Football

7 Points: Kansas State vs. Texas Tech

A preview of Kansas State and Texas Tech.

1. The Setting

Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-4, 1-4)
Bad Guys: Kansas State Wildcats (4-4, 2-3)
When: Saturday, November 4th at 11:00 a.m.
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: FS1 (FOX Sports Go)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
Weather:

2. Uniform Tracker

I don’t think anything has been repeated yet and no all-black just yet.

3. The Big Storyline

THIS WEEK ON STAKING THE PLAINS
* The Primer: Kansas State vs. Texas Tech
* Quote Board: Kingsbury Dishes on K-State; Injury and Player Updates
* Chit Chat: Return of the Roundtable
* The Big 12 Report: Week 9 Previews
* Let’s Talk About Stats: Kansas State vs. Texas Tech
* Eats & Bounds: Lubbock Concerts, Events and TTU Sports – 11/02/17
* Texas Tech Hoops – Preseason Predictions / Rankings

Bowl game or bust. Like a lot of you have echoed this week, I think this game pretty much determines if Texas Tech gets to a bowl game. Win this game and then beat Baylor, which is becoming more difficult as the season progresses and that bowl game is pretty much all but guaranteed. The last two games will be difficult, hosting TCU in two weeks or so and then traveling to Austin to play Texas.

The big question is whether or not six wins is enough to allow Kingsbury to get his job. I don’t know that I have a good read on this situation, particularly because I think that Hocutt would very much like to keep Kingsbury as the head coach. There may not be anyone more in the corner of Kingsbury than Hocutt.

I also know though that Hocutt is beholden to his shareholders, the fans and those season tickets. There’s lots of people that really believe, and rightfully so because it’s just an opinion, that if we give up on Kingsbury too quickly, then we’ll regret it when he goes somewhere else and absolutely dominates. This really does go back to the premise that Kingsbury was probably two years too early to be a head coach. Part of being a head coach is who you know so that you can pick the best assistants, not just the assistants that you know. When you have that limited circle, then that limits your ability to find guys to implement what you want to do.

The first staff that probably wasn’t ready to be in the positions that they were in plus Kingsbury not focusing on the defense really at all for four years was obviously problematic. He maybe would have assessed the Wallerstedt situation a bit earlier [As an aside, it was funny mentioning Wallerstedt to the K-State guys at Bring on the Cats during the podcast and they reminded me that Ron Prince hired Wallerstedt. Ron. Prince.]

4. Keys for Texas Tech

  • Texas Tech has to establish the passing game. Nic Shimonek has to take advantage of a beleagured K-State passing defense. Kansas threw for over 400 yards, but couldn’t put the ball in the endzone. Shimonek needs to finish the job. The biggest advantage that Texas Tech has offensively is the fact that their outside receivers are huge and K-State’s cornerbacks are relatively small, in the 5’9″ range. There’s no excuse for not posting those guys up in the endzone or throwing the ball deep with the thought that Vasher or Cantrell can just go over the top.
  • Broderick Washington discussed this in Outside the Huddle this week that the biggest thing that the defensive line will need to do this week is block and shed. Get those hands and bodies free to make the play on that delay quarterback run or the simple handoff. That’s really going to apply to the linebackers too, because the linebackers need to be free to fill in those gaps. I think this needs s a bit of work and it’s going to need to be on point.
  • The likely starting K-State quarterback, Alex Delton (6-0/200), runs really hard and I haven’t seen a ton of work from Skylar Thompson (6-2/209), but these two are essentially running backs playing the quarterback spot. Delton runs hard so this isn’t one of those deals where Delton is just going to just push the pile. No, he’ll get after you.
  • I’m interested as all get-out to see how Snyder decides to play this game. K-State isn’t the best passing defense and they are a great rushing defense. Do they play nickel coverage the entire game and stack the defense like Iowa State did? Will they be as patient as Iowa State was? K-State is pretty terrific at forcing turnovers, so if this is the plan, then Shimonek can’t turn the ball over and neither can the running backs put the ball on the carpet. That part will be absolutely vital to getting a win. Don’t give Kansas State the ball.
  • The other clear advantage on both sides of the ball for Texas Tech is third down conversion. This hasn’t been up to the standards of 2016, but that was never realistic for this year. But Kansas State simply doesn’t convert third downs like you’d think they would. Perhaps they get into some bad downs and distances, but let’s force Kansas State to punt more than they’d like.
  • Last, but not least, I think Nic Shimonek needs to be decisive. When Shimonek gets turned around and isn’t sure where to go, then he gets in trouble. I think it’s critical for Kingsbury to make sure that he helps Shimonek be as decisive with his passes as possible. I know there’s only so much Kingsbury can do from the sidelines and a large part of this is on Shimonek, but K-State shouldn’t be bullying the receivers up front and on the line of scrimmage. Pick apart that Kansas State defense the same way that he would in running the ball.

