There’s so much to unpack from head coach Matt Wells. It’s over 30 minutes of questions and answers. Before we get too far, we get this back-and-forth that I thought was pretty entertaining:
Q. You mentioned how in general it takes quarterbacks some time to get into your offense. Do you know how far away are we from Coach really letting Alan, just let him loose in the offense and let him throw more downfield?
MATT WELLS: Why don’t you define for me, “let it loose.”
Q. Just letting him throw more downfield passes compared to the screens, you mentioned last week how when a quarterback starts out, he generally doesn’t have much of a leash to do that as much.
MATT WELLS: No, no, I said when a quarterback starts out in this offense, he doesn’t have as long a leash in terms of checking plays and calling his own plays. Alan Bowman so far in two games, first year with Coach Yost is probably calling more now than two years ago when we installed this offense. I don’t know how it would be compared to Coach Yost’s quarterbacks in the years that he’s had them, but I would say in terms of his play calling leeway, it’s — he gets to call a little bit of the game right now. He’s checking certain plays.
Q. How much or what percentage would you say?
MATT WELLS: I will not put a percentage on that. Solid question. Fair question. I’m just refusing to answer that question.
Q. You said after the first game you weren’t —
MATT WELLS: I don’t know the answer, either. (Laughter) don’t ask Yost, either. (Laughter).
I’m not posting this for any reason other than to let you know that Matt Wells will not succomb to questions that he does not like, but we also know that Bowman is not checking a ton of plays, the actual amount is “a little bit” which is fine with me. And don’t ask Yost. It starts about the 11 minute mark.
Wells opened by speaking about Arizona and the UTEP game as well as being very appreciative of the crowd that showed up against UTEP:
I think there was 1,500 more than the week before, and that was noticeable if we can get that next jump at the next home game. That will be huge. But I appreciate them coming out, all of them. The ones that were loud and the ones that stood up and cheered, they were really, really proud. I’m just thankful for them and want to create a great game day environment and recognize that we have to put a good thing product out on the field, and we’re going to keep trying to do our part and I just — I’m thankful for our fans and the community that came out and especially the Tech students, because there was a lot more of them. Appreciative of them.
Wells is asked about whether or not it is intentional with receivers receiving about 4 passes each and right now, that’s just the rotation, but not intentional:
I think it’s just kind of the way we’re rotating. Some of those guys don’t keep playing well. Then some of those other guy also keep getting more reps and it will not be balanced and then you’ll ask me that and I’ll say, I don’t care, as long as we’re completing the balls.
As long as we have guys that merit playing time and they are playing well at a high level, then we’ll continue to rotate a lot of those guys. Obviously we’d like to, to keep them fresh, because of the pace that we play and how many reps we’d like to play on offense. It doesn’t matter to me who catches it. I’m not worried about that. The guys that are catching it are the guys that are getting open and they are making plays Monday through Friday and earning that right to play on Saturday.
Wells is also asked about what has been so successful for the defense and led to their success:
Probably early in the down, early in the series, we’ve been getting TFLs getting the chains, and it changes your second down calls and you’re trying to get half the call and all of a sudden you’ve got teams in third and medium. And now Coach Patterson has the whole playbook and that’s probably not the spot you want third and medium to really more long. We’ve gotten teams in long.
We’ve done a great job getting off the field. Proud of our defense. I think they have given up two third down conversions — four to each game. I may be wrong. I’m not off too far, but again, no matter who the opponent is, that’s really good defense, and they have given our offense a chance to get in a rhythm and that’s what we need because the style of offense that we play.
Wells was asked earlier about facing an Arizona offense and the game potentially becoming a track meet:
Yeah, and I’m not scared to get in a track meet with them. Don’t get me wrong. We were talking about trying to play defense earlier. That’s what that was in relation to. Our defense doesn’t want to get into a track meet with them, nobody does. We don’t want to get into a track meet with anybody, and then we’re certainly going to face similar teams in the Big 12.
