Football

Seven Points: TCU vs. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders host the TCU Horned Frogs, we’ve got charts, graphs, and play breakdowns as we preview the game.

Point 1: Key Player

Player Vital Information
Name: Justis Nelson
Height/Weight: 6-2/173
Classification: Junior
Key Stats: 7 tackles

I usually don’t try to overthink this, but I thought that whoever is covering Josh Doctson is going to get a workout and that would be Justis Nelson. Nelson has very few stats and he’s is pretty much playing in rotation with J.J. Gaines alongside Tevin Madison and maybe a little bit of Paul Banks III or Thierry Nguema. Without Nigel Bethel III, it’s a bit light at this position. Perhaps that’s an even better reason for Gaines’ move from safety to cornerback. Still, lack of an pass deflections and big plays are troublesome for Nelson who you might think would have a few pass deflections, but not so far. Nelson is going to have to play big in this game.

Point 2: Uniform Tracker

Uniform Tracker
Opponent Helmet Jersey Pants Result
Sam Houston State W, 59-45
UTEP W, 69-20
Arkansas W, 34-24

Point 3: Keys to the Game

Taking a look at Football Study Hall’s team profiles, I wanted to somewhat confirm my bias, which is that I think that the Texas Tech offense is essentially on par with the TCU offense and at some point, this becomes a battle of wills on the defensive side of the ball. If you look at the Texas Tech team profile you can see that Texas Tech is 14th in explosiveness, 3rd in scoring efficiency, 58th in field position and 15th in finishing drives. In reviewing the TCU team profile, the Horned Frogs are 40th in explosiveness, 6th in scoring efficiency, 16th in field position and 40th in finishing drives. Aside from the field position, which doesn’t seem to be hurting Texas Tech that much, the Texas Tech offense is just flat better.

Now, on the flip side of things, is that the TCU defense is better (and yes, I think these stats are adjusted for opponents) than Texas Tech’s in the same categories, but with the attrition happening with TCU and their defense, I don’t know how that plays out for TCU. Losing Texada is a big deal playing a team like Texas Tech.

Point 4: Texas Tech Offense vs. TCU Defense

Another stingy vs. explosive sort of match-up here. TCU hasn’t played much of anyone that has much offensive firepower, other than SMU and they racked up 500 yards of offense. They just couldn’t put points on the board. TCU is always terrific on third and fourth downs and they’ve been particularly good in the redzone.

Point 5: Texas Tech Defense vs. TCU Offense

This is the part that concerns me. The Texas Tech defense is still a work in progress, but they’re still giving up a ton of yards, but they’ve been better about giving up so many points. The havoc rates for both defenses slightly favor TCU.

Point 6: A Look at the TCU Offense

We start with a fairly simple play, but SMU decides that with 11:06 left in the first half it is time to bring da house, so they rush six defenders, which means that they had better get to Boykin or it’s a touchdown. Want to guess what happened?

Player man #25 runs a pretty simple slant and when there’s no safety help, it’s a pretty easy 6 points. Boykin can execute with the blitz, so if Texas Tech does decide to blitz, then the Red Raiders better get to him.

Another pretty simplistic play in that TCU is running 20 personnel, but for whatever reason, the receiver at the top of the screen is running man coverage and the defender is playing bump-and-run. I think the receiver is Doctson and he does what he does, which is score touchdowns.

As you can see, a safety does come over and help, but Boykin places that ball perfectly and Doctson makes a terrific catch.

In this play, SMU is playing things fairly straight up and I can’t recall what other team did this, maybe SHSU, but TCU stacks the receivers at the bottom and coming out of coverage, SMU only has one defender there covering both receivers. That defender is taking the guy who is going deep and the safety is taking whatever is left. I can’t recall which receiver this was, but again, with one-on-one coverage, Boykin knows where to throw the ball and the TCU receivers can go up and get it.

This is a fun play and it is one that I think that Texas Tech has probably run something similar. It’s 30 personnel and Boykin does a little play-action with the running back, while the two h-backs or fullbacks get lost in the line of scrimmage and then pretty much race down middle seam catches a touchdown pretty much untouched. Texas Tech linebackers are going to need to be constantly aware of who is in the backfield because TCU will send them out of the backfield.

Point 7: A Look at the TCU Defense

When watching TCU, the front six call is and can be entirely different than the back five. What you’re paying attention to is the buy that’s almost cut off at the bottom of the screen. He’s got one-on-one coverage and the cornerback is playing tight. The safety does eventually come on over to help, but the SMU receiver makes a fantastic play and a deep catch. It seemed that TCU was very much willing to gamble on occasion and I think that you can expect to see a few more footballs thrown deep than last week.

Again, the player who makes the catch here is completely out of the screen, he and a defender are at the bottom, but see how SMU has crowded every other player to the left side of the field (top of the screen) to ensure one-on-one coverage with the SMU receiver who, again, makes an outstanding grab. There’s no one to help .

A little bit of a zone read and Davis will see the SMU offensive line open up a huge hole that’s too good to be true. And the TCU defenders actually end up closing on Davis, who makes a great spin-move to score.

So here you can see how things open up and two TCU defenders fail to wrap up and make the tackle. I think that’s where TCU’s defense suffers. They don’t have the guys that are there that normally make plays and they won’t have the depth that they normally have.

The difference between the Minnesota offense and the Texas Tech offense is fairly substantial. As you can see, it’s 3rd and 8 and Minnesota needs to get to the yellow line. TCU is trying to keep everything in front of them.

And I think this is where TCU excels as they do keep everything in front of them, but not a single Minnesota player runs to the 1st down marker. Like seriously. If you don’t push the limits with TCU, they’ll be very content to clog the middle and make plays.

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