Forcing Mistakes

The Texas Tech defense played well in their first game under new Defensive Coordinator Lyle Setencich. The new scheme was able to overcome some mental mistakes by forcing the SMU offense into several mistakes of it's own.

Coach Setencich doesn't make any apologies for the aggressive nature of his defensive scheme. Sure there will be the occasional breakdown, such as the 30 yard pass to SMU's Keylon Kincaid, but on the whole the system is designed to force the offense into even more mistakes. Coach Setencich, a self-proclaimed history buff, used history to explain his philosophy. "Has anyone ever won a battle by being passive?" asked Coach Setencich. "Not a lot of guys have won football games by being passive."

The most dramatic example of his aggressiveness during the SMU game was when the Red Raiders placed all eleven defenders close to the line of scrimmage. While this formation does have risks, it also offers some nice opportunities for the Red Raiders to disguise coverages. From this formation, the Red Raiders can give the look of an all-out blitz, but actually drop several players into coverage. This can wreak havoc on the opposing offensive linemen. "The threat of those safeties coming up or coming out, bothers offensive linemen because they have to count them in a blocking scheme," said Coach Setencich. "If they have to count them, they might set a linebacker or set a defensive lineman free." This style of defense depends on the safeties and middle linebackers to make the right calls on the field. "The middle linebackers and the two safeties are comparable to the quarterback on offense," said Coach Setencich.

Despite the possibility for mistakes, this defensive scheme has the potential to be very successful. The 4 turnovers in the SMU game should be a welcome sight for Red Raider fans, who witnessed a severe lack of takeaways in the 2002 season. The opportunity for big defensive plays should continue throughout the season. The biggest question is how this defense will fare against better offenses. That question probably won't be answered until the Red Raiders make their first road trip of the season.

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