Breakdown: Defense

The Red Raiders kickoff their season today against SMU. RaiderPower has broken down both defenses and lets you know which team has the advantage at each position. The Red Raiders are known for their prolific offense. Does the SMU defense have the personnel to match up with Graham Harrell and Co.? We break it all down inside.

Advantage: Texas Tech
Both teams are young and inexperienced on the defensive line, but the advantage here goes to Texas Tech. 

SMU lost 3 of their 4 defensive linemen to graduation last year, but they also received another blow during Fall camp when all-conference DE Cory Muse went down with an injury and will likely miss the Texas Tech game.

With the injury to Muse, there will be 4 new faces on the d-line for SMU, which could spell trouble with the quick and elusive Shannon Woods in the Red Raiders' backfield.

Advantage: Texas Tech
SMU was expecting big things out of their 2007 linebacking corp, but things took an unexpected turn when MLB Reggie Carrington decided to give up football and not return for his senior year.

The Mustangs do return 2 starting linebackers from last season, but the Red Raiders have them beat with the return of Kellen Tillman and near starter from last year Paul Williams.

The only question mark going into the game for Texas Tech is on the weakside, where Coach Setencich has to decide between Marlon Williams and Chad Hill.  Setencich admitted that Williams is the more athletic linebacker, but Chad Hill knows the system, which Setencich has always valued.

Advantage: Texas Tech

The Red Raiders are stacked in the secondary.  They return 3 of 4 players from a secondary that was one of the best passing defenses in the Big 12 last season.

SMU has the solid Jonathan Lindley at right cornerback, but the experience ends there.  The Mustangs will be breaking in new starters at both safety spots and left cornerback. 

The Red Raiders will challenge the Mustang secondary all day, so the new guys will need to adjust very quickly or it could be a long day for SMU.

Advantage: SMU
The advantage here goes to SMU.  The Mustangs have a real threat returning kicks in Jessie Henderson.  Henderson only played for the first 7 games until he had a season ending injury, but he averaged an amazing 37 yards per return before his injury.

Henderson is fully healed and will be an All-American candidate this year as a return man.

Texas Tech is breaking in a new punter, 2 new kick returners, and a new kickoff man after the graduation of Keith Toogood.  Kickoffs will be moved back 5 yards this year, so having a kicker who can send it into the endzone will be even more valuable.


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