4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TEXAS TECH DEFENSE
– All things considered, the defense did its job in the high-octane Big 12. The D wasn’t Alabama-good, but it wasn’t totally abysmal for Texas Tech, giving up 31 points and 449 yards per game. It starts in the interior with a solid tackle rotation of Broderick Washington, Nick McCann, and Joseph Wallace. All three are 300+ pounds and more than capable to gum up the works, but …
– Now the ends have to show up and get to the quarterback after the linebackers did most of the pass rushing work. Junior Eli Howard is a decent veteran, and Nelson Mbanasor is a promising 280-pound three-technique type.
– The linebackers will be good. Dakota Allen is gone, but the combination of Jordyn Brooks and Riko Jefferson should booming for well over 150 tackles again. They’re big, and they can get into the backfield – Brooks led the team in tackles for loss, and Jeffers was a half a TFL behind. There’s enough depth and enough options to go to a true 4-3 whenever defensive coordinator Keith Patterson wants.
– The secondary was able to hold up just fine, finishing second in the Big 12 pass efficiency defense while allowing a not-bad-for-the-Big-12 237 yards per game. The corners are set, but the safeties have to be replaced with Jah’Shawn Johnson and Vaughnte Dorsey done.
Former JUCO transfer Thomas Leggett got in a little work last season and will lock down one safety spot. Sophomore Adrian Frye is an ultra-athletic corner with all-star upside, and with Desmon Smith, DaMarcus Fields, and the versatile Douglas Coleman all working into the mix in a variety of ways.