Tech Defense: Sat. Practice Report & 2005 Outlook

The 2005 Texas Tech defense returns seven starters from a squad that finished 8-4 and capped off the season with a big win over California. The bar has been set high this season as the Red Raiders have a pre-season Top 25 team. The Red Raider defense returns the leader in tackles in Khalid Naziruddin (83, 50 solo), the leader in sacks in Kayunta Dawson (6.5), and the leaders in interceptions with Vincent Meeks (2), and Dwayne Slay (2). takes an inside look at this year's defense.

8/13 Practice Report: Notes & Evals/2005 Outlook (Defense)

The defensive line will be the key to success this season on defense. Ken Scott looks to anchor the DT position and Dek Bake looks to fight alongside him. This is a very athletic interior, but strength is not the biggest key of the two. Fred Threatt and Chris Hudler will be in occasionally, but Scott and Bake are the top two for the job. Scott is the stronger of the two, while Bake is more athletic and quicker. Lining up on the outsides will be Keyunta Dawson and most likely Seth Nitschmann. McKinner Dixon is going to be very good. The most impressive DE today was Rashad Hunt. Hunt has a good motor and good speed, however, he probably needs more time to get stronger. He has great moves and good size as well. He will definitely see playing time in one position or another.

Projected Order as of 8-13-05:
1) Keyunta Dawson
2) Seth Nitschmann
3) McKinner Dixon

1) Chris Hudler
2) Fred Thrweatt

1) Ken Scott
2) Dek Bake
3) McKinner Dixon

I didn't get to spend as much time with the linebackers as I wanted, but there are clearly three that stand out. Flecher Session, Brock Stratton, and John Saldi all look to have a firm grasp on the starter roles. Sylvester Brinkley will also be a solid contributor in the 3-4 sets. Ryan Hale is a solid LB. He gets to the ball and makes sure tackles. Other than that, no one has really stepped forward. Calen Shearer and Chad Hill are both fighting for roles. With the top three spots almost locked up, the focus will be on the next two.

The defensive backs were often the strongest unit on defense last spring, but today looked a little lost. Khalid Naziruddin and Antonio Huffman are going to be solid at the two starting CB spots and Vincent Meeks and Dwayne Slay will be the two starting safeties. So again, the focus will be on the next two at each position. At CB, both Darcel McBath and Marcus Bunton have great instincts. Both know how to break on the ball well. SirDon Lewis was out of pads today. He is enthusiastic, but maybe outmatched. Daniel Charbonnet will be a solid contributor, but I didn't see enough of him today to make an accurate judgment. At safety, Joe Garcia seems to be gunning for Slay's position, however, Slay seems to value it too much. Greg Aycock is also playing solid, but needs to work on his recognition.

Projected Order as of 8-13-05:
1) Antonio Huffman
2) Khalid Naziruddin
3) Darcel McBath
4) Marcus Bunton
5) Daniel Charbonnet

1) Dwayne Slay
2) Joe Garcia

1) Vincent Meeks
2) Greg Aycock

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