Red Raiders Ready to Host TCU

Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie, inside receiver Trey Haverty and cornerback Khalid Naziruddin were on-hand at this week's press conference to address red zone efficiency, the running game, defense and preparations for Saturday's home opener against TCU.

Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie, inside receiver Trey Haverty and cornerback Khalid Naziruddin were on-hand at this week's press conference to address red zone efficiency, the running game, defense and preparations for Saturday's home opener against TCU.

Naziruddin secured the starting right corner position during preseason and is making an immediate impact. The redshirt transfer has 11 tackles on the season and recovered his first career fumble at the end of the first quarter against New Mexico.

"I feel we've improved 100 percent. Our communication is better, we're playing with more poise, more confidence- lining up correctly," said Naziruddin.

With the TCU game just days away, he stressed a sense of urgency that will be present throughout this week's practices as well as the need to step defensive play up a notch.

"They'll spread it out, they'll run the ball. The main thing we have to do is contain. We're not going to be intimidated. There's nothing they can present to us that we haven't seen," Naziruddin said of the Horned Frog offense.

"I've been dying to play at home. These two road games seemed like an eternity, so I've been waiting for the experience of playing at Jones [SBC Stadium] finally," he said.

Haverty addressed his role in the New Mexico game after replacing an injured Nehemiah Glover as well as commenting on needed improvements in the offense.

"We're so close to clicking. Someone's running the wrong routes, trying to do someone else's job. We're beating ourselves. I just want to win, whatever it takes. I think being at home this weekend and being in front of the best fans in college football will give us the extra edge we need," he said.

"At SMU we were breaking in a lot of new players, and New Mexico is a great defense, great team. They should have beaten Washington State a few weeks ago. They hadn't beaten us in a while, so they were fired up," Haverty added on the first two games.

The senior receiver had an exceptional performance against the Lobos with 117 yards on eight catches after Glover left the game.

"I didn't have time to think about it. It's just what I do every day in practice, just try to help the team. I'm going to keep going in there and doing what [the coaches] ask me to do. On Saturday I just want to win," said Haverty.

Cumbie was pleased with Haverty's reliability in terms of being open, making catches and taking hits.

"He really surprised me with some of the moves he showed Saturday. He was kind of an elusive guy out there. That's something that's exciting for me to see from Trey. He's a go-to guy," Cumbie said.

When asked about a comparison to former Red Raider Wes Welker, Haverty was flattered, but admits he has much to improve on before he would agree.

"A player like Welker only comes around once every 100 years. He's a heck of a player- playing Sundays," he added.

Haverty commented on film breakdowns from the New Mexico loss as well as the importance of taking one game at a time.

"We look at film and guys are open. We aren't having the time to throw, or someone's not doing their job or didn't run the right route. We're going to fix it and come Saturday we'll be fine," he concluded.

The Red Raider running game has had a slow start this season, and fans are looking to see running back Taurean Henderson continue to work his way up the record books. His seven receptions against New Mexico put him at 189, tying former Tech receiver Lloyd Hill on the all-time receptions list. Henderson has had 23 carries for 91 yards.

"Hopefully we can get Taurean going this week. He's such a great player- so explosive," added Haverty.

Cumbie talked about the running game in terms of making checks and ensuring that all 11 guys are on the same page to execute more running plays. The large number of blitzes by the Lobos defense affected the run, and the Red Raider offensive line was put to the test.

"I've said all along I think [our offensive line] is tops in the country. If you ask them, they're disappointed in their performance and they can play better. They played a defense that throws everything at you and I think they handled it well," said Cumbie.

Cumbie is confident that red zone efficiency will increase when the offense stops pressing.

"Everyone's pressed a little bit. Everyone wanted to make the big play, the perfect play. There's no reason for us to press. We're not the ones in the bind down in the red zone," he said.

"We're the number one offense in the country after these last two games, but we've only scored 51 points. There's something that's missing there and we've figured it out and we know what the problem is and we're going to address it this week and hopefully we can fix it," Cumbie added.

Cumbie sees the loss as a motivation for the team as they prepare for the next nine games on the schedule, starting with TCU on Saturday.

"Coach Leach really rallied us last night. He said a lot of good things to get us going. It's a tough loss and you hate to lose a football game, but at the same time we learned a lot from it and I think we'll be a better team for it," Cumbie added.

The Red Raiders prepare to defend their home turf as they host the TCU Horned Frogs this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in SBC Jones Stadium.

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