Red Raiders Ready to Tear up Huskers

Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach was joined by several of his starters at this week's press conference. Hot topics were Callahan's West Coast Offense, the blitz, passing lanes, three and outs, starting fast, and finally coming home.

With the Oklahoma game behind them, the Red Raiders are gearing up for Bill Callahan's Huskers. Callahan is in his first year as Nebraska head coach after serving as head coach of the Oakland Raiders for two years. During his first year as head coach of the Raiders in 2002, he guided the team to the AFC Championship and Super Bowl XXXVII. His West Coast Offense is one that many of the Red Raiders have never seen.

"I really haven't seen an offense similar to theirs. They do a lot of different things. Coach is going to have a good package for them, a good strategy for them and it should work pretty well. Any offense you play, you want to make them one dimensional. We have to go out there and stop the run, make them start passing," said senior linebacker Mike Smith.

Smith and his defense will be looking to put the brakes on Husker running back Corey Ross, who recently marked his third 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Looking to return to the lineup on Saturday after missing a game due to injury are key players rush end Adell Duckett and middle linebacker Brock Stratton.

"We have good back-ups. We have a lot of good players that come in to play. That's what Coach Setencich wants, he likes to play 13 or 14 guys a game. It hurts for them (Duckett and Stratton) to be out, but they will be back this week. It's going to be a big game for them against Nebraska," said Smith.

The game will be quite a match-up as the nation's top-ranked passing offense takes on Nebraska's sixth ranked pass defense. The Red Raiders are averaging 423 passing yards per game and are ranked fourth in total offense with 516.2 yards per game. They face a overall defense ranked fifth nationally.

"They are a very aggressive defense. They're well coached, they are really talented, they're a typical Nebraska defense. We will have our hands full and we will really have to play well this Saturday," said Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie.

"I think they're going to try to blitz. They look like they have an inclination towards blitzing. They play a lot of man coverage, they play a little bit of zone, they try to disguise it and keep you off balance," said Leach.

Putting points on the board is on the minds of the players after coming away from a 28-13 loss to Oklahoma.

"Every time you get down there (red zone) you want to score. Anytime you don't score it's frustrating. You can look back on games you lose and say what if, but that's part of football. It's good we are at home. Better things happen when we are at home. We are going to work on it this week and, hopefully, come Saturday you will see the results change," said inside receiver Trey Haverty.

Cumbie states that the best thing the team can do is to keep plugging away, calling the same plays and executing them better.

"If any quarterback can handle pressure, it's Sonny. It helps that he keeps in touch with B.J. (Symons) and Kliff (Kingsbury), so they give him advice. Anytime you're a quarterback, you are going to have the glory; and, then suddenly you will have all the blame. It's not his fault, it's on us as a whole offense to block better, get more yards on a catch and to run better routes," said Haverty.

"There are a lot of positive things we can draw from the game (against OU). We did a lot of good, but there were some things we didn't do well. It's frustrating not scoring in the red zone like we can, but going into the rest of the Big XII games, I think our confidence level is up," said offensive tackle Daniel Loper.

"He (Cumbie) keeps his head up. He's a real positive guy. He's one of the guys on the team that will always congratulate everybody and tell them they're doing a good job. We are just trying to keep our heads up. It was a tough loss, but we have six more games we're trying to win," Loper added.

Coach Leach claims this years' schedule is one to avoid. Playing four of the first five games on the road is tough for any team.

"We are looking forward to playing at home. You have to play on the road one way or another but I don't know if four out of five is the way to go. Oklahoma hadn't played on the road up to this point at all," he said.

Regardless, the only thing on the mind of the Red Raiders this week is Nebraska.

"It means a whole lot. It's another North team. Anytime you can beat a team from the North it's a good thing. Last time they were here they put on a good show, we didn't. I thought last time we went up there we played well, but didn't finish. Hopefully this week we can do that," Loper concluded.

Texas Tech's first Big XII game of the season kicks off at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday at Jones SBC Stadium. The game will be nationally televised on TBS.

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