Tracking Mack: Nov. 7
Opening statement: Itís been an exciting week because it is Texas Tech. Itís in-state and itís usually a shootout. All of the guys know one another. These seniors have had a great run here and at home. Theyíve won 20-something games and only lost a couple in this stadium and they want to finish it right. Itís really important for them to do that and they have had a lot of spirit this week. They have a tremendous amount of respect for Texas Tech and the way they can move the ball. We werenít pleased with our defense last week against the pass and we know itís going to be a super challenge this weekend and we have to continue to stay on the field offensively and not turn the ball over as much. We have changed the word turnover into takeaways. Weíre not getting turnovers so we need to start taking it away more and obviously do a great job with the kicking game.
Youíve got on top of senior day this weekend itís Veterans Day which is really important to our country and obviously this stadium and the State of Texas. After giving the game ball to Mr. Denius last week, he was emotional in the dressing room afterwards and heís been proud of that this week, but we will have a lot of soldiers that have meant a lot to our country that will be honored this weekend. It is also another weekend for our Hall of Honor. Priest Holmes will be honored. He wonít be here, but his parents will be. You also get to see a guy like Johnnie Johnson who is one of the great defensive backs in Texas history will also be honored. It is fitting that he be honored on a night where Tech is going to throw it 60 something times.
On if they will play more defensive backs than linebackers against Texas Tech: Maybe, that is something we obviously look at during the week and this is a week where you usually try to incorporate some quarter, dime, or nickel stuff with extra defensive backs and we just have to figure out who is healthy.
On what the team is looking like in practice: Well, a lot of the guys were disappointed on defense last week for three quarters. It was obvious to them, we missed too many tackles, we didnít bat enough balls down, we didnít intercept enough balls and Tech throws it better than Oklahoma State, so itís a great challenge for us and one that the guys are looking forward to, to make sure we can improve some. We have to be a lot better than we were last week and everybody knows that. Our guys arenít fools, they can watch it on film. They know what we have to do.
On what they learned from watching film on Texas Tech: (Their opponents) showed a lot of looks, they blitzed a lot, they dropped some people out. We have said this before, but when youíre playing an offense like Tech, itís so unique and you donít see it very much. The problem is trying to put in enough things that week that you can work on. We did some of the things that we did against Baylor so we at least been able to work on a similar type offense within the last three weeks. You have to be really careful that you donít put in too much, trying too hard because if youíre not going to do it very well, they do what they do better than you do in a week because they do what they do every day in their execution. Secondly, when we have had trouble against them, we have given out. They make you rush the passer so much you have to keep fresh legs on the field and that will be really important for us on Saturday and it looks like (the temperature) is going to be in the 80ís.
On the depth on defense after the injuries last week: Itís still a concern. We will probably have to wait until tomorrow to figure out if some of them are going to play or not. Some of them have practiced without pad and just been involved in stuff. We may not know until game time about two or three of them and that is a concern for us.
On what they have been doing to improve tackling: You just keep working on it. It is the weirdest thing in the world. Some weeks you tackle great and sometimes you show up and act like you have never practiced it. Letís give some credit to Oklahoma State, they did a good job. You look up and I saw Nebraska threw for 405 yards against Kansas. The problem with the last two teams we have played hadnít been on offense. They have moved the ball well against everybody.
On if tackling is the most important thing this weekend: No question. You need to do it. You need to disguise with the quarterback enough to try to get him off his rhythm because he is really good with what he does and you have to tackle in space and be physical. Theyíre going to spread you out and hit guys and if you let them make yards after the catch, youíre going to be in trouble and that is what we did last week. The weirdest thing about last week to me is that we tackled well in the fourth quarter. I donít know why we all voted to decide to start tackling in the fourth quarter and we had 100 percent vote not to until then. I canít figure that out and we have asked, but we didnít get answers.
On if they have addressed the slow starts: We have, we really have. If everyone else can have a surge, we like to think we could too. Itís been a really good week with a lot of discussion.
On keeping the guys from listening to bowl hype: We told the players on Sunday that this was a theme of ĎEarn the Rightí at the first of the year and from our estimation we havenít got to the end yet and we havenít earned the right to be where we want to be. We have two games left where we can either be a 10-win team or an eight-win team and then after that, nothing is promised. We would like to be a 10-win team and then start looking from there to see where we deserve to be. But with this team we havenít even addressed it because we feel like we have to play better.
On WR Michael Crabtree: Michael Crabtree is very much like the two big guys at Oklahoma State. He is big, heís fast, heís powerful, he can out jump shorter defensive backs, which concerns us some, but even more than that he can jump up with you and shield you and make the catch and run off and you can miss tackles because he is such a big strong guy.
On what Texas Tech is doing better defensively: They are really playing hard. Theyíre not doing that many things different but Ruffin is a very emotional guy and those guys are playing hard. They held Baylor to like 280 total yards. They did a good job against them.