Texas Tech football: Matt Wells discusses loss to Cyclones, previews Kansas

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - OCTOBER 19: Defensive Lineman Lonzell Gilmore #94, head coach Matt Wells, and defensive back Douglas Coleman III #3 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders wait in the tunnel before the college football game against the Iowa State Cyclones on October 19, 2019 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - OCTOBER 19: Defensive Lineman Lonzell Gilmore #94, head coach Matt Wells, and defensive back Douglas Coleman III #3 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders wait in the tunnel before the college football game against the Iowa State Cyclones on October 19, 2019 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /

Earlier this week, Texas Tech football head coach Matt Wells spoke to the media to recap the loss to Iowa State and give his thoughts on what is in store Saturday in Lawrence.

Something we are learning about Matt Wells is that he’s rather blunt when speaking about his team to the media.  And earlier this week, he didn’t dance around what went wrong for the Texas Tech football team in last Saturday’s 34-24 loss to Iowa State in Lubbock.

"“They took advantage of some of our errors, but they also came out and made some plays,” he said. “We did not match it on offense, which was the disappointing part on our end, especially the first three drives.”"

He went on to point out that each of his team’s first three drives could have been extended had his team made simple plays but each resulted in punts leading to a quick 20-0 deficit.  Wells then pointed out that it was a lack of attention to the small things that led to his team’s slow start.

"“Not one thing,” he said. Just weren’t very detailed oriented. That comes back to didn’t communicate, I thought, whatever adjustment to a formation. Weren’t real sharp and then all of a sudden, that’s the Big 12’s leading passing offense right now. They make you pay.”"

Wells said that factors such as lining up inside or outside of a receiver and communicating defensively on crossing routes were two of the problems his coaching staff noticed after watching the game film.  That’s not all too surprising given that this team is still learning new schemes on both sides of the football.

He also addressed the offensive and defensive game plans, neither of which seemed to please the fan base this week.  Most of the ire was drawn by the high number of wide receiver screens the Red Raiders threw against the Cyclones.

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"“Well, they gave it to us, they gave it to us,” he said matter of factly.  “A lot of those were off of the run game, which we’d done earlier in the year. The last couple opponents have been taking that away from us. And Jett did a good job of getting it out there. A couple times we didn’t block very good, a couple times he didn’t throw it real good, and then there were a couple others that were schemed in as well, which made it probably look like it was a little bit more. But some of them were coming off the run game.”"

By my unofficial count, Tech ran 16 wide receiver screens for an average of over five yards per play.  Though that’s not a sexy way to move the ball, it was more effective than most fans believed it was.

What wasn’t effective was the blitz-heavy scheme of DC Keith Patterson.  Wells gave some insight into why his team wasn’t able to impact ISU QB Brock Purdy in the pocket.

"“We blitzed in this game more than we did the Oklahoma State game.” Wells said.  “We probably pressured six or seven-man 25 percent this last game. Oklahoma State, it was less than 10 percent. We played better effort, played better energy, got on the edges, got after the passer a whole lot better really the last two weeks. Just because of scheme, we always say we try not to use scheme as a crutch, scheme being six or seven-man pressure. So how do you get to the quarterback better? Some of it is probably scheme. We can’t rely on that.“We gotta get on edges. We gotta rush better. We gotta rush more efficiently. Guys have to hit home when they do, and when we do free them up, because of scheme, you’ve gotta hit home. You gotta cover a little bit better in the back end. When you don’t cover as well on the back end, the ball is out a whole lot quicker. Therefore you’re not getting home. So it ties hand in hand. We weren’t real sharp on the back end either.”"

If you aren’t proving to be able to get to the QB and your secondary is being torched as a result, it isn’t wise to continue to do what isn’t working.  But that’s what Tech did last weekend, much to the bewilderment of many.

As for this week’s opponent, Wells correctly focused on KU sophomore RB Pooka Williams.  He is one of the most explosive runners in the nation and certainly appears to have the attention of the Red Raiders.

"“Pooka is extremely, ultra-talented running back,” he said.  “and when that guy gets into the second level he’s got the ability to hit a homerun every single time, as evidenced by his play a little bit Saturday night. But not just Saturday night. You’ve seen it throughout this year. I know one of our defensive guys said you saw it last year. But the guy can hit a homerun.”"

But outside of Williams, senior QB Carter Stanley has given the Jayhawks something they’ve lacked for years, competent play in the pocket.  Wells sees Stanley as a player that could pose some problems this weekend.

It will be interesting to see if Stanley can build off his strong outing against Texas last week.  In the 50-48 loss in Austin, he completed 27 of 47 passes for 310 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks.

"“I think he played confident,” Wells said. “I think he played with his chest stuck out, and I think [new Kansas offenisve coordinator] Coach Dearmon, you know, called some plays and designed it, you know, that two weeks that the change has kind of been made, I think that’s — I think 9 responded real well. He seemed like he was running the show and very, very confident. And that’s a credit to his coaching. That’s probably a credit to his being coachable and his coachability. But, yeah, that’s a good point you make, and I think he played real well Saturday.”"

Finally, Wells discussed the fact that his program is still searching for its first road win with the Red Raiders.  It would seem like Lawrence would be the best place for that to happen given that Tech has never lost at Kansas.

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"“I think we’ve got to start fast,” Wells said.  “You’ve gotta be able to run the ball and stop the run on the road. You gotta play physical in the trenches. I don’t think there’s any magic thing, and that’s the thing with your — to lead into that question, you said in your first year and in the foundation. I think we need to understand that you follow the plan to win and you do things right during the week. It’s not something magic. It’s not the movie you go to or it’s not how you come into the stadium or the music in the locker room. That stuff, that doesn’t matter. And so I think, you know, you get past all that and I think it’s a lot more ball related.”"