Another road game, but yet another opportunity to prove our merits within the Big 12. I caught up with Jeramey Gillilan (@JerameyDane on Twitter) of Viva the Matadors to preview tomorrow’s game.
Jared Larson: Texas Tech is and likely always will be an air raid offense until the end of time, who makes it click?
Jeramey Gillilan: While our identity has been built off of the success of the air-raid, I think it’s fair to point out the successes of our run game. It’s no 50-50 split but it’s a lot closer than Texas Tech fans are used to, and there’s a lot of good film where Tech has picked up key downs with our running backs.
Something that makes this offense click is our commitment to the RPO scheme. I’ll get into the importance of Duffey in the next question, but outside of him our running back Sarodorick Thompson has been a big surprise in the backfield. He’s got five touchdowns on the year and is averaging over 5 yards. Then moving to the wideouts we have a clear star in T.J. Vasher, who is sure-handed and 6’6 to boot. Outside of him other receivers to pay attention to are R.J. Turner and Erik Ezukanma - these two have been big yardage players for us this year and I don’t expect that to change.
I know Iowa State is pretty much Tight End U now, but Texas Tech has a TE of our own! Donta Thompson has only been targeted 15 times this season but it’s been 15 big time catches so I expect he’ll need to be on for this one, too.
Jar Lar: Jett Duffey can truly turn on the jets, how much do you expect his dual threat capabilities to shine tomorrow morning?
JG: Ah, Jett Duffey. He’s been a lot better than people expected from his performances last season. This is also a QB that was fourth on the depth chart behind a Rice transfer - imagine that. There’s basically two scenarios that could play out. We might get Oklahoma State game Duffey where he has zero turnovers and is running/passing way above his supposed-ceiling. Alternatively, we could get Baylor Duffey that had a couple of turnovers and didn’t convert a number of red zone trips.
Here’s the good news for Texas Tech fans: Duffey is a sucker for momentum and the home-field advantage. While Iowa State has the conference’s best rush defense I think Duffey’s ability to create chaos with his feet will give us a chance to open up the run game.
Jar Lar: Speaking of Tech quarterbacks, is Alan Bowman likely to return this season?
JG: I presume so! His clavicle fracture has him out, more than likely, until the middle of November. But he hasn’t redshirted or anything like that despite having the ability so I expect he’ll want to come back especially for the Texas game.
Better question is - will Duffey solidify his place as QB1 by then?
Jar Lar: The Red Raiders have an experienced defense, who are some players that we’ll hear flying around on the D?
JG: It’s really cool to have two of our defensive players make multiple mid-season All-America teams. Deservedly so! Iowa State fans will know our defensive back Douglas Coleman III (leading the nation in interceptions) and linebacker Jordyn Brooks (leading the Big 12 in tackles) before the end of it. There also may be a frequent calling of some of our defensive linemen, Broderick Washington, Nelson Mbanasor, and Eli Howard. One name that may be in the mix is our defensive back Adrian Frye - who was out with injury but seems to be back and ready to go.
Jar Lar: What game in series history resonates most with your confidence this weekend from 52-0 in 1967 to 10-66 in 2016?
JG: I think as a stance on overall confidence I’m going with last year. Sure, the result wasn’t what Texas Tech fans had hoped for but last year in Ames was certainly a battle until the very end. I see it shaking out very similar this year in the LBK. Iowa State is a very good team with a couple of losses that just as easily could have been wins. Likewise I think Texas Tech is a team that has surprised a number of pundits for how well we’ve performed in spite of Bowman’s injury. As they say, “saddle up.”
Finally, corn or flour tortillas?
JG: Levi Stevenson and I had a good discussion about this on our interview podcast; each has their utility. If you’re making a burrito or a taco that has an unreasonable amount of stuff in it: flour tortilla absolutely. If you’re eating street tacos or any variant where there’s not that much in it: corn tortilla for sure.
BUT BECAUSE PEACEFUL NEGOTIATIONS ARE BUPKIS THIS WEEK, FLOUR FOREVER BABY! The Guinness Book of World Record’s very own record holder for longest tortilla toss at 54 feet 5 inches (!!!!), David Rush, did so with a flour tortilla. You think corn tortillas could hold up to that gravitational scrutiny?! No sir! Ditch weak corn tortillas and get yourself a tortilla that can keep up.
Well, thanks for the corn tortilla shade there Jeramey, I’ll have you know I held a sign that shared “corn tortillas > flour tortillas” during the 66-10 game. Be sure to check on Jeramey on social and corn tortillas up!