After the Texas Tech football team’s first game of the season, fans and opposing teams got a glimpse of the Red Raiders’ new fast-paced offense.
In the Red Raiders’ game against Montana State, sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman managed the offense, pulling off 95 total plays in 30:41, averaging a play every 19.38 seconds, according to Tech Athletics. With the fast-paced offense, the Red Raiders also averaged 7.3 yards per play.
With Tech’s offense moving faster than it has in the previous years, Bowman said he thinks the offense could play at a faster pace as the team aims to get the ball snapped about 30 seconds on the clock.
“When we went fast, tempo-wise, we were pretty good,” offensive coordinator David Yost said. “We were averaging about 28 seconds on the clock when we snapped it and that’s kind of on the low side of what we want, but it’s not far off. Normally, 29 (seconds on the clock) is kind of on the high side.”
After Tech’s first game of the season, Yost said the offense did not get to show off the other side of its speed where the Red Raiders can align and not snap the ball.
“We didn’t get to do as much of that the other day because we were subbing at a little higher rate than I’m used to and we talked about that,” Yost said. “We need every guy to play one more play in a row or two more plays in a row.”
Yost wants the offensive players to stay in the game for more plays, as he said it would help the Red Raiders by preventing the defense from substituting gassed players.
The Tech offense understands that their fast-pace will tire out opposing teams’ defenses and want to be known as Tap Them Out TTU, Bowman said.
“We call it ‘Tap Them Out TTU,’ so that’s kind of our offensive motto,” Bowman said. “So, if anybody falls down for a cramp or taps their helmet, that’s when we get all excited and kind of we want to go so fast where they can’t even stand up anymore.”
While the Red Raiders moved fast, sophomore offensive lineman Casey Verhulst said the offense is used to up-tempo play.
“Another credit to the strength staff, we’re conditioned really well,” Verhulst said. “Obviously, we practice really hard and you can see it on the field, we’re just ready to ball out and play. The tempo just feels normal to us now and it’ll just keep getting faster and faster.”
Tech’s up-tempo offense proved to be effective against Montana State, but Verhulst said the fast pace practices helped the Red Raiders’ defense stay conditioned as well.
“We run tempo against our defense so of course, they got to go through it too,” Verhulst said. “I think they might be the most conditioned defense in the United States. It’s really exciting to be a part of. These guys are much like our offensive line. They’re big, fast, strong and they’ve gone with the tempo too.”
As Tech’s offense and defense practice against each other, Bowman said the Red Raiders’ defense is used to the speed of the offense, which will prepare them for other faced-paced offenses.
“I think the defense is most prepared against us than anybody else will be in the nation,” Bowman said. “I think them having to align quickly to our offense kind of gives them extra time in a game to be like ‘Oh wow, we actually have some time to kind of communicate and figure out what’s going on and our calls and our cues.’”
While opposing teams can watch film to prepare for Tech’s fast style of play, Bowman said it will be hard for teams to scout and replicate the Red Raiders’ speed.
Tech’s next opponent, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), has scouted the Red Raiders and the first thing head coach Dana Dimel said was how fast the offense is.
“(Tech’s offense) is as fast as we’ve gone up against. Every 18 seconds, they run a play, so they are snapping the ball,” Dimel said. “Their offensive linemen are sprinting up to the line of scrimmage and then running the next play. Like I said, it is as fast as I have seen.”
The Red Raiders are set to play UTEP at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium, as Tech looks to add another win to its 1-0 record this season.
“We want to play fast, we want to be physical up front, we want to continue to put the pedal down,” Tech’s head coach Matt Wells said. “And I think as soon as you can see your opponent tired and tapping his helmet and needing a break, I think it gives you a little bit more internal motivation as an offensive player.”