I watched Tech and Nebraska - almost the entire game - and truthfully I don't feel alltogether confident anymore. The bottom line is this: Tech gave Nebraska all they wanted in that game for four quarters in Lincoln. Not to mention it was the Huskers' Homecoming game and it was Tech that was taking a physical tole on NU. Tech's offense was impressive, to say the least, and their defense was not too shabby either.
That being said, there are a few things I want to point out about Tech in relation to this Saturday's game in Waco.
1. Tech's Offense - In the game against Nebraska I noticed several things. First, Nebraska's game plan against Tech's offense was very different that it was against us. Two weeks ago in Waco, the Huskers blitzed often and played alot of man coverage. Forcing Cicero to make reads and find the open man, thus causing him to hold the ball longer thus giving the NU front four more time to collect sacks. Versus Tech, the Huskers did not blitz much and played alot of zone coverage. They did blitz some but realized quickly that Kingsbury would just dump the ball off to a back.
Second, Tech's offense played really well in that game, I mean really well. In fact, I bet even they would admit they played about as well as they could in that game. It just wasn't enough to win the game. Kliff Kingsbury is a good, good QB - he's extremely accurate, makes good reads and gets rid of the ball quickly. Against Nebraska, he was 33 of 63 for 353 yards.
He's got a trio of receivers who are putting up great numbers in Francis, Paige and Welker. Francis reminds me of Reggie Newhouse to an extent and Paige is your basic 6'5" physical receiver. Welker is more a utility guy who has a non-stop motor. In reality, none of those guys would see the field at say Texas or even OU. But, in Tech's offense they are effective and can take advantage of opportunities.
At running back you've got Ricky Williams who, while diminutive in size, has a heart as big as the west Texas desert. He doesn't get many touches in the spread offense but makes the most of each carry he does get. Williams is not the focal point, but he is dangerous.
So, from that synopsis, Tech's offense looks pretty intimidating. And really if they play Saturday in Waco like they did against Nebraska in Lincoln, it will make life much harder for the Bears. There is good news in all of this. Tech was beyond pumped up to play the Huskers. Last year Tech's players talked publicly of playing Nebraska toe-to-toe. Well, that proved not to be prophetic as NU dispatched the Red Raiders 59-3 in Lubbock. Tech's players used that as motivation this year and kept their mouth shut about it too. They showed they could play with the big boys and left alot of emotion on that field in Nebraska. It will be very difficult for them to get back to that level of intensity again.
I also hope to see our defense employ various tactics to throw off the timiing of the Tech spread, something Nebraska could not do playing a zone. This would give our front four and blitzers more time to make plays and you know Kingsbury saw our 8 sacks and 20 TFL's from last week.
2. Nebraska's offense - The thing that most perplexed me watching that Tech-Nebraska game was all the passing. The Huskers were throwing the ball all over the place! (Insert Will Farrell voice here) What is going on here? Why are they throwing the ball?! Stop doing that! Hey, let's not ruin Husker time, let's make it great! So, just run the ball and we'll win!
OK, enough of that. But, the truth is that the Huskers were throwing the ball much more than usual against Tech. The numbers bear it out. Against Baylor, Crouch was 4 of 9 for 47 yards while against Tech he went 10 of 22 for 196 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yes, threw for three touchdowns. So, why was that?
I came up with a couple of possible reasons and a fellow poster came up with another. I figured that maybe they just wanted to work on improving their passing game and/or maybe they figured they would pass more because they knew they could beat Tech at home. A third potential reason may be that the Huskers were trying to send a message to the OU coaches that they better prepare to stop the pass as well. This is the most likely reason, in my opinion.
Whatever the reason, it definitely helped the Tech defense from the standpoint of incomplete passes on third downs that forced Nebraska into punting. On the other hand, Nebraska continually ran against Baylor which is what they do best.
Those are the main two things that stuck out at me. Overall, I expect Tech's offense to not play as well as it did against Nebraska and for our offense to find success against Tech's defense.