Big 12 football: Texas had its hands full with OSU; Now, Longhorns tackle West Virginia

Texas coach Mack Brown said Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith is complemented by “three of the best receivers I've ever seen.”
by Gina Mizell Published: October 1, 2012
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photo - West Virginia receiver Stedman Bailey (3) carries the ball after a catch during their NCAA college football game against Baylor in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Christopher Jackson)   ORG XMIT: WVCJ114
West Virginia receiver Stedman Bailey (3) carries the ball after a catch during their NCAA college football game against Baylor in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Christopher Jackson) ORG XMIT: WVCJ114

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

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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