5 Keys to Taking Out Texas Tech
Go Big and Come Home With a Win
Texas is proving it can keep up with the top offenses in the Big 12, and in order to prevail in West Texas today the Longhorns need to keep opening up the playbook while allowing room for sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger to pivot and make play calls at the line.
Ehlinger’s teammates said they’ve been impressed at how their young QB is reading defenses and adjusting pre-snap.
Transfer running back Tre Watson, who played at California with Jared Goff, the now-starting NFL quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams.
“He’s checking out of different looks and changing runs to put us in the best position to be successful. Having him has been amazing, his development and growth and controlling the offense has been great,” Watson said. “Him being able to make checks and notice blitz and being able to read safety keys. I’ve been around a lot of great quarterbacks — I had Jared Goff, Davis Webb, so seeing that and seeing how they did and work and move the offense, and seeing how Sam is — it’s pretty good.”
That has led to fast starts and strong finishes.
“We’re coming out with energy and not tip-toeing around,” junior wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey said. “We’re going out there and knowing we’re a great offense, a high-powered offense, and executing.”
Adjusting Ahead for the Moment
Senior defensive end Charles Omenihu saw constant double teams against West Virginia, as teams are throwing more blockers and looks the stud rusher’s way.
Omenihu has honed in on how to counter that, and it’ll be up to the rest of the defense to adjust as he does, and to put enough pressure on Texas Tech that they can’t send extra blockers Omenihu’s way.
“We just weren’t stopping the run, so you cant just tee off, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “It’s very hard for (defensive coordinator Todd Orlando) to call something aggressive and then for me to be like, ‘OK I can anticipate something happening’ because you really can’t. In the back of my mind I’m thinking about who’s gonna hit me next.
“(Now) I’ve gone over that, I understand how I’m gonna work through that, just anticipating if that happens again.”
Fly By Tortillas
The crowd, especially on a Saturday night, could be quite rocking in Lubbock as Red Raider fans sure do love to shower opposing players with more than just boos.
The known tortilla throwers think they can rattle foes, but this Texas team said they aren’t worried about some flying dough.
“What about it? I've played in OU-Texas, so if that environment is gonna make me wanna start cringing up then I got a problem,” laughed Omenihu. “If you’re too worried about tortillas and environment and whatever the hell us they’re gonna be doing then you’re wasting your time.”
Wide receiver Devin Duvernay sees a team that is more honed-in this year than in the past, and is better equipped to handle adversity at all times.
“I feel like last year there were a lot of distractions and things going on,” Duvernay said. “It was kinda hard at times to just focus on your craft. We kinda put those to the side now and just zone in.”
No Surprises and More Nelson
During the loss to West Virginia, the Mountaineers gashed Texas with their delayed runs and by hitting the edge repeatedly. Though the Longhorns only lost by one on a stunning final two-point conversion, it was the inability to adapt to a specific play type that ultimately did Texas in — the draw.
“The only thing that surprised me, honestly, it was probably the draw,” Chris Nelson said. “I knew we were gonna get the draw but I didn’t know they were gonna run it that many times. Guys were dropping back for the ball, I don’t know what it was honestly.
Nelson was limited in the game against WVU with an ankle injury, but that has enabled him to suit up for the game today whereas a full game against the Mountaineers might have sidelined the veteran for even longer.
“I could have helped in a big factor, I could have at least snatched off the center but (the runner) still would have bounced it the other way. I was trying to read what where he was going and he would just bounce off a different way.”
Let Lil’J Do Big Things
Humphrey has proven he can do just about anything on the football field.
He might have extra motivation against Texas Tech, though he won’t necessarily admit that. Humphrey himself reached out to the coach staff in Lubbock when he was in high school, but the team never got back to him and now he’s on the Forty Acres where he belongs.
The Longhorn is certainly looking to show them they should have picked up a phone.
When we asked if he remembers it, Humphrey answered, “Always.”
“I never got a chance to visit, I wanted to but the coaches never got back to me. I stay motivated, that doesn’t affect me at all.”