TTU Run D: The Good, Bad & Ugly

A look at some good, bad and ugly from Texas Tech's rush defense in a 31-26 loss at West Virginia on Saturday.

Due to popular demand I am taking a look at Texas Tech's much maligned run defense, specifically last week against West Virginia.

The Mountaineers gained 300 rushing yards on 57 carries en route to a 31-26 win in Morgantown. West Virginia averaged 5.3 yards per tote, which is right at what the Red Raiders have allowed all season and almost a yard more per carry than West Virginia is used to.

There's no sugarcoating it, Tech's rush defense isn't getting better, the Red Raiders continue be gashed and often at critical moments.

That being said, I wanted to show examples of some good, bad and the very ugly run defense from Saturday.

Let's begin with a nice tackle for loss from Pete Robertson early in the game. You can see here that he is the read and does a nice job of maintaining outside leverage, breaking down and making an athletic play for a big stop on the QB.

The way he jabbed outside as if he was going to stay with the running back before diving down for the tackle made that play.

Up next is the bad. I selected this 5-yard TD run by Rushel Shell in the first half. Tech was completely dominated up front. You can see here how the nose guard is not only stood up but has his shoulders turned perpendicular with the line of scrimmage and away from the play.

The playside defensive end is completely walled off creating a gaping hole off right tackle complete with a fullback leading the way. 

The fullback stands up the weakside backer and drives him out of the hole. You can see Tech’s defensive front has been so manhandled and driven back that the mike linebacker, D'Vonta Hinton, can’t get to the play and is caught up in the scrum. 

Shell stumbles into the endzone. 

Finally, the ugly. I chose this West Virginia third down conversion late because in my mind it was the back breaker and inexcusable. I asked defensive coordinator David Gibbs about the play on Monday so I’ll just read what he said:

“Pete technically has the outside. The guy grabbed him a little bit, but that's no excuse. We had a three technique and defensive end at that side. That play was designed to go inside, and we've got to do our job and make sure ball doesn't bounce. But we've got to learn to make those plays. That's the history here and we've got to change it.”

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