Texas Tech @ OU Preview

The biggest game in Texas Tech history (at least this week) takes place Saturday between the Red Raiders from Lubbock and the Sooners in Norman. A game with implications as far reaching as the British Empire of the 1800's, this one will give the winning team the chance to play for a National Title. Come inside as football analyst Mitchell Fish gives his thought on this weekend's titanic match-up.

When Texas Tech has the ball

The strategy for the Red Raiders is easy Saturday, don't turn the ball over. While Oklahoma's offense receives continuous praise for their gaudy scoring number (which they should) their defense has very quietly started to slip, especially with injuries at linebacker and Austin English not playing against Tech for the second year.

The Raiders will most likely try to repeat their game plan from the Oklahoma State game on November 8th utilizing short passes, screens, and draws to advance the ball down the field. Oklahoma has the athletes to run with Tech receivers vertically down the field but it is extremely difficult to cover players like Detron Lewis, Eric Morris, Ed Britton, Michael Crabtree, and company when they are all moving at a high rate of speed laterally across the field.

Perhaps the most important part of the game Saturday will be the play of the "Secret Service" aka the Tech offensive line. A unit that has given up 5 sacks (that's correct, 5 as in 1 sack every two games on average) will go against one of the best defenses in the Big XII and they will have to do it away from the comforts of Jones AT&T stadium.

When Oklahoma has the ball

The Sooners have made their living this year with great first half performances and then forcing opponents out of their game plan in the second half. Look for Oklahoma to go for the throat early with deep passes, aggressive screens, and defenses that force Graham Harrell and company to be perfect.

Sam Bradford sat on the bench for the majority of last year's version of the game with an expression on his face like someone took his pumpkin pie away from him and most likely has little to no recollection of that night in Lubbock.

However, Bradford has been just as impressive this year and even better in some aspects. With a solid offensive line and dynamic running backs to compliment his NFL size arm, Bradford is easily one of the top two or three quarterbacks in the country. He runs Oklahoma's version of the spread as well as any quarterback that has played in Norman since Stoops arrival and with the addition of the no-huddle offense, it will be very difficult for the Raiders to rotate defensive linemen as the usually prefer to do. Instead, Tech will most-likely have to go with defensive substitutions each series instead of during a series.

What Will Happen

This is a game that stays close throughout and comes down to a big play in the wee minutes of the 4th quarter. Look for the Tech defense to play with the same intensity that it did against Texas while OU tries to re-establish their claim as National Championship Contenders.

Player to Watch

Since the Kansas game, sophomore Colby Whitlock has played like someone told him if he beat every offensive guard/center in the Big XII that he'd get a ring.

Playing like a man with something to prove, Whitlock is a big reason for the Raiders recent success on defense, especially against the run.

The way that Whitlock is able to handle the inevitable double teams from Oklahoma and the extended time on the field will go a long way to determining the Raiders success this Saturday.


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