October 24, 2011

Tech must refocus for ISU

Texas Tech's first-year defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow has been on the opposing sideline for two-of-three of Oklahoma's home losses since 1999.

On Sept. 3, 2005, the then-TCU safeties coach was part of a team that shocked the college football landscape when it upset what was supposed to be a pretty good Oklahoma team. The moment was arguably the catalyst to TCU's progressive rise to football prominence culminating in a Rose Bowl Championship last season.

But the newly ranked TCU football team lost the very next week at SMU, committing four turnovers along the way. It was the lone loss of the season.

Tech hopes to avoid the same fate TCU did when it lines up against Iowa State -- a team that shocked the Red Raiders just last season.

"We can talk about it," head coach Tommy Tuberville said of Glasgow's team's failure after Oklahoma. "It's got to be engrained, players have to understand it. They've got to understand themselves of what they're getting into. Because now they've moved to a level where this team's coming in saying 'we've got to play perfect to beat a team that just beat one of the top ranked teams in the country.' As coaches, we just want to get them prepared, get them in the same routine that we're in, and hopefully they get that focus, because it's about players really getting other players focused.

"Coaches can't do it. We'll talk our head off about it, but one thing I want our players to do is understand themselves, because in the future they're going to have to keep doing the same thing."

Probably less talented than now-No. 10 Kansas State, Iowa State plays a similar brand of ball.

They have a pretty good defense and an offense that likes to kill the clock. Just like last year, Iowa State (3-4) will let the No. 19 Tech (5-2) kill themselves with mistakes if the Red Raiders so wish.

"I think they're pretty similar to like Kansas State," quarterback Seth Doege said. "They're very sound in what they do. They don't do a whole lot, but what they do, they're really good at. It's one of those games where the margin of error is very small. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot because they'll take advantage of it."


Kansas State beat Tech, in part, because the Red Raiders allowed a kickoff returned for a touchdown, two blocked field goals and three Doege interceptions. Texas A&M also capitalized on little mistakes like a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown.

Come to think of it, Iowa State beat the Red Raiders last year thanks to a plethora of Tech mistakes starting by giving up a 24-0 lead, then a late Detron Lewis fumble and an onside kick returned for a touchdown to seal it.

The Cyclones are hoping for the perfect storm; an overconfident Tech team overlooking them and some seemingly miniscule missed assignments.

So how do you prevent a third loss this season for the same reasons as the two already on the record?
A great starting point is to have a guy like receiver Alex Torres, who had three touchdown receptions against Oklahoma, tell the team that what he did this past Saturday won't matter come this Saturday.

"One thing coach (Neal) Brown says in and out of the locker room at the end of the game, and I think it fits so well with what he says, enjoy this one tonight and be ready to go tomorrow," Torres said. "When we lose, he said, let it hurt tonight, and be ready to forget it tomorrow. I think that's huge.

"So when we get that kind of recognition nationally and everything, it's nice. We definitely enjoy it that night and just kind of keep our mindset that the next couple of days we'll have to get it, and get ready for the next week."

Tech teams are often noted for losing to an opponent they shouldn't and then responding later in the season with a major upset win or vice-versa.

The team leaders hope the only thing that remains from the Oklahoma game is the memory that if the Red Raiders can execute a gameplan like they did at Oklahoma there are very few teams that can beat them.

Here comes the first opportunity to make good on the lesson, a game that snapped a 39-game home winning streak for the Sooners and propelled Tech into the ranking for the first time since 2009, count for something more than a small fond memory that never amounted to much more than a fun postgame week.

"If we prepare and put in the work each week and go out there and execute a game plan like we know how and everybody does their job then we can be a pretty good football team," Doege said.

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