Big Opportunity, Challenge For Tech's Defense

The Texas Tech defense showed some improvement last week in a 45-35 road loss to Oklahoma State, but faces another stiff challenge against No. 23 Kansas State 6 p.m. tonight in Manhattan, KS.

Shoring up the defensive holes for Texas Tech was the focus of the week as the Red Raiders prepare to take on Big 12 foe Kansas State 6 p.m. Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas.

Texas Tech defensive coordinator Mike Smith, harped on keeping the scheme simple, flying to the football and everyone being accountable for themselves.

When presented the question earlier this week, defensive lineman V.J. Fehoko concurred.

“We’ve got to be disciplined,” he said. “We’re out there on the field, so we have to make those plays. The coaches can’t play for us…we do it ourselves.”

The Red Raiders (2-2, 0-1 in the Big 12) may look like they have cut out the bleeding rush-wise, but the Oklahoma State offense was still as potent as can be – with a backup quarterback, nonetheless – and managed to give up 528 yards altogether in last Thursday’s 10-point defeat.

“I feel like the defense improved,” Fehoko said. “But there’s so much more work to be done there [on defense]…we’re gonna have to improve some more.”

What doesn’t help a statistically porous defense – Tech stands 117th out of 124 FBS teams in yards allowed (1,046) and is dead last in yards allowed per game (260.5) - is the fact that a date with No. 23 Kansas State (3-1, 1-0) nears and Bill Snyder’s teams are famed for their rush-heavy approach. At the moment, Kansas State has 700 total rushing yards for 175 a contest.

Kansas State’s only loss came on national TV to a championship contender in Auburn, but the Wildcats have been rolling at the needed time, with a narrow 32-28 win over Iowa State to open Big 12 play and requisite take-downs of Texas two-step schools Stephen F. Austin and UTEP – the latter of which managed to push Tech to the brink in a 30-26 victory in the second week of the season.

A real test awaits the Red Raiders tonight. Taking a look at the rushing statistics – not too much pride in those numbers – a stellar performance could prove to fans that this Red Raider football team is turning the corner, for the players’, coaches’ and fans’ sake or if it’s the same old, sad story.

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