Following the game Texas Tech junior safety Keenon Ward admitted the blowout win over UTEP on Saturday felt good and should be a big confidence booster for the whole team.
Confidence hadn't been a problem for Ward, who is clearly playing with more physicality and less hesitation than a season ago. Ward attributed the difference to both the new scheme under defensive coordinator David Gibbs and experience.
"Coach Gibbs gives me the freedom to be an attacking safety, but also he wants me to be disciplined playing in the passing game," Ward said after the game. "It's all of it. I'm confident in my physical abilities and I trust in my teammates so that allows me to play more freely."
Ward tallied 3.5 tackles and a pass breakup Saturday to give him 11 tackles on the season which includes the fourth and two stop against Sam Houston State in the second half of the opener.
The defense as a whole showed a lot of improvement lending just 20 points and 414 total yards of offense to the Miners on Saturday after allowing 45 points and 637 yards in the opener. Ward gave a lot of credit to the defensive line for the improvement after the game.
"Yeah, the D-line knows they have to be the backbone of this defense," Ward said. "I mean, if they're not going then we're giving up yards and we're giving up points. They really emphasized this week that they have got to get better and they truly did. They played a heck of a game and I'm proud of every one of them."