Monday, Texas Tech defensive coordinator Keith Patterson met with the media and he discussed why he believes his defense will be better in the upcoming season.
There’s no way to put it gently. Last year’s Texas Tech defense was terrible.
Ranked 127 out of 130 teams in total yards allowed per game (480.3) and 128th in passing yards allowed (307.8), the Red Raider defense was again hard to watch as has so often been the case in the last 20 years. What’s more, eight of last year’s nine Big 12 opponents managed to score 30 points or more.
That’s not the type of debut Red Raider fans hoped to see from defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, who continues to try to radically change the way this program plays defense. Patterson believes in being ultra-aggressive throughout his defense. Whether it be how he calls plays, how he teaches his players to tackle, or how he wants his players to take chances, Patterson is fully invested in the idea of playing a type of football that will put pressure on the offense, even if that means getting burned at times.
But in reality, the scheme is less important than the talent executing it. And that’s where the improvement has to come from.
Just how much this defense will improve is going to be dependent upon whether or not returning players can take their games to a new level. That’s because the defense returns eight of the eleven starts on the side of the football return.
That list includes team leaders like DE Eli Howard, LB Riko Jeffers, and DB Zech McPhearson. What’s more, key reserves such as DLs Nelson Mbanasor and Tony Bradford Jr., Alex Hogan, Thomas Leggett, and JaMarcus Ingram all return and could see their roles increase.
Of course, Patterson is optimistic about where is defense is headed. So let’s look at what he had to say to gauge whether or not we should buy into the idea that his second year in charge of the defense will yield the type of results that are needed.