Tech Hopes Intense Practices Help

Texas Tech used more physical, intensified practices last week with the first team offense and defense taking on each other, hoping it equals results this week against Iowa State.

LUBBOCK — There were two glaring problems with Texas Tech's loss to Texas two weeks ago: a lack of discipline and a lack of offense.

Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said he took plenty of time to think about those things and how to approach a way of improving it with this squad without getting too down on them.

Tuberville described last week's practices as "intense and physical." A big part of testing the two units is lining up the A-team offense against the A-team defense.

"The speed of the game is what you try to emulate and it's hard to do that," Tuberville said. "We have some speed on defense, and we didn't do a very good job of trying to portray that in the week of practice going into the Texas game, it is hard for us to do that because they are a fast team. We have to play faster defensively to help our offense. We did that last week."

Tech (2-1, 0-1 Big 12) hopes that the harder and more physical practices help with cutting out the mental mistakes and offensive problems heading into this weekend's game against Iowa State (2-2, 0-1).

The Red Raiders appeared to be a constant threat offensively in their first two games with only minor hiccups getting in the way while outscoring SMU and New Mexico, 87-44.

Tech became its own worst enemy against the Longhorns, allowing bad penalties at key moments — twice on stopped third downs — to get in the way of what was one of its best defensive showings. Overall, the Red Raiders have been penalized 19 times for 206 yards — 63rd in the country — which may still be a step up after leading all FBS schools in penalties last season (120 for 1,019 yards).

In fact, eight Big 12 Conference teams were ranked in the top 40, last season.

"We had some pretty crucial penalties," senior linebacker Bront Bird said. "… At the end of the day, it's all about what you do. We're talented enough — as are a lot of teams in the country — to beat anyone we play, but it's going to come down to what you do. Most of the time when a team loses, they probably beat themselves."

Of course the biggest issue and questions don't just surround the penalties and discipline, but the running game and what will finally help the offense break out of its funk surrounding the group throughout the Texas game.

Tech ran the ball just 12 times but combined with quarterback sacks (4) the group had a total of minus-12 yards.

Tuberville said he still believes in establishing a running game in order to help the Red Raiders turn into more of a championship team but will more than likely run the plays that benefit them more and not disrupt the offense's rhythm.

"We aren't going to ditch anything that we are doing," Tuberville said. "We have a good offense. We just have to execute better, and we have to do a better job in practice and taking it to the game field; it's just experience. We have some experienced players on the team, but the area where we are not very experienced, obviously, is the offensive line, we struggled there.

"I like their attitude, they are working hard and they are starting to understand what we need in a game, protection wise and running the ball. For us to get better those guys have to continue to improve and they have improved the first three weeks. They just ran into a tough situation last week, in our first conference game."

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