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October 17, 2009

Leach talks about trying to slow down Suh

Texas Tech rang up 66 points last Saturday against Kansas State, but Red Raider head coach Mike Leach expects his offense to face a much stiffer challenge Saturday afternoon against Nebraska.

Led by All-America defensive tackle candidate Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska enters the game ranked No. 2 nationally in scoring defense (8 points a game), No. 3 in pass efficiency defense (86.48) and No. 13 in total defense (273.40).

Leach is well aware of Suh's dominating play in Nebraska's first five games of the season, but said he's more impressed by the play of the Husker defense as an entire unit.

"Well I think he's good," Leach said of Suh earlier this week. "He was good last year when we played them and I just think they play good overall defense. They play as a unit. I think a lot is made out of him, but their overall team is what makes them strong. He's one guy and he's definitely a feature player for them, but I think their overall defensive unit is the strongest thing about them."

Leach said the Red Raiders, 3-2 on the season, need to be focused on offensive execution, not the Husker defense.

"We just need to worry about what we can do and worry about what we're able to do," he said.

Defense has certainly been a key to Nebraska's 4-1 start and No. 15 national ranking, but the Huskers have yet to face an offense as prolific as Texas Tech's. The Red Raiders are ranked No. 2 nationally in three offensive categories - scoring (43.17), passing (443.50) and total (521.50).

"They're a very efficient passing team," Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said of Tech's offense. "They're really well schooled. They run great routes. Their quarterbacks, both of them (Taylor Potts, Steven Sheffield), understand the offense, understand coverages, know where to go. They read defenses well and all that. I really thought the last couple of years, last year and this year, their running attack became a bigger part of their offense and now they have a great threat in the running game, so you have to be balanced defensively because they're balanced on offense. It's no longer you just have to go out and think coverage. You have to defend the run and the pass at the same time."

As dominating as the Red Raiders have been at home this season, they're winless on the road, losing at Houston and Texas. Leach expects the 85,000 red-clad fans at Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon to present a challenge for the Red Raiders.

"It's loud. I think it's one of the loudest stadiums," Leach said of the Memorial Stadium atmosphere. "I think there and Kyle Field (Texas A&M) are probably the loudest. Loud stadium - a lot of end zone seats, really a good environment and exciting because of all the games that you know have been played there in the past. The tradition there is excellent. It's really an exciting place to have the opportunity to go play."

The Huskers and Red Raiders will tee it up at 2:30 p.m.



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