Photo By Steven Chapman

Raider Power Maibag: Bye Week Edition

RaiderPower.com reporter Alyssa Chrisope, senior writer Joe Yeager, reporter Zach Tanner and publisher Jarret Johnson answer questions from subscribers about Texas Tech football, basketball, baseball and recruiting.

RaidGrad: If Kingsbury took a break and gave you the "keys" to the team today through the Kansas game, what's the first thing you change or implement?

Alyssa: First, I would let Gibbs speak to the media. Then I would keep the ground game that we saw against Louisiana Tech and give some new guys on the defense more reps (Picone, Brooks, Stringer). I wouldn’t put them out there every snap but think those guys bring better energy and could really help. 
Joe: I would issue an unrescindable order banishing rap "music" from The Jones in perpetuity. And I would issue a secondary order that henceforth, biscuits and gravy would always be an option for pregame meals in the pressbox.

Awhooks210: Who starts at DB next week and what schemes do you see happening?

Jarret: Johnson and Hendrix at the safety spots and I think you'll see the same guys at corner: D.J. Polite-Bray, (Kingsbury said he's good to go) Thierry Nguema and Justis Nelson. I really hope we see more of the young guys this week. I really like all three of the freshmen defensive backs (Moore, Coleman and Smith). As far as the scheme, Gibbs like zone coverage, but he mixes in a little bit of everything. I hope he stays aggressive on third down and continues to blitz extra rushers. I think the best defenses force the action rather than sit back and react. In a perfect world you would like to consistently get pressure with just four rushers and then use seven in coverage, but that has not been the case the past two games.

ElvisinRaiderland: Can someone explain what is going on with Dauphine? Is it attitude? The one time he touched the ball this season, he killed it.  What is it?

Joe: First off, Elvis' naughty little GIF just about landed me in divorce court. Thanks a million, Elvis! Now as to the question at hand, the simple answer is that Dauphine doesn't pass protect well enough to be on the field, particularly when The Franchise may depend upon him to pick up a blitzing linebacker. His running isn't the issue. But until he mans up and does the dirty work, he will spend all of his time on the pine.
Zach: The other times, when he's not touching the ball he is getting smoked by pass rushers and endangering the well-being of your Heisman Trophy candidate QB.

241121st: Is conditioning for Pipkins, Hill, and others an issue right now? We play the first few series on D like our hair is on fire, then it just drops off. I understand the psychological argument as far as adversity goes....but it seems to me we just stop going hard.

Alyssa: This defense always seems to go through a meltdown in the third quarter, and I think it is more due to the psychological part of it than conditioning. Kingsbury and players have straight up said the defense doesn’t handle adversity well. While some of it could be conditioning that is the reason they brought in Whitt, and those guys got in better shape so I think it is more psychological then physical. 

jplains: Are our D lineman coached to just occupy O Lineman and not worry about getting up field? I have read that on these forums and would really like to know.

Joe:  I do not believe this to be the case. If the goal were to just occupy the linemen then you would have been coached to go less than 100% on each play. Tying up a lineman is easier and requires less effort than ringing his bell, shooting the gaps, and trying to make plays. What's more, such a directive would be worthless on passing plays. Who would register a sack or even push the pocket if his only objective is to occupy his lineman? In short, I consider this to be nonsense.

BruceLee44: In conference play if Texas Tech gets beat in shootouts in at least three games where the opponent scores 50 + points do you forsee a change in our defense personnel?

Joe: Depends upon what you mean by personnel. If you're talking about players then the answer is no because the best players are already playing. There is nobody on the roster who could be subbed in for starters and produce noticeably better results. If, on the other hand, you're talking about coaches then the answer is a resounding yes. I personally believe the defensive coaches are already skating on thin ice with Kingsbury, and if there are many more embarrassing results, particularly if they cost the team games, I'm convinced Kingsbury will clean house.
Jarret: Yeah, it's hard for me to imagine Gibbs and co. surviving in that scenario. The only thing which might be his saving grace would be Tech's aversion to starting over there yet again. The staff turnover has destroyed the program on defense so Tech is in a tough position here. Gibbs has to turn this thing around and start making some headway. Creating turnovers sure would help.

entopro: With the depth issues we have on defense why is Houston Miller being redshirted?

