Texas coach Mack Brown has been having trouble finding his defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz.
“I've been down there (at his office) three times, and he's got his door closed and he's under the desk,” Brown said during Monday's Big 12 football coaches media teleconference.
Only kidding, of course. Well, sort of.
The Longhorns are the next team to face the offensive juggernaut that is West Virginia, with the Mountaineers coming off a 70-63 shoot-out win over Baylor on Saturday. In that game, Heisman front-runner Geno Smith completed 45-of-51 passes for 656 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. while Stedman Bailey amassed 13 receptions for 303 yards and five touchdowns, and Tavon Austin added 14 catches for 215 yards and two scores.
“(Smith is) playing as good or better than any quarterback we've ever had (in the Big 12),” Brown said. “Just unbelievable. He hasn't made a mistake, and there's a tremendous amount of pressure on him with trying to handle all the hype, the Heisman stuff.
“He's got three of the best receivers I've ever seen. They're all really fast, they're all really good. And they can run the ball, they're offensive line's really good. They've got nine seniors on offense. They've got absolutely no weaknesses. It's just amazing to watch.”
UT's defense is regarded as one of the stronger units in the Big 12, but it gave up 36 points to Oklahoma State on Saturday night, and missed tackles continue to be an issue.
TOMMY TUBERVILLE CITES RECRUITING AS KEY TO IMPROVED DEFENSE
So far this season, Texas Tech's defense has seen a dramatic turnaround. The Red Raiders rank in the top 5 in the nation in total defense (first, 167.50 yards per game) and scoring defense (fifth, 10.75 points per game) after finishing tied for 114th and 117th in those categories, respectively, last season.
Coach Tommy Tuberville attributes the rapid improvement to the teaching techniques of first-year defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, better tackling and an ability to stop the run. But he also credits recruiting.
“We made it a priority in the last few years of recruiting to bring in height and speed on defense,” Tuberville said. “Guys that can run, guys that can rush the passer with speed and get their hands up in the passing lanes.
“It's an ongoing process to try to get this team where we need it to be to play the Oklahoma States, the West Virginias, the teams that throw the ball almost every down.”
Tech next faces Oklahoma, a team that ranks 25th in the nation in total offense (491.67 yards per game) and 28th in scoring offense (37.33 points per game).
WEST VIRGINIA DC JOE DEFOREST ‘FELT WORSE THAN ANYBODY' AFTER BAYLOR GAME, DANA HOLGORSEN SAYS
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen called the Mountaineers' pass defense “atrocious,” but the run defense “really good” in their wild 70-63 victory over Baylor on Saturday afternoon.
But what kind of day was it for Joe DeForest, the former OSU associate head coach who is now the defensive coordinator at WVU?
“He felt worse than anybody,” Holgorsen said. “He didn't have a very good day. I didn't have a very good day, either. … You go back and you study what happened defensively, I felt a lot better about it Sunday than I did Saturday night, just to know that we played pretty good defense probably 75 percent of the time.
“When you just let receivers get open and make plays and bust a coverage with a couple of freshmen and they get chunks of yardage … it's just obviously disheartening.”
CHARLIE WEIS WANTS RIVALRY FOCUS TO TURN TO KANSAS-KANSAS STATE
When Charlie Weis arrived as the new head coach at Kansas, all he heard about was the Jayhawks' rivalry with Missouri.
But with Mizzou now in the SEC, Weis wants to see that focus shift to in-state foe Kansas State. The Jayhawks and Wildcats square off in Manhattan at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“The last three years, they've laid a pretty good whoppin' on us,” Weis said. “And I think that now that Missouri is no longer a competitor and they're now playing the Southeastern Conference, I think that Kansas has to focus in on having that same fire and intensity towards the in-state rivalry that K-State does. I think that's the direction we're heading.”
K-State has won three straight in the series by a combined score of 135-38, but coach Bill Snyder said he doesn't anticipate any trouble getting this year's team motivated for the game.
“It means an awful lot to them, on both sides,” Snyder said. “We have an awful lot of youngsters from the state of Kansas in the program, and that carries some additional meaning for them.”
HOW GOOD IS TCU? ‘DEPENDS ON THE DAY,' SAYS GARY PATTERSON
TCU is 4-0 and ranked 15th in The Associated Press poll as it heads into its second Big 12 game against Iowa State.
But after Saturday's close 24-16 victory over SMU, how good does coach Gary Patterson think his football team is?
“Just depends on the day,” Patterson said. “To be a good football team, you just got to be a point better than everybody else the day that you play them. I think that's the key.
“Is the defense as good as the 2008 defense? No. Has the offense played as well as the Rose Bowl offense (from 2010)? No. But the key to it is, on the games that you have to, we've been better.”