Lubbock newspaper Texas Tech football
The Texas Tech defense practices against a spread-passing attack year-round: the one Kliff Kingsbury coaches.
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs isn’t sure if anyone can tell.
“We played better against the slow teams that line up and run power football than we played against the spread teams, which we see every day, ” Gibbs said Monday. “That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but that’s the truth.”
TCU eked out a 55-52 victory Saturday in Lubbock. Of the Horned Frogs’ 750 yards, quarterback Trevone Boykin threw for 485. Gibbs played five cornerbacks, trying to keep them fresh. He said there’s not much difference among the five.
Asked who he regards as his best corner, Gibbs said, “We don’t have a best corner. We don’t have a best safety. And I help coach DBs, so it’s on me.”
This week looks no easier. Tech faces No. 5 Baylor at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Arlington.
TCU is ranked third in the nation in passing offense at 401.5 yards per game, but Baylor is ranked seventh at 387.3 and leads the FBS in scoring offense at 64 points per game.
“Baylor is a lot more power run-game oriented, play-action pass, ” Gibbs said. “TCU, in my opinion, is more like our offense — you spread it out, and your play-action is off of quick runs. Baylor will line up and run it 60 times on you if you let them. They play with a tight end a lot more than us and TCU do.”
TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson caught 18 passes for 267 yards and three TDs against the Red Raiders. Some of his biggest plays came when he found soft spots in zones.
“He finds his holes, and they route read a lot, which good offenses do, ” Gibbs said. “It’s no excuse. We shouldn’t let a guy catch that many balls.”
On top of his 18 catches, Doctson tipped the game-winning touchdown pass that running back Aaron Green, circling behind him, caught in the back of the end zone.
Gibbs said the Red Raiders were playing man-to-man defense across the board and double-teaming Doctson on that play.
“And then, obviously, (Green) didn’t get covered, ” he said. “We assigned on him. Just didn’t go with our coverage.”
If Ian Sadler can’t play this week, Jonathan Giles and Zach Austin would be the 1-2 at “Y” inside receiver, offensive coordinator Eric Morris said.
It might not work out that way in real time, though. Morris said there could be some shuffling to get the four best receivers on the field. Giles is a true freshman, Austin a sophomore with no career catches.
Sadler came out of Saturday’s game in the second quarter with a left knee injury and didn’t return, though he was walking along the sidelines. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury offered little update on his status Monday.
Giles filled in for Sadler the rest of the way. Giles made three catches for 12 yards, but didn’t play very well, Morris said.
“It was a big moment for him to have to step in, ” Morris said, “and his eyes were pretty big.”
The Red Raiders could tilt toward three-receiver, two-back formations to get more experienced personnel on the field.
One move Morris ruled out was switching Cameron Batson from “H” inside receiver to “Y” inside receiver. Morris said he wants Batson to keep subbing for Jakeem Grant, because Grant’s performance tends to drop once he gets beyond 60 plays.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed Monday that sophomore defensive end Talor Nunez and redshirt freshman fullback Stanton Keane are out for the season with knee injuries. Both took place in practice.
Both players are former walk-ons who had begun to make a name for themselves. Nunez was placed on scholarship in August, led the team in touch sacks in preseason practices, according to co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith, and began the season as the top backup to Branden Jackson.
Running backs coach Mike Jinks said recently that Keane, a Cooper graduate, already has shown enough to suggest he’ll be a significant contributor in the future.
“Both those guys were core special teams guys for me, ” special teams coach Darrin Chiaverini said. “So there were some transitions that I had to get the next man ready.”
Keane played on the kickoff, punt, kickoff return and punt-return teams, starting on three. Nunez started on the kickoff-return, punt and field-goal units.
Tech’s Oct. 10 home game against Iowa State has been set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff and will be regionally televised on FSN. LBs D’Vonta Hinton and Bobby Esiaba have changed jersey numbers, Hinton going from No. 35 to No. 34 and Esiaba from No. 37 to No. 30. Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith continues to be an any-day-now expectant father to a new daughter. He and his wife Emily plan to name her Kennedy Bestin. Saturday’s game will match the two leading rushers in the Big 12, Baylor’s Shock Linwood averaging 121.0 yards per game and Tech’s DeAndre Washington averaging 118.0.
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