Alyssa: Houston Miller came into fall camp with a crazy work ethic. I mean sleeping at the facility, last one off the field, so it is definitely not that. He is just undersized and I think the redshirt will be good for him in his development as a player.
Zach: Simply put, and I know he's got four stars next to his name, he didn't play well enough to crack the rotation during camp. Now, maybe if injuries hit the DL this fall (knock on wood) he may see some playing time... but why not redshirt him and have him for

Jaburrs: What are the MUST WIN games left on the schedule? And why do you think so?

Alyssa: I think the home games left on the schedule, plus Baylor are the must win games. They would be big wins for the program to beat OU and Texas. It would put them in a good spot within the conference. 
Jarret: Kansas and Iowa State are must-win games. If anything, Kingsbury has done a good job of dispatching the teams he's supposed to. It's hard for me to see Tech accomplishing many of their goals without beating those bottom feeders. I think the West Virginia game at home and road game at Kansas State are critical for bowl eligibility. I definitely think both of those teams are in Tech's wheelhouse in terms of talent and could build momentum for the tougher games on the second half of the schedule.

R8erPwr81: Will KK and his staff be on the road the next 2 weekends to watch some recruits/commits play and if so who and where?

Zach: I know they'll be out on the road this weekend for sure. As far as where they'll be, I'm not sure, but you'll probably see at least one coach in each big city (Dallas, San Antonio, Houston). Not too hard to guess which teams featuring Tech offers/commits will be playing that week either.

Okieraider01: Does Gibbs not being under contract past this year affect defensive recruiting?

Zach: Not at all-especially with the caliber and number of defensive recruits you're going to have out this fall. I could see a situation where a parent might see that and have a question about it, but I'm sure that has been thought through and addressed by him if it came up.
 

Raider2Red06: How much of Texas Tech's defensive run-stopping woes are due to the fact that our offense is so pass first? Do the Tech coaches do a good enough job of simulating what other teams are doing against our defense during practice?

Jarret: It's hard for me to say they are doing a good enough job with anything connected to Tech's rush defense, but Kingsbury and Gibbs both said they tackled way more this offseason than in years past. Gibbs specifically thanked Kingsbury for allowing the defense to tackle some of the veteran players who are a better example of who they will face in the Big 12 than the backups. During the season, like most programs, they don't tackle to the ground. On the other hand, there are schools who have fielded competitive defenses while running up-tempo spread attacks. Oregon made it to the title game a couple years back and Baylor has fielded some salty defenses to go along with their explosive offenses.

okieredraider01: What's up with Dequan Bowman?

Zach: Bowman came from a different style of offense and has had trouble picking it up so far-same goes for Quan Shorts. It's not a question of when it will start clicking and they execute their responsibilities more effectively. With all their talent at receiver, no matter who starts there are going to be talented guys riding the pine. I'd like to see Bowman redshirt to provide a senior presence in 2018 at H after Batson graduates.
Jarret: I agree with what Zach said above, especially the talented guys riding the pine part. Tech is just really, really deep at receiver right now by design. I witnessed both Bowman and Shorts do some good things in camp so I still believe in their talent and that if they stick with the program they will eventually bust out and enjoy a lot of success.

RawlsLandman: Favorite International Food(Not Mexican) and favorite Wine that is not overpriced?

Jarret: Easily Italian if not Mexican (really Tex-Mex though probably). There's not a lot of Italian dishes I will turn away and a really well-done homemade lasagna has the comforting feel and hits the spot to me like a well-cooked steak and tater meal. As far as wine goes I am no snob, I'll even drink Merlot, but don't really have a favorite.

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