7 Points I Need to See When Texas Tech Plays Lamar
Who: The Lamar Cardinals and The Texas Tech Red Raiders
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas.
When: Saturday, September 8th, at 3 p.m.
Broadcast: FOX Sports Net / FOX Sports Go with Brendan Burke, David Anderson and Christian Steckel.
What pregame show to listen to: 1340 The Fan’s Countdown to Kickoff, 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September, 8th.
Texas Tech laid an egg week one against the Ole Miss Rebels. An absolute egg. The defense regressed to the 2014 Red Raider D and gave up an outrageous nine-plus yard per play average.
Beneath the surface numbers of the defense, and using rose-colored glasses, you can see a positive: Ole Miss not scoring any touchdowns in the red zone. Let's just gloss over the fact they were 4-4 in the red zone with four field goals. #Forthebrand, bottomline: The defense was terrible against Ole Miss.
The offense wasn't good. It wasn't bad. It was just sort of there. There was an early catch by T.J. Vasher, but it wasn't a touchdown and wouldn't have been notable if the catch itself wasn't ridiculous. There were times when the offensive line looked above average, and times when the Ole Miss Landsharks took gigantic bites out of them.
That's why the Red Raiders need a bounce back. They need to rebound, and Lamar is the next contestant in the ass-kicking sweepstakes. The question is, 'Can Texas Tech cash the check?'
In 2017, Lamar was beaten by North Texas 59-14. That is exactly what Texas Tech needs to do in 2018. In fact, it would be better if Texas Tech kept Lamar out of the end zone completely.
In all honesty, this game shouldn't be close.
You see, there's a food chain in college football, and Texas Tech is higher on that food chain than Lamar is. It's nature. Yes, there are rare FCS teams that can get lucky against an unsuspecting opponent, but this is not one of those times.
This isn't Nicholls State and Kansas, or App State and Michigan.
Lamar has Texas Tech's complete attention. It's unlucky for Lamar that Texas Tech was embarrassed worldwide last week, because now the Red Raiders need to rectify the momentum of the 2018 season.
That brings us to the 7 points I need to see from Texas Tech this Saturday in order to restore calm to the universe.
1: A FAST START
The Ole Miss game was the opposite of fast. It was very slow. The offense scored on the opening drive, then stalled while spotting the Rebels a large lead. I want to see that big, beautiful Double T scoreboard reading at least 21-3 at the end of the 1st quarter.
2: A STRONG FINISH
There were two things preached all offseason. One was a hashtag: #thingshavechanged. The other was the practice mantra, 'Finish.' Texas Tech did not demonstrate either of those in week one. The defense didn't show up. There were familiar mental mistakes, and the Rebels outscored the Red Raiders 10-0. That has to be different against Lamar.
3: DOMINATION IN THE TRENCHES
This is self-explanatory. Texas Tech is bigger, badder and stronger than Lamar. It needs to play out that way along both fronts. Broderick Washington and Joe Wallace should have a field day. Eli Howard isn't going up against an NFL talent this week. The offensive line should allow free passage to the second level 90 percent of the time, so 275 yards rushing should be the goal against this week.
4: JETT DUFFEY FOR AT LEAST FIVE OFFENSIVE DRIVES
This is nothing against Alan Bowman. I think he will, and should, start the game. I just want to see with my own eyes the inefficiencies that Duffey has. If he's as loose with the ball as the coaching staff says he is, it will show in the game. I just need to see it for myself. Plus, with McLane Carter out, Duffey will at least play garbage time...right? If there isn't garbage time, then that means Bowman has struggled and the defense is allowing Lamar to be efficient. Neither of those things makes good reasons for Jett Duffey to remain on the sidelines. Whatever gets Duffey to five drives, a quarter or a half, so be it. That's what I'd like to see.
5: OWN THE BIG PLAY
Texas Tech needs to do the opposite of what they did in week one. Ole Miss scored four offensive touchdowns, all of them longer than Texas Tech's longest play of the day. They also ran a kickoff back for a touchdown. The Red Raiders have the same potential to feast on big plays against the Lamar Cardinals.
De'Quan Bowman flashed serious burst on his kickoff returns. Vasher obviously flashed. The defense showed they had big-play ability last season. There is no reason that Texas Tech can't fill a 10-minute tape with highlights after Saturday's game.
Do people still say this? YOLO. Kliff Kingsbury needs his mojo back. I'm not sure where it went, but it needs to be found. I want to see Kingsbury and company go Viking on the Cardinals. Up 40? Good. Score 40 more. Two minutes left and up 59-10? Plenty of time. I don't want to see the team in victory formation down 13 at halftime with 35 seconds left on the clock. I don't want to see a punt on Texas Tech's side of the field. I want to see risk and deep shots and touchdowns and vicious legal non-targeting hits. 'Too Turnt University' needs to make it's reintroduction this weekend against Lamar.
7: FANS AT THE JONES
Fearless Champion won't be there, so the team needs you -- at least for the first half.
The recipe is written for Texas Tech to go 6-6, at least, this season. The game against Lamar needs to be more than a win though to inspire confidence past that threshold. It needs to be a dominant performance. You can't struggle against Lamar and demand respect from anyone else on the schedule.
Not even Houston, who comes to Lubbock next weekend.
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