After outscoring opponents 102-16, one could conceive Texas Tech head football coach Tommy Tuberville might be pleased with the productivity his players have shown on the field to begin the 2012 season.
But, the head coach said the team has much room for improvement this week and next week before they begin Big 12 conference play.
Tuberville said the first step will be focusing on improving the little things this week.
“We’re to the point where we have to know we’re going to take more baby steps than giant leaps in a lot of areas,” he said. “The baby steps being focus, understanding that the only way we’re going to get better now is technique.
“There are some rough areas of technique in the game that we’ve got to get better at.”
Smoothing out those rough areas will likely be a point the Red Raiders emphasize Saturday when they host New Mexico (1-1, 0-0) at 6 p.m. at Jones AT&T Stadium.
‘Chain gang’ building confidence
The change to defensive coordinator Art Kaufman has proven to be an early success. According to USA Today, the Red Raiders defense is ranked fourth nationally in total defense.
Tech’s defense allowed only one touchdown during their first two games and are keeping opponents to an average of 177 yards per game compared to the 334 yards the team averaged through their first two games last season.
Safety Cody Davis said Kaufman has changed the entire attitude of the defense and it is beginning to show on the field.
“The single most biggest improvement we’ve made is confidence in the defense,” he said. “We’re going out there, having fun, flying around. The results are coming so we’ve just got to improve and keep that up.”
Doege getting into a groove
Quarterback Seth Doege took advantage of his arsenal of weaponry this past weekend and was rewarded as the offensive player of the week for his performance. He threw for 319 yards on 25 completions and connected with four different receivers for touchdowns.
The most difficult decision for Doege, Tuberville said, is making adjustments to the vast amount of receivers that the offense now possesses.
“We have four receiver positions, and we have three guys in each one of those and they’re all different sizes,” Tuberville said. “They’re all different quickness and speeds, so he’s got to know who he’s throwing to. But he’s done very well with that the first two games that we’ve been in.”
Doege will face a New Mexico defense that surrendered 285 passing yards along with three touchdowns last week in their 45-0 loss to Texas.
Red Raiders show depth at the skill positions
Last season, the Red Raiders were constantly plagued with injuries. This year, however, Tech has established depth at both the running back and receiver positions.
That newfound depth has challenged the players – the receivers specifically to compete not only on Saturday, but also throughout the week in practice because playing time is no longer guaranteed.
“To play receiver for us,” Tuberville said. “We have the ability now to say you’ve got to be full speed, ready to go, practice every day with the depth that we have. That’s the beauty of starting to build depth is (building) competition.”
The depth at the running back position has also proven to be a large contribution to the Red Raider offense.
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said he plans to continue rotating the running backs until the Red Raiders enter Big 12 conference play.