The Texas Tech offensive line must be able to control the game
Regardless of how Kittley decides to attack the Cougar defense, everything is going to be incumbent upon the offensive line playing well. Last week, Tech struggled to handle the KSU defensive line and it resulted in an injured Morton and a frazzled Strong.
Even on Strong’s TD pass to Jerand Bradley, the freshman had to stand in the pocket and absorb a massive hit from a defender thanks to a lapse in the protection. Too many of those plays this week will lead to more struggles for the offense because Morton can’t withstand much more punishment and Strong isn’t experienced enough to know where to expect pressure from.
BYU is a strange defense though. On one hand, they are ultra-aggressive. Their defensive coordinator believes in bringing pressure from any and everywhere and he is hell-bent on forcing the offense’s hand.
However, that aggressive strategy has rarely led to sacks. The Cougars have only seven on the year, the fewest in the conference.
Where that pressure might be effective is in causing mistakes. BYU has picked off eight passes this year, good for third-most in the Big 12. That should be concerning for Texas Tech fans given what we saw from Strong last week as he threw three INTs on three-straight possessions in the second half.
In this game, the pass protection afforded to whichever QB Kittley has available is going to be the key to the game. However, the line is also going to have to open some holes on the ground.
Teams can also decide to blitz to stop the run and BYU will likely try to slow Tahj Brooks by sending waves of defenders to every gap between the tackles. However, that is a risky strategy.
If Tech’s line (and the tight ends) can win at the point of attack and get Brooks or CamRon Valdez to the second level of the defense, there could be big plays to be had on the ground if BYU is caught with its linebackers or safeties cheating up to play the run.
We’ve seen Tech’s line dominate games against Houston and Baylor. Can that happen again in Provo? It had better because if not, there seems to be little chance that the Red Raiders will be able to have success against an aggressive BYU defense.