Taking a look at the Red Raider defense ahead of the Jayhawks matchup in Lubbock this weekend.
When Tommy Tuberville took over the Red Raiders he talked about instilling a defensive focus at Texas Tech, a school that had become known for their high flying offense under Mike Leach. That concerned some people in Lubbock as the initial worry was that Tuberville might tear down what the Red Raiders did well, in hopes that he might bring a completely different style to the table. Fortunately for Tech fans the blend of the two has been a positive. Not only has Tuberville managed to maintain a high level of offensive success, he also has this Tech defense playing at a very high level compared to much of the Big 12 and it's serving the Red Raiders fairly well.
Hyder and Simmons lay the foundation for a strong middle to the Texas Tech defense. This is a group giving up just 126 yards per game on the ground which ranks 28th nationally and they are particularly good at keeping teams out of the endzone. Hyder and Simmons aren't huge "stat" guys, but they set the table for the rest of the middle of the Tech defense.
MIKE 7 Will Smith
Will Smith moonlight's for the Tech defense when he's not working on the next highly anticipated sequel to Men In Black. Smith holds down the middle of the Tech defense at the linebacker spot and ranks third on the team in tackles. It's a distant third, but Smith is definitely another anchor to the middle of this defense.
LS 12 D.J. Johnson
RS 16 Cody Davis
That bring us to the middle of the secondary and the two biggest playmakers on the Tech defense. This is a very solid pair of safeties and they can provide strong run support and force turnovers in the secondary. These are the top two tacklers on the team and they have a combined four interceptions on the year.
Bush is the more dynamic player of this group as he has recorded three sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss on the year. Neither is off the charts in terms of production but much of that can be credited to scheme and the cleanup work that the Tech linebackers and safeties do over the course of the game.
This group is a bit banged up but they do a decent job supporting Smith, Johnson and Davis. I would say that neither of them is particularly impressive on their own right now, but in the context of the unit they are assignment sound players that do their job.
This Tech defense has shown the ability to go with a base set or a nickel style approach depending on the offensive look. This group has also been a little banged up at times but it seems to be healthy again which might provide some reprieve for other areas that aren't as strong. Neboh is the most versatile and best cover player in the group.