Big Improvements on Defense

Texas Tech fans have seen signs of steady improvement throughout the season, culminating with a good effort against Iowa State. Defensive Coordinator Lyle Setencich is the man responsible for these improvements.

What do you do when you're handed a defense that gave up 31 points a game last season, and is extremely young? According to Defensive Coordinator you just coach them and wait for the changes to happen. While Texas Tech fans are having dreams of a Big Twelve championship, Coach Setencich warns that it usually takes an entire season for a defense to turn the corner. Even with that idea in mind, he certainly isn't going to give the players any slack in their first year.

Coach Setencich has received the nickname "Big Daddy", thanks to a hard to pronounce last name. In a lot of ways the name is applicable. He will be the first to congratulate a player for making a play, but he's also going to push them as hard as he can. His ability to maintain a level attitude has proven to be a major asset t while coaching a defense that tends to have rollercoaster like performances. While the consistency of the defense is steadily improving, there are still times, like the 80-yard touchdown pass to start the second half against Iowa State, that Coach Setencich is tested. It's just a matter of game experience for this defense which features several talented young players. "As those guys get more reps and make more plays, they'll make more big plays," said Coach Setencich.

Right now, Coach Setencich is focusing on a concept that he calls eye progression. This concept applies to all positions, but it is most applicable to linebackers and safeties. "A really good defensive player is like a quarterback," said Setencich. This comment refers to the way a quarterback has to progress through various routes as the play develops. A defender has to perform similarly. Everything that happens before or after the snap, if recognized, will allow the player to correctly read the play. This concept is at the core of the Texas Tech defensive system. "If you don't really stress it, you don't get a whole lot better," said Setencich. The concept should pay dividends for the Red Raiders, but it will take a combination of experience in both game and practice situations for the younger players to fully utilize the idea.

Coach Setencich knows that defenses face an uphill battle in today's version of college football. Over the years rule changes have led to a more pass friendly environment. "The way the rules are today, and the way the rules are enforced, it's hard to play defense," said Setencich. One example he gives is offensive pass interference, something that is rarely called except in the most blatant cases. "If I was coaching offense I would throw the ball every down," said Coach Setencich. Despite the uphill battle, Coach Setencich is going to keep watching film and coaching players. He expects big things from the Texas Tech defense in the coming years, and so should Red Raider fans.


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