Texas Tech's defense has had a productive week preparing to shut down TCU's offense on Saturday. Senior defensive end Adell Duckett gave us the scoop on what the team has been working on and who has stepped it up this season.
"TCU runs an offense similar to New Mexico, so we're running the same thing we ran last week," said Duckett.
The Red Raider defense held New Mexico rusher Don Trell Moore to under 100 yards last week, but the Horned Frogs present a different challenge. TCU's skill positions pose the biggest threat, featuring at least three receivers who run a 4.4.
"They've got great receivers- all of them are fast. They have two good quarterbacks that they play, a physical offensive line- it's going to be a challenge," added Duckett.
TCU quarterback Tye Gunn set several personal single game highs in the season opener against Northwestern including pass completions (20), attempts (38), yards (368) and touchdown passes (4). His 82-yard touchdown toss to Michael DePriest was the longest of his career.
Fellow quarterback Brandon Hassell is also seeing time on the field. The two quarterbacks are among the successful play callers in college football with Gunn's 10-0 record topping the list. Hassell (7-2) threw for 264 yards last Saturday against SMU, logging two touchdowns and completing 17-of-22 passes.
Duckett and his crew have spent plenty of time reviewing film on TCU's option style offense, and everyone is ready to shut down the Horned Frogs.
"You have to have everyone sit up on the option. For their offense, everyone has their own responsibility. You can't try to do someone else's job. That's when they get the big plays. We just have to keep working hard," Duckett added.
Working hard is exactly what the defense did during the offseason. Duckett commented this summer that conditioning improvements will help this year's team to boast a defense exploding off the line for all four quarters.
"Last game we didn't come up with the fourth quarter stop we needed, so it's been a learning experience," said Duckett.
One Red Raider who has started off the 2004 season with two solid performances is Duckett's fellow defensive end Seth Nitschmann. The 6'4'' 257 pound sophomore came back from a knee injury suffered last spring to gain a spot on the starting roster during preseason camp.
"He was a good player last year- then his knee gave out on him. This year he's back 100 percent. He's great on the other side," added Duckett.
The Red Raider defense is showing clear signs of improvement. The squad is ranked 44 in the nation in total defense and sixth in the Big XII. Average total offense allowed per game has dropped by 114 yards and the pass defense has lowered allowed yards by over 100 compared to the first two games last season.
TCU's passing game will be threatened by the likes of secondary standouts Vincent Meeks, Antonio Huffman and Khalid Naziruddin. Meeks leads the team in tackles with 14.5 in the last two games. Huffman and Naziruddin's fumble recoveries have pushed Tech into fifth place nationally in that category.
Look for Tech's defense to continue down the path of improvement as they tackle the Horned Frogs.
Defense Geared up for Saturday
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