Tuberville: "Our Defense Has Got To Improve"

Texas Tech was able to outscore Baylor on Saturday but will have to amp it up a little more with No. 18 Oklahoma State and its No. 2 offense coming to town.

Tuberville's Monday Presser/Baylor Highlights:

LUBBOCK — By now it's no mystery that Texas Tech felt the sense of urgency when the team entered Cotton Bowl Stadium on Saturday and left with a 45-38 win over Baylor.

It was a game that could have gone either way after Tech botched an onside kick and fell behind, 14-7 early. But unlike previous games, the offense continued to roll in the first half and built its first lead in more than a month as Taylor Potts hit nearly every receiver on the field and the Red Raiders running game was finally a positive factor.

In the end, Tech beat Baylor for the 15th consecutive time, avoided its first three-game Big 12 Conference losing streak and, more than anything coach Tommy Tuberville said, "We did enough to get the win."

"Offensively, we were a lot more consistent and a lot more physical," Tuberville said. "That's what it is going to take for us to continue to get better and to improve on what we are doing. It's hard to improve on 45 points and over 600 yards — but we can do that."

Tech (3-2, 1-2 Big 12) now has to keep that offensive motor going for the third consecutive week with high-powered and 18th-ranked Oklahoma State (5-0, 1-0) coming to town with the No. 2 total offense that is averaging 52.6 points per game.

Want more drama?

Insert former Mike Leach protégé Dana Holgorsen, the first-year offensive coordinator who went from Tech to Houston then wound up as Mike Gundy's OC after many thought Holgorsen would be headed back to Tech to coach the offense under Tuberville.

But it's no easy task for Oklahoma State to try and win at Jones AT&T Stadium.

While many think of the long home winning streak that ended against Texas A&M last season, few remember the last time the Cowboys left Lubbock with a winning taste in their mouths.

Maybe that's because Adolf Hitler was still alive the last time Okie State was victorious in West Texas — Oct. 7, 1944, a 14-7 decision.

Tuberville and the Red Raiders realize that they can have whatever part of history and luck on their sides Saturday — they'll take it – but they also need to keep improving if they want to be able to keep pace with the Cowboys.

"Our defense has got to improve," Tuberville said. "If we're going to give ourselves a chance to win this game, we're going to have to play better defensively. Offensively, we're in a rhythm, but we've got to continue to go out and do that. We can't take any weeks off."

And it will also be another game where the defense will have to play without defensive standout Scott Smith, who was suspended indefinitely the night before the Baylor game and was suspended the rest of the season at Monday's press conference, citing a violation of team rules.

Smith, a junior transfer from Butler Community College, had 14 tackles so far this season, including four tackles for loss and three sacks. He made a name for himself during the loss to Texas, sacking quarterback Garrett Gilbert twice while forcing a fumble and intercepting one of two ball he tipped at the line.

"The number one thing is learning from tough situations," Tuberville said. "He made a mistake, he'll pay for it, and he'll be out the rest of the season. He'll go through practices and continue to learn. He understands the situation and he's accepted it.

"It does hurt. But when you have rules you go by them and all of our players understand that. We're not doing this to make an example out of anybody, it's just that when we come in, we set rules, they know the rules and we go by them. It doesn't make any difference if it is a starter or a walk-on. You've got to understand that this is about making yourself a better person."

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