Texas Tech football: Statistical goals for the 2020 defense

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Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson of the Texas Tech Red Raiders oversees warmups 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)

The Texas Tech football program needs the 2020 defense to step forward and reaching the following statistical goals would be a way of doing so.

Like Captain Ahab’s search for his great white whale, the Texas Tech football program’s search for a legitimate defense feels never-ending.  But this year, the individual talent Matt Wells’ squad will trot out on that side of the ball could be the best we’ve seen in a decade.

Of course, that’s not too high of a bar to clear.  Only once (2012) since 2010 have the Red Raiders managed to field a defense in the top half of the nation when it comes to total defense.

But there remains a question as to whether defensive coordinator Keith Patterson values that stat.  In fact, he seems rather unconcerned with the yards his defense gives up.

That’s rather apparent by the way he calls a game.  Always willing to risk being burned for the sake of creating a big play for his team, Patterson is not going to sit back and try to keep the opposition in front of his unit by deploying the “cloud” zone scheme that has been en vogue in the Big 12 in the last five years thanks to the success of TCU and Iowa State.

While that scheme typically drops eight, and often even nine players into coverage to force the offense into taking small gains, Patterson’s scheme is drastically different.  He will send waves of pass defenders towards the QB at the snap with the full intention of causing negative plays and if that results in the occasional big play allowed, so be it.

We can debate the merits of that strategy all we want (and I for one and not a huge fan of it) but we had best learn to accept it as part of life as a Red Raider fan.  But the good news is that this year, Patterson may actually have the personnel to call games the way he prefers.

Time will tell if that proves to be the case but he simply can’t have a repeat of 2019.  That’s because, in his debut with the Red Raiders, his defense was atrocious.

Tech finished No. 127 out of 130 teams in total defense at 480.3 yards allowed per game.  The pass defense was even worse at No. 128 nationally (307.8 yards per game).

But that abysmal performance is in the past and it’s time to look towards Patterson’s second year.  So let’s look at the statistical goals the defense should strive for in its attempt at earning the respect of the Big 12.

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