Keys to the Game

RaiderPower takes an in-depth look at the keys to the game for the Texas Tech - Colorado matchup, while avoiding the usual common sense analyses. What must the Red Raiders do to get back on track at Colorado? Come inside to find out.

1. For the love of God, tackle the quarterback.  Bernard Jackson is a mobile quarterback.  Ugh.  If I see guys flailing about trying to arm-tackle Jackson in the backfield on Saturday, I am just going to snap.  Watch his lower body.  That is where the jukes will come from.  I promise.  Don't try to lay him out by tackling high; a simple twist of the shoulder will make you blow that tackle.  Tackle him at the waist using both arms.  It works.  Also, it is damn near impossible to throw the ball with someone hanging on to your midsection.  Take good angles at him and don't overpursue.  Bernard is athletic, and he will run. Be ready for it.

2. Make them beat us through the air.  Jackson is completing less than half of his passes.  He has one touchdown to his five interceptions.  The Buffaloes have a talented and underrated running back in Hugh Charles.  What does this tell us?  Here's a hint.  Their offense isn't exactly the Air Raid.  They will run on that ridiculously tall grass all game long, so expect it.  Unless they do the unthinkable and line up five receivers for a hail mary, I don't want to see any linebackers twenty yards downfield in pass coverage while the QB or RB runs untouched for a first down.  Colorado prefers to run.  Make them try and beat us using their weakness instead of their strength.

3. Take the sack, Graham.  Harrell, I'm still behind you and I still think that you have what it takes to be a great player.  However, the kid must learn how to handle the pass rush better.  While I completely understand and appreciate that Graham is trying to make plays happen, sometimes you have to abandon the play.  If they have you dead to rights, take the sack instead of trying to throw an intentional incompletion or forcing an ill-advised throw to a receiver.  This is what leads to turnovers, and what leads to home losses against teams we should probably beat.  I don't think I have to spell it out further for you to know what I'm talking about.

4. Help Harrell.  There's a way to circumvent Harrell's problem entirely, and that is to stop it at the source.  Look at our good offensive performances against SMU, at UTEP, against SE LA, and at A&M.  The common factor is that Graham didn't have to deal with much pressure in those games.  The offensive line can help Graham turn his struggles against the pass rush into less of an issue with good blocking, and the receivers can help Graham by getting open quicker.  Our poor offensive performances have not been the fault of just one player, or even one unit.  We need to get back to where we are firing on all cylinders as a team.

5. Use the road environment as an opportunity to refocus.  This goes for the entire team.  The game against Colorado is a perfect chance to regroup away from some of the fairweather fan idiocy around here as of late.  As bad as some of our "fans" have been lately, we've got nothing on the Buffaloes.  There will only be two types of CU fans who show up for this one; the die-hards who are looking for any reason to get behind their team and the fickle morons who almost want their team to do badly so they can boo.  Still, they will both quickly forget about the rest of the season if the Buffs jump out to an early lead.  We need to completely dominate this one so CU fans destroy their own stadium and our team realizes what they are capable of.  Just watch out for the flying objects.


-Trent Wycoff

(Questions, comments, praise, and constructive criticism can be directed to Trent within the forums or through email at

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