Kansas State travels to West Virginia on Saturday for a pivotal Big 12 showdown.
Did Texas Tech's stunning 49-14 win over the Mountaineers provide a blueprint?
“I don't know about a blueprint,” said K-State coach Bill Snyder. “It may be for teams that have the same type of schematic capabilities and the same kind of personnel. Every team is different. Not only did they play well defensively, they played very well up front. Their offense was productive as well.”
One key will be whether the Wildcats can control the clock to keep West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith on the sidelines.
“They're the same as they've always been,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “They're very tough. This will be our biggest challenge of the year, without question. They're a physical group that's mentally tough, physically tough and extremely disciplined.”
TECH'S DEFENSE IS MUCH IMPROVED
After a 41-20 loss to Oklahoma, it was suggested Texas Tech's defense was highly ranked because of inferior competition. But the Red Raiders' performance against West Virginia was a strong statement for a unit that ranked 116th nationally last year in total defense.
Texas Tech's dramatic turnaround has been under first-year defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, a 28-year coaching veteran who was at North Carolina last season.
“Art and I kind of grew up together in Arkansas,” said Tech coach Tommy Tuberville. “One thing he's brought to the table is his sense of patience, understanding you can only go so far in a short period of time. We haven't tried to do a whole lot.
“We're not a blitzing team. We line up in a four-man front most of the time. He teaches (fundamentals). We haven't gone beyond that. We don't try to trick anybody. We don't slant or do exotic things. We line the players up and let them play.”
DID MOUNTAINEERS TIP OFF PLAYS?
West Virginia's running game stalled, and the passing game seemed to be bothered by windy conditions Saturday in Lubbock.
There's also a theory why West Virginia's high powered offense never found a rhythm — an offensive tackle's stance tipped off whether each play would be a run or a pass.
“Part of the trick about playing defense is you don't know if it's going to be run or pass,” Holgorsen said. “If we're doing anything from a personnel standpoint, a technique standpoint, a stance standpoint or signaling standpoint, that's something we need to get fixed to make sure we're not predictable.”
After looking at film, were the Mountaineers predictable?
“I think it's predictable of every offensive tackle in the country on various plays,” Holgorsen said, declining to elaborate.
BOYKIN GIVES TCU A SPARK
A week after having only one day to learn the game plan as an emergency fill-in starter, TCU redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns. He ran for 56 yards in a 49-21 win over Baylor in Waco, Texas.
“He made some mistakes (in his debut against Iowa State), but we had 450 yards of offense,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “Having four days to prepare (was beneficial). It also gave us some peace as a football team, not so many distractions. I don't think people give that enough credit.”
IOWA STATE IN BCS RANKINGS
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads announced to his team after Sunday's practice that the Cyclones were ranked No. 24 in the initial BCS rankings.
“It was great for our morale,” Rhoads said. “This was a hard loss (to Kansas State), a painful loss, a physical game. To be greeted by that as we came off the practice field helped affirm what we know — we're a good football team.
“I doubt anyone outside our walls would have picked us to be 4-2 right now. It's a good feeling. But we have six weeks of Big 12 football ahead of us. That's the toughest football in the country. Our kids and our staff know our nose has to stay to the grindstone if we're going to be effective in the second half.”
LONGHORNS TRY TO REGROUP
Texas coach Mack Brown told players not to go on Twitter or Facebook because of inevitable negative comments, adding the Longhorns “got out-coached and outplayed in every fashion” in a 63-21 loss to Oklahoma.
“It was a setback,” Brown said. “We feel we've made progress and are a better team than we were at this time last year in a lot of ways, even though it didn't look like it Saturday. You have to take the negative and turn it into a positive and play harder and play better and play tougher.”
“We have a chance to win the rest of our games and still win 10 games so we're not quitting, we're not getting our head down or giving up. We're going back to work.”