April 25, 2006

Red Raiders no longer defined by offense alone

Under head coach Mike Leach, the Texas Tech Red Raider football program has been known for possessing a postmodern offense that cannot be deciphered by opposing units and an antediluvian defense whose playbook is haltingly chiseled on stone tablets. Given the outcome of recently-concluded spring drills, however, that is all about to change.

During these workouts the defense clearly had the upper hand on the offense, and now heads into summer practices with a full head of steam and confidence galore. Thus, for the first time since Leach arrived in Lubbock, the Red Raider defense may be the unit upon which Tech hangs its hat. My how things have changed since the days when, literally, the Red Raiders fielded the best offense in the country and the worst defense.

The conviction that the Tech defense has turned the corner and is now poised to occupy the lofty position once held by the offense is not held by humble reporters alone. Members of the Red Raider defense also share this sentiment. And they can point to sundry reasons for the amazing transformation. But to a man, they point to the work that defensive coordinator, Lyle Setencich has put in, and are fully aware of the steady improvement seen during has tenure at Tech. Indeed, for the Red Raider defenders, the steady upward arc is an inevitable continuum of improvement that is destined to continue; great and greater defense is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"We've come from - like when Coach Set first came - a hundred and whatever in the nation to thirty. We just keep moving up each year he's been here. So I wouldn't be surprised if we'll be one of the tops in the nation this year. You know, top five, top ten, or whatever," stated senior linebacker, Kellen Tillman.

Safety, Anthony Hines echoes the refrain, "Every year under Coach Setencich every defense has gotten better. And hopefully we're gonna do that every year, just keep getting better, our defense will keep climbing higher. This year we may be #15; next year we'll want to be top ten."

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