There may be a day that we’re struggling on defense and we will have to match serve for serve and we will have to out-score somebody and then the reality is, that game, we’re going to have to win on special teams and there may be a game this week, maybe down the road where we don’t play as well on offense, and we are going to need win 24-21 and going to have to win the game on defense and have something on special teams that wins the game for us in special teams and I think that’s something as you build a team and a program that you’re aware of, we talk about, and we’re going to start preparing for.
Wells is asked about how well prepared is the team to play on the road:
By Friday, we’ll be as well prepared as we can be. I think so much of it is your mental preparation and your investment throughout the week. We’ve got to choose victory. I mean, we’ve got to choose Victor every day and what we need, how we sleep, what we put in our body, how we talk, everything, the investment, the practice, today, having the best Monday practice of the year.
It’s the best opponent we’ve played all year. It will be the hardest environment because it’s our first game on the road, certainly know that. I’ve been in that stadium and that crowd’s loud. Been in there at a Bowl game, as an opposing coach on the other sidelines, yeah, it will be the biggest challenge we’ve had all year.
And also asked about how the team prepares for the travel:
We’ll wear the same travel gear. The biggest thing I think with the road game a couple things different, but I think the biggest thing for our players and young kids in general is try to keep it as the same and as routine as you can, even though you’re in a different environment and there’s — it’s a different stadium and the colors are different and it’s not your own locker room and you understand that, but you try to do things to get them comfortable with it as soon as you can, and you have to understand, you’re winning the game Monday through Friday.
You have to earn the right to win and you have to do that during the week. It will be a great environment. It’s a really good opponent and staff that we respect and a very good — it will be a very, very good college football game.
I don’t have time to really get into the two players, but you can check out Douglas Coleman, III, and Madison Akamnonu.
Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson held court for 8 minutes of so, which is a really good amount of time. I’m going to link to some stories on Patterson, but what didn’t make those was his idea that there’s no such thing as “adversity” on the football field. There are highs and lows, but not adversity. Adversity is the special spectator, who is a child who is usually facing some sort of life-threatening disease or is special needs, and Patterson emphasizes that’s adversity. Patterson also mentioned that you can’t get hung up on the last play, no matter if it’s good or bad.
Patterson also talks about the signs that head basketball coach Chris Beard holds up during timeouts, and so you can expect to see some of those during the game this weekend. Patterson mentioned, “Let the big dogs eat.”
RedRaiderSports’ Billy Watson has some takeaways from Patterson’s media availability and Patterson says that it probably starts with the Arizona running backs:
“I would say it starts with their running backs,” Patterson said. “They have three running backs I think that are explosive. Everything is off their run game, so you have to stop their run game. You have to be very discipline. It’s almost like playing assignments, triple-option football really with all the RPO’s (run-pass options) and the run game. If you allow them to get the run game going, then that’s going to set up all the vertical shots. So, if we can make them one-dimensional and try to force the ball out of those running backs and out of Khalil’s hands and try to keep them contained when he does try to throw it, it’s easier said than done, but I think we’ll have a good plan to try to contain him.”
A-J Media’s Don Williams focuses a bit on special teams in a notebook, but at the end, Don sticks a note about alcohol sales, which as of right now, Texas Tech has sold $130,093 and $95,000 for the first two games and Texas Tech receives 43% of the revenue from the first $800,000 in sales, so the take thus far is $97,000.
A-J Media’s Don Williams also writes about what it will be like to tackle Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate:
“Play with 12? Canadian rules?” Tech defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. “He’s just one of those one-of-a-kind special athletes. If he was playing football back in the ’80s, he’d been probably at Nebraska running and playing I-formation tailback.
“He’s just an incredible athlete. He just has a knack, almost like a sixth sense. He can feel when the pressure’s closing in on him, and he does a nice job eluding pressure.”