For several years Texas Tech has been known for a blistering offense and a defense that couldn’t block a call, let alone another Big 12 offense. Are things finally changing in Lubbock? Is this the year the Red Raiders will field a defense?
This much is clear, it will be harder for them to rely on their offense with QB Patrick Mahomes headed off to the NFL.
“You lose Patrick Mahomes and everybody thinks we’re not going to be able to score points or do things offensively,” Kingsbury said after the Frisco spring game. “That’s just not the case.”
So can Texas Tech improve on defense? What makes this season so different? Well, for one, coach Kliff Kingsbury is doing things a bit different. He told the media earlier this spring that he is not overseeing the offense as much as he has in the past. Instead, he is focusing more on defense and supporting defensive coordinator David Gibbs’ squad.
“I hope I’m able to make sure they understand I’ve got their back,” Kingsbury said. “When you’re over there with the offense all the time, always game-planning and always coaching offense and always talking trash to the defense, I think it may help not to be in that role, to show, ‘I’m with y’all as well.'”
It may be paying off as well. Those close to the program say they have noticed significant changes on the defensive side of the ball.
There are other reasons to believe this might be the year defense returns to Lubbock. Coach David Gibbs is now in his third year. That may not seem significant, but before Gibbs, the Red Raiders had seven defensive coordinators in eight years. For years, the only thing the defensive players in Lubbock were doing was having to pick up new schemes, terminology and defensive ideologies. It’s hard to buy into a system when they don’t know what that system is going to be from year to year.
Another noticeable change, may be the most important. In their two open scrimmages this spring, the defense didn’t look like it was being held together with duct tape. No, it looked like an honest to goodness defense with athletes that looked the part. Seth Jungman with Staking The Plains noted as much after the Frisco game.
The guys on the defense are bigger, they don’t look over-matched. And the defense doesn’t even have what is likely the two starting linebackers in Dakota Allen and Jordyn Brooks playing this spring. I thought guys that were running with the second team were good, Tony Jones and Jamile Johnson and Christian Taylor. They all looked like they could play and they were playing behind Brayden Stringer D’Vonta Hinton.The defensive backfield doesn’t look undersized and mis-matched, they look like Big 12 defenders. The defensive ends don’t look like they’re 30 pounds underweight, they look like they’re legitimate players with legitimate size.
So, is this the year the Red Raiders field a defense? All indications point to yes. Now, I don’t think anyone is expecting them to magically roll out a top 25 defense all of a sudden, but it looks like they will finally get some help from that side of the ball. Which is good, because they will need it.