September 7, 2006

Some things I think

Most people expect a shootout in El Paso on Saturday night, do you see it happening that way?

No, not really. I do think that at times UTEP's defense will have some success in trying to slow Tech's attack. However, I don't foresee UTEP having enough playmakers on offense to consistently put points up against Tech's defense. Johnnie Lee Higgins is a big time playermaker and you'd think Marcus Thomas will get some yardage on the ground but with Thomas you'd have thought that last week too against the Aztecs but he only managed 24 on 17 carries.

You'd also have to like your chances if you're a Texas Tech fan with the Tech offense versus the UTEP defense. Yes, this Miner defense returns a ton of starters, most are seniors and they are fast but this is a unit that gave up nearly 375 yards a game last year and 384 in the opener against San Diego State.

Tech's defense is also as good or better than last season too, especially in the front seven, when it finished ranked 30th nationally.

Texas Tech's offensive line versus UTEP's defensive line (four senior returning starters) -- who gets the edge?

Tech's offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said earlier this week that UTEP's defense is a lot like SMU's, especially in their front four which was SMU's perceived strength on defense. Again, UTEP will have some occasional success in getting pressure on Graham Harrell but will they win the battle up front, I just don't see it.

Harrell reacted better than everyone was expecting against SMU's blitz packages because the line gave him just enough time nearly every play. SMU paid for it time and time again. "If he throws it that quick it's tough to get there and defend us," said Bedenbaugh. "The one thing he did is he saw the blitz and he can read it and that deters teams from blitzing us which is why Robert Johnson had all of those catches."

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