red Raiders are tied for 38th in the nation in sacks, which means that Texas Tech has put some sort of pressure on the opposing offenses. Advantage: Texas Tech
    • Iowa State Rushing Offense v. Texas Tech Rushing Defense: This is where I get nervous. Texas Tech was able to let OSU's Zac Robinson look like a Eric Crouch and I think that Meyer has, at the very least, similar type of talent. Meyer has rushed for 195 yards this year, and I'm afraid that if the same type of holes open up as they did against OSU, it could be an incredibly frustrating game.
      Thus, the key for me this week is stopping the run. At all costs, do not let running back J.J. Bass and Meyer get going. This will have to be a collective effort, from the defensive line to the linebackers. This also means that the offensive line cannot be allowed to create running lanes for quarterbacks or running backs alike. Contain these guys and we'll be fine.
      And could there be a better opportunity for this defense to make a statement? The entire unit has been doubted all season long and much has been made that there's no reason discussing Texas Tech until the defensive unit makes a stand. Why not now, why not on Saturday against Iowa State. The Cyclones aren't necessarily adept at rushing the ball, 69th in the nation, so this is where you do it.
      However, I've got to see something, so as much as I'd like to pick the Red Raiders here, I want to see production. Advantage: Iowa State
    PREDICTION: Iowa State 17, Texas Tech 42.
  4. Wesley

    Wesley Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Envr Engr/Program Manager
    +544 / 0 / -0
    Iowa State (+24½) at Texas Tech

    Game Time: 10/06/2007 07:00 PM [​IMG] -[​IMG]
    By: Brad Diamond |

    [​IMG] Sure, Texas Tech has an explosive offense, but their defense is suspect at best. Take the big points and Iowa State this Saturday night when the Cyclones visit the Red Raiders.
    The Cyclones went out to Lincoln and dominated the stat sheet, but came up short on the scoreboard 35-17 as Nebraska finished well, out-scoring ISU 21-7 in the second-half. The key play was a 93-yard interception return by the Huskers with the Cyclones charging to the end zone.
    Overall, though, the statistics favored ISU with slightly over 39 minutes in time of possession and 415 yards of offense. If the visiting Cyclones can muster similar numbers this week they will offset the slick passing game of QB Graham Harrell and the skilled wide out set fielded by the Red Raiders.
    Iowa State is 1-4 SU this season with a loss to Northern Iowa (24-13) in Game 2 of the season. But, the Cyclones have upset Iowa in Ames 15-13. Thus far, Texas Tech has put together a decent 4-1 season, but more dramatic has been their #1 ranking in the NCAA loading up their offense. In fact, they now average over 600 yards per game, 7.46 yards per play and 38 touches to date. They manhandled Northwester State of the Southland Conference last week, 75-7.
    Still, Iowa State is a middle rung Big-12 unit that will not quit, and suddenly has found a running game. Without question, slowing the tempo of this battle is critical for Cyclones offensive coordinator Robert McFarland who has said as much this week. Recall, the Red Raiders are allowing 24 points per game defensively. If the Cyclones put up three touches, they cover!
    Free Pick: Iowa State +24½
  5. Wesley

    Wesley Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2006
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    #5 Wesley, Oct 5, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2007
    Tech football looks for first conference win against Iowa State - Sports
    Tech football looks for first conference win against Iowa State

    Ben Maki

    Issue date: 10/5/07

    [​IMG] Media Credit: Coleman Morefield

    Texas Tech will look continue its winning ways as the team returns to Big 12 Conference play 6 p.m. Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.

    Tech's (4-1, 0-1 in Big 12 play) defense is still transitioning to interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill's style of coaching.

    Tech coach Mike Leach said McNeill takes his job seriously and puts everything he has into being successful.

    "He's very passionate about it," he said. "He's always in constant motion and he's always done a good job with groups of people. Having enthusiasm in what you're doing is more important than anything."

    In their last game, the Red Raiders held Northwestern (La.) State to seven points and 118 total yards, but redshirt freshman linebacker Brian Duncan said the bar has been raised for this week.

    "Seven points is not even in the question," Duncan said. "We're going to try to hold them to zero (points) and do all we can to hold them to zero."

    Iowa State (1-4, 0-1) has been turnover prone in 2007 with 13 turnovers, including eight interceptions from quarterback Brett Meyer.

    "I think that one word can really describe every loss - turnovers," Cyclones coach Gene Chizik "They play a huge role in why we're 1-4. I've said it since the beginning: I think the game is real simple - you get turnovers and you don't give the ball up and you've got a chance to win."

    Leach said he sees similarities in Chizik's first year as a head coach and his own.

    It kind of reminds me of my first year here just from the standpoint that there are things that you must adjust and you improve quickly as time goes on, which I think that they've done," he said. "I think there are always challenges as you get your stuff in place."

    Before taking the job at Iowa State, Chizik spent two seasons as assistant head coach and co-defenisve coordinator at Texas, where he has experience against the Red Raider offense.

    "They're averaging 610 yards of offense and 55 points a game, so I guess other people have struggled preparing for them as well," Chizik said. "Whether they run it or throw it, whatever they do they're doing it really well. They are difficult to prepare for because they are really good at what they do."

    Last season, Tech beat the Cyclones 42-26 in Ames, Iowa, thanks in part to 368 yards passing and six touchdowns by Tech junior quarterback Graham Harrell.

    "That was a big game last year," Harrell said. "We came out and played really well last year against them in an environment (that) wasn't what you would plan on for having a great offensive game - rainy, real windy, kind of snowy, cold."

    Chizik said he believes Harrell's experience under center for Tech makes him more dangerous than other quarterbacks who have only been able to start for one season in Lubbock.

    "He is executing that system phenomenally," he said. "He's a young guy that's got it down, which is a little bit different from what they've had and that's scary. He kind of has that knack and the intangibles that good quarterbacks have. He's got it and then he's in a system that if you're a good quarterback it magnifies all of your skills because you throw it 70 times a game, 60 times a game, whatever it is and he's got it down now and he's really good."

    After losses by Oklahoma and Texas Saturday, Harrell said the Iowa State game could help the Red Raiders get back on top in the Big 12 South.

    "It's wide open for anyone because only two teams have won their conference openers," he said. "You just have to take it one game at a time and try to win every week and that's what we're going to try to do."
  6. Wesley

    Wesley Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2006
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    Chizik: Turnovers Big Reason Why Iowa State Losing - Sports News Story - KCCI Des Moines
    Chizik: Turnovers Big Reason Why Iowa State Losing

    ISU Faces Another Challenge Against Texas Tech

    POSTED: 6:00 am CDT October 2, 2007
    UPDATED: 6:35 am CDT October 2, 2007


    AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State coach Gene Chizik said it's easy to see why his team is 1-4.
    To him, teams that force turnovers and protect the football always have a chance to win.
    The Cyclones have been dismal on both counts this season. They are minus-8 in turnover margin and have been outscored a mind-boggling 51-3 in points off turnovers. They rank a dismal 111th nationally in turnover margin and have yet to get more takeaways than their opponent through five games.

    Now Iowa State faces another challenge Saturday against Texas Tech, which 4-1.
    Reversing the turnover trend against the Red Raiders won't be easy. Texas Tech, true to form, has the nation's top scoring offense at an eye-popping 54.6 points a game.
    Much of the success Texas Tech has had on offense comes from Graham Harrell, who has thrown for 24 touchdowns against just two picks.
    The Cyclones haven't decided whether to start Jason Scales or J.J. Bass at running back against Texas Tech. Bass missed the Nebraska game with a shoulder injury.

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