This week, Texas Tech football has a little extra time to prepare for their Saturday night contest with the Texas State Bobcats in Lubbock before a bye-week. After that, the Red Raiders resume Big 12 play in Lawrence, Kansas against the Jayhawks. In the mean time, there’s plenty of work to do.
Discipline, Discipline, Discipline
A lot’s been made of the ugly affair Tech’s win over TCU turned into Thursday night: turning the ball over, dropping the ball just before scoring, and incurring penalties on the sideline for excessive celebration. Despite flashes of brilliance from guys like Jace Amaro and Kenny Williams, for the most part Tech’s offense turned in it’s sloppiest game of the season.
Add to that the numbers – committing 9.3 penalties for 91 yards per game (ranks 121st) – and there’s definitely cause for concern heading into the meat of the season. This week against Texas State and the bye-week should be spent focusing on playing with discipline.
Work the Running Game
Tech runs the ball 30 times per game, but right now the Red Raiders rank 104th in rushing yards per game (109). The attempts are there, but running the football is nearly impossible at this point.
After three games, all rushers average a combined 3.6 yards per carry, and the best runs these last few weeks came on quarterback scrambles and in garbage time vs. SFA’s second-string defense. If Tech wants to win many more games, serious attention must be paid to running the ball effectively.
Baker Mayfield finally started playing like a true freshman on Thursday against TCU. Bad throws, impatience in the pocket and poor decisions kept the Red Raiders from scoring in the second and third quarters. It wasn’t until Davis Webb came into the ball game that Tech started to roll again, but even then it was only 10 points. Part of that is lack of experience, but the offensive line hasn’t helped much either. Two guys need to get healthy in a hurry for this team.
Sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer is still out with a back injury with no time table available for his return and junior offensive lineman Beau Carpenter continues to rehab a sprained ankle. Both these guys are experienced elder statesmen on this team and their absence is noticable. They’ve got two weeks to get healthy before Big 12 play resumes.