Bake, Nitschmann Add Depth

Texas Tech defensive tackle Dek Bake is no stranger to the West Coast Offense the Cornhuskers will be bringing to town on Saturday. The 6'6, 260 pound junior transfer hails from Sacramento, California, and faced the offense during his two years at Fresno City College. He even prefers it to other offenses.

"I played against it all during junior college. Now OU, I like their power offense where you can just go and get after it, but I don't like the play action weak stuff. Coach (Setencich) just told us pretty much they run to the power side- you get a feel for it pretty quick," he said.

Bake was credited for a quarterback hurry and two assisted tackles against OU, following up a five tackle performance at Kansas. He missed two games due to injury following his first Division I start at SMU. Recruited as a defensive end, Bake was moved to tackle during training camp to be able to utilize him immediately.

"Right when school got out in June, I came here the next week, so I missed spring ball. It took me a couple days to get the speed down because it's a lot faster. I picked it up pretty well- it took me a few days," he said.

"The people here are really nice and polite. I like it out here."

Coming into a new program was a big change for Bake, but the coaching staff has made all the difference, especially with conditioning.

"(Bennie) Wylie, that's why we're able to compete in the fourth quarter, because of all the gassers and t-bones we ran all year," he added while still out of breath from post- practice drills.

"I like Coach Ruff (Ruffin McNeill). He's the kind of coach I want. Someone emotional who has a passion for the game the same way I do. If you're doing good he loves you, if you're doing bad… you're doing bad," Bake said.

It's with that same emotion that Bake claims much work needs to be done to continue to dominate as a defensive unit.

"We're just getting our intensity back up. OU pounded us a little bit and we can't let that happen again. Up front we didn't play like we needed to," he added.

Defensive end Seth Nitschmann agrees.

"They have a really basic offense they come out and try to pound it at you and we had to come out and keep pounding it at them playing great technique. After a while you keep doing that and sooner or later they're going to fold. I felt like we came out and played hard, but there are things we could have done better," he said.

The sophomore logged four tackles on Saturday, including a tackle for a loss. Nitschmann and fellow sophomore rush end Keyunta Dawson were evidence that the Texas Tech defense has gained considerable depth. Dawson had his first career start to fill in for an injured Adell Duckett, while linebacker Mike Smith filled in at middle linebacker for an injured Brock Stratton.

"It's hard to lose players like that, leaders of the team, but Keyunta (Dawson) and Mike (Smith) stepped up and did a great job for them," added Nitschmann.

Nitschmann stepped it up himself, returning to the lineup this fall after recovering from knee surgery during the offseason.

"I had surgery and spent all summer working out with Adell (Duckett) and the other ends, just anxious to get on the field," said the 6'4, 257 pound Corpus Christi native.

"The other guys were doing a good job, and I knew I was going to have to work hard to come back. I knew it wasn't going to be an easy job to get back, especially with these guys out here as my competition. I had to step in and show that I was ready to play," said the Corpus Christi native.

His hard work paid off. Nitschmann started the season with four tackles at SMU and added two tackles and a batted pass at New Mexico. During the Tech home opener against TCU, Nitschmann logged a three-yard fumble return and two tackles. He was a key part of the defense that held Kansas' running game in the second half and added three tackles. He totals 17 tackles on the season.

Catch Nitschmann and Bake in action this Saturday as the Red Raider defense takes on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-1) led by sophomore quarterback Joe Dailey.

Dailey has thrown for more than 200 yards in each of Nebraska's first two games and junior running back Cory Ross recently passed the 1,000 yard rushing mark. Both will be at the mercy of the SWARM.

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