Instant Analysis: SMU

Overall, the Red Raiders played a very solid game against SMU on Monday afternoon. There were a few mistakes, which is to be expected with so many new players stepping into starting roles. One thing is for sure though, Texas Tech showed that they have the ability to be a great football team in 2007.

Bend but Don't Break

This has been the Lyle Setencich philosophy since he arrived in Lubbock.  Our corners don't press receivers very often, and we blitz less than any other Big 12 team. 

I personally would prefer a more aggressive defense, but I'm a strong believer in that you don't have to blitz 20 times a game to have an effective defense.

They key to making this philosophy successful is to actually not "break."  In years past, Texas Tech fans would get upset with Coach Setencich because we would still "break" even though we were keeping the offense in front of us and giving them large cushions.

Yesterday, however, the "Bend but Don't Break" defense worked incredibly.  SMU was able to move the ball between the 20's, but once the field was shortened, Tech's defense clamped down and kept the Mustangs out of the endzone the entire game.

Crabtree Lives Up to the Hype

Wow.  The expectations coming out of spring and fall practice were high for Michael Crabtree, which could have left fans expecting too much out of the redshirt freshman who hadn't even played 1 snap of division 1 football.

Crabtree delivered though, and in a big way.

With tons of pressure on the Dallas Carter native, he stepped up to the plate and delivered with 12 catches for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The SMU defense did not have an answer for him all day.

Mike Leach has said a few times during the off-season that this group of receivers may be better than the trio of Robert Johnson, Jarrett Hicks, and Joel Filani were during the past few years.  After the performances we saw from the entire group on Monday, he very well could be right.

More Pressure Needed

Our defensive line has to get more pressure on the QB.  The only player who was able to get consistent pressure on SMU QB Justin Willis was true freshman Colby Whitlock.  Although that is a good sign for the outstanding freshman, we really need to get a better pass rush off the ends.

At rush end, Brandon Williams and Tyler Yenzer were never able to get consistent pressure.  Both players made plays after the ball had crossed the line of scrimmage, but they need to be able to get in the backfield and disrupt the quarterback's timing.

This wasn't too much of an issue against SMU, but it will be imperative when we face off against Big 12 competition, especially Tech's road trip to Stillwater in 3 weeks.

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