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Defensive Preview: Texas Tech

Texas Tech boasts a defensive unit that is much improved from last year, but one that is also still vulnerable to attack by potent offenses

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Michael C. Johnson, USA TODAY Sports

There is a misconception floating around that Texas Tech has made huge strides on the defensive side of the ball. To put it nicely, the Red Raiders went from unbelievably bad to just bad. David Gibbs’ defense still gives up points in bunches and struggles to stop the run on a consistent basis. Most people remember the Red Raiders respectable defensive performance in Fort Worth about a month ago when they held TCU to 14 points. What has been lost in the shuffle is that Tech has still allowed more than 40 points FIVE different times this year, most recently 51 to Oklahoma a week ago. Anything can happen in Lubbock on a Saturday night, but there is one guarantee — the Longhorns will have plenty of opportunities to score. Let’s take a look at the Texas Tech defense:

Defensive Line

Texas Tech boasts a defensive line that is headlined by two transfers, defensive end Eli Howard (North Texas) and defensive tackle Preston Gordon (Rice). Howard leads the defensive line with 2.5 sacks. The Red Raiders are not a team that gets to the quarterback often, ranking in the middle of the country in terms of sacks, but they are quicker than in years past. Tech is only allowing 160 yards rushing per game this year, which is a far cry from how they looked last time the Longhorns visited Lubbock, when D’onta Foreman ran for 341 yards. However, Oklahoma’s Trey Sermon ran for over 200 yards a week ago. The Longhorns will and should be able to run on the Texas Tech defensive front.

Linebackers

Not only will the Red Raiders be without starting quarterback Alan Bowman, but there is also a real possibility they will be without starting LB Dakota Allen, who exited the Oklahoma game with a knee injury. Allen may be the best player on the entire Texas Tech roster, and is a guy who can defend in space while also serving as a run stopper. It’s hard to overstate who important he is to the Red Raiders’ defense, and his absence would be bad news for a team who let Oklahoma score at will a week ago after he exited.

Middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks ranks second on the team in tackles (behind Allen) with 46. Brooks is a multiyear starter who compliments Allen well and is a reliable tackler.

Secondary

DaMarcus Fields and Desmon Smith are experienced corners who will look to hold up against Collin Johnson. Smith stands at 6’2, and conventional wisdom says he matches up better with Johnson, but Fields may actually be the best corner on the roster.

The Red Raiders have a pair of senior safeties in Jah’Shawn Johnson and Vaughnte Dorsey. Both players have years of starting experience and are familiar with David Gibbs defense. The Longhorns will also see John Bonney, who spent the first 4 years of his collegiate career in burnt orange. Bonney has 25 tackles on the season and has looked to carve out a niche in Lubbock as a backup safety.

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Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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