Texas Tech Football Notebook: Coaches Discuss Longhorns

Longhorn week is here.

Head coach Matt Wells and both coordinators, Sonny Cumbie and Keith Patterson, met with the media yesterday. This is a summary of those pressers (again, a late soccer practice means that there’s no time for a non-transcript). Interesting as to the familiarity with the players, Wells and Cumbie saying that their familiarity with Texas is really based on knowing their personnel, with Wells also saying that he’s got a bit of experience going against the defensive coordinator who was at Boise State when Wells was at Utah State.

Head coach Matt Wells:

  • Fewer missed tackles is a huge thing internally to reduce the missed tackles and yards after contact and reduced that year after year. A game like this will be prevalent, that usually ends up being chunk yards.
  • Very high percentage of scores for Casey Thompson, try to make the guys around you better. Bijan Robinson had a lot to do with getting the ball in the end zone.
  • I think every week is a benchmark and see what we did well and where we struggled. This would be a big win, there’s a lot of feelings around Lubbock with this game. Belief in ourselves in this building.
  • This will be the best defensive front that we face. Very good linebackers. It will be imperative to run the ball on the road and need to run the ball on the road to win and protecting Tyler Shough.
  • The biggest value of Sonny Cumbie is that he’s played against Texas for quite a while and there’s player knowledge, but there are two brand new schemes. We played against him at Utah State and new schemes on offense and special teams. Conference knowledge is player or personnel driven, not schematic driven.
  • Have not changed in methods and techniques and how often we practice tackling. That varies between spring and fall practice, our practices are physical in-season but do rest them appropriately. Coach Scholz and I are in tune to that. Get them fresh to the game and we do a good job of that. Have to practice physical as this will be a physical game.
  • Be great to continue playing Texas for all of the businesses and rivalries.
  • The first two games we found a way to finish. More experienced in those games, putting players in those positions to give them confidence in those games.
  • 6 and 8 are good receivers, they are fast and have length and good red zone targets. Four is a stud and is on special teams and guess he’s fun to coach.
  • Time of possession is only important if you have the lead in the last 4 minutes of the game. Time of possession vs. points scored, I’ll take points scored. We’ll play fast and with tempo, it is what you do with the end of the drive.
  • Price at FIU is a good back and he was a focal point last week, he compares to a lot of backs in this league.
  • There is a different feel for a Big 12 game, but the first game was a good road test with what you have to do. We’re taking a veteran team to Austin and they’ve played a lot of football. When you take that first experience on the road, it’s not their first game either.

Offensive Coordinator Sonny Cumbie:

  • Very active up front. They’ve been there a long time. Very disruptive and good linebackers. Really sound with what they do.
  • The mentality and mindset is different, have a tough road on Saturday.
  • We’ve competed against them every year, you have an idea as to what a guy’s strengths are. Just try to figure out what you are doing and attack them.
  • Playing more plays helped all of us, we were finally able to get first downs and Shough finding those guys and he did a good job distributing the ball and he’s thrown a really good deep ball. He’s going to have to be very accurate and stingy with decision-making.
  • Hopefully SaRoderick Thompson will amp up as we get up to conference. Tahj Brooks and Xavier White have done a great job.
  • I think Coach Smith has done a great job in that room. SaRoderick has seen what those guys have done, I think all of those guys have a good head about them. Want to keep all 3 of those guys involved.
  • The tight ends are so big and they are a mismatch, it is a comfort level with the quarterbacks, they just aren’t ever covered, but a guy like Mason Tharp is open because he’s big. They create space.
  • The way we practice, as we improve we go good-on-good, have to improve on pass-blocking and run-blocking.
  • Maturity and intelligence for Mason, doesn’t get rattled. Physically he was able to get strength.
  • Joey Hawkins was here, he was 6’9″ and Jace Amaro was tall. [Cumbie asks Don Williams who he thought was the best tight end and Don went with Amaro.]
  • Kaylon Geiger graded out the best, Erik Ezukanma graded out well. Trey Cleveland and Loic Fouonji really practiced well and they didn’t blink when they got in the game.
  • Trey and Loic are young guys, I think that experience from last year has gotten them better and consistency.

Defensive Coordinator Keith Patterson:

  • He’s tough and has good balance, is a jump-cutter, have to swarm and gang tackle him and population around the ball carrier.
  • He has the ability to extend plays and keep the ball alive and let receivers get open. He has a confidence in the game. When he does play, he operates with a lot of confidence.
  • Confidence is game-to-game, I like where we are mentally. Guys are confident in the system and ability to make plays. In 2010, we had 36 turnovers, 2018 had 33 turnovers. Can’t gauge anything from last year. Just being ball-conscious more than anything.
  • They are a play-action and take the top off the roof with deep post routes, cross country climbs, like to throw the ball out of the backfield, they still look like Texas and have good players.
  • Up front we are bigger and more physical, got bigger and stronger. When you look at us, we don’t look that big, but we are powerful up front. More physical up front.
  • Nelson Mbanasor is to be consistent, he goes in spurts, just develop consistency has been the biggest challenge. Stacking those plays one after another. Told him that everyone deserves a second chance, he came back and bought in and became bigger and stronger.

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