Football

Part I: How Far Away is the Texas Tech Defense?

It may be right around the corner.

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about his how close the Texas Tech defense truly is to being relatively legitimate.

This really goes to the idea as to whether or not David Gibbs and his staff are good at identifying talent and I think there’s really something to the overall plan. The problem is having the patience to allow that play to come into fruition.

Gibbs is a secondary guy. He’s been a secondary guy for long time and that’s been his primary focus from college to the NFL. Aside from coaching that side of the defense is the idea that Gibbs seems to have a real clear idea about what type of player he wants to recruit, especially in the secondary. There may not be a player that’s more indicative of the player that Gibbs wants to recruit moreso than Houston’s William Jackson, III, who was drafted in the first round in the 2016 draft by Cincinnati. Jackson stands at 6’0″ and 190, was plucked out of Trinity Valley C.C. in Athens. Jackson is a tall cornerback, or tall for cornerback standards and runs a 4.37 40-yard dash. This is a player that Zach Spavital and Gibbs found and I think this is the player that they sell to these incoming recruits. Go read Spavital’s twitter timeline from April of last year.

Taking a look at the 2016 class, Gibbs plucked three defensive backs

  • DaMarcus Fields: 6-1/180
  • Desmon Smith: 6-3/191
  • Douglas Coleman: 6-2/180

Now, the 2017 class:

  • Zaquincius Addison: 6-1/175
  • Adam Beck: 6-2/184
  • Adrian Frye: 6-0/165
  • John Davis: 6-1/175
  • Vaugnte Dorsey: 5-11/205
  • Octavious Morgan: 6-0/205
  • Jaylon Lane: 6-1/177

Aside from Dorsey, each and every player fits the same profile as Jackson, tall secondary players that can run. Granted, none of these guys can run like Jackson right now, and they shouldn’t be that fast because they haven’t matured, but each of these guys run in the 4.5 range and they can expect to get faster.

This is the template though and it’s a pretty good template. I couldn’t be happier with the play of Coleman and Smith as true freshmen, especially Coleman. And Smith is essentially playing out of position at cornerback, or maybe helps playing out of his eventual position at safety.

Of course, just one guy in Jackson doesn’t make a pattern, but maybe ten guys do make a pattern and if you ever wanted to have some hope, think about Houston’s defense overall. Jackson was drafted last year in the 2016 draft.

OLB Steven Taylor (6-1/225), ILB Matthew Adams (6-1/230), S Kahlil Williams (6-0/200), CB Brandon Wilson (5-11/200), DL Cameron Malveaux (6-6/270), OLB Tyus Bowser (6-3/240) and DL Nick Thurman (6-4/290) are all part of the backbone of the defense that Houston rolled out and all were players recruited by Gibbs and the rest of the staff. Don’t get me wrong, Todd Orlando had a lot to do with that team’s success (as did Ed Oliver, the incredible defensive tackle), but a lot of the guys listed above weren’t “just guys” they were significant contributors. And to be honest, that’s going to be the most interesting thing about Tom Herman, which is that he’s done really well with someone else’s players, having only been at Houston for two years and he’s also done great with the high level talent, but it will be interesting to see how he finds and develop the bulk of your team.

The second half of two post will be to go back all the way to 2015 and think about how things have come together for Gibbs.

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