5. What to Watch

That delay move on the kickoff return was flipping awesome and the coverage teams for Texas Tech had better be focused. Kansas State plays the field position game better than pretty much any team in the country . . . the delayed linebacker blitz was really fast and that’s where not having any protection in for Shimonek is a killer because he simply cannot escape something like that . . . the way that the offensive line turns that Kansas defense is pretty impressive on that short touchdown run. The offensive line gets their bodies right and the Jayhawks really didn’t have a chance . . . maybe part of the problem for Kansas State is playing that base 4-3 defense . . . I think over the top is where Shimonek is going to have to go and that means that the wide receivers are going to have to get open, K-State will drop those linebackers into the middle of the field and that’s what Iowa State did, can’t be afraid to run the ball and check into that play . . .

That first play was going to be a 7 yard run but the running back turned it into so much more, but the offensive line had a great push . . . the K-State quarterback really does like go go deep . . . notice how that quarterback can run, this isn’t some slow guy that’s not willing to take a hit . . . the defense does have a problem with OU’s play-action, it would be nice to utilize this . . .

The K-State quarterback is pretty mechanical when it comes to running the ball . . . K-State will turn you over . . .

6. Coach’s Corner

On mentioning to the team the possibility of going to a bowl game…

“I have mentioned it. I know it is on their mind and I know their aspirations to do some of the things they were excited about earlier in the season do not exist now. A bowl game is certainly a reward for some people and the program. They understand that. They want to go to a bowl game and they understand what they have to do in order to make that happen.”

On Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek…

“For a young quarterback, he has a good deal of poise about him and seems to have a very good understanding about what they do at Texas Tech. He throws the ball well and he can run it if he has to. He is not the fastest youngster in the world, but he can currently run the ball and bring it down and scramble. They throw the ball around an awful lot. He throws it enough in practice and in games. He has an exceptional amount of experience as it relates to quarterbacks in the nationwide scope regards to how much they throw the football.”

On blitzing a team like Texas Tech…

“It is hard against anybody no matter who you line up and play against. It is always difficult against Texas Tech because they get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands as soon as they possibly can. That is where the coverage comes into place. If you have receivers covered well, then they have to hold the ball a little longer and you can get more pressure on the quarterback.”

On his most memorable Halloween costume…

“I was so well prepared to answer that because I knew it was coming. The only one that I can remember was having a bandana and a cowboy hat when I was little toot. We couldn’t afford costumes, so my uncle had a cowboy hat that he gave me. I do not know where I got the bandana. So, I would go door to door with a sack and my bandana and I was a cowboy.”

[If every K-State fan isn’t dressing up as young toot Bill Snyder with a cowboy hat and a bandana then I don’t even know what to think.]

On the success of the running game the past two weeks…

“I think the young guys up front are blocking well for a good portion of the time. The quarterback has been able to run the ball well, and the running backs have done a decent job as well. The better we execute things and the better we can throw the ball, probably the better we will run the ball. We didn’t two games against (against TCU). Against Oklahoma we were able to throw a couple of deep balls, which assisted our running game. Last week we didn’t throw a great deal, but the percentage was high. The fact that you put Alex Delton on the field or Skylar Thompson, there is the threat that they can throw the ball. Then people have to defend both the run and the pass, so that gives us a better chance to run it.”

7. Prediction

I’m going to take Texas Tech, but I think this is another one of those coin flip games. I hope like heck it doesn’t come down to the kicker because I just don’t know how ready Hatfield is. I mentioned on the podcast that I thought this would be a 35-38 sort of game and I’ll take Texas Tech at home because I’m a homer.

Contributor Prediction
Michael Texas Tech wins 35-28 with the offense putting up at least one touchdown in each quarter.
Spencer 34-28 Kansas State. Again the offense scores some points but isn’t efficient enough to deal with the ball control of the Wildcats
Brian 31-27 Tech. We finally get over the Snyder Hump, and the offense shows some life in the second half.
Dan 38-35 Texas Tech. Back and forth game, with K-State being stopped on a late 4th quarter drive to win it.
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