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Behind Enemy Lines - Conversation With VTM

Viva The Mattadors, the SB Nation Texas Tech site, let me borrow Ryan Smith for a little bit to find out a little bit more about this Tech team that seems to be struggling lately.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

1) Great offense, really. However, the defense has been sort of bad. What's your summary/reasons why that's happened? Is it something that could be fixed this week against an on-again, off-again OSU team?

I don't know if it can be fixed this week, but it can be improved upon. The list of reasons why our defense is struggling so much is too long for this post haha. But it starts in 2010. The good news is, Kingsbury has the right people on staff now and has two strong defensively stacked recruiting classes to build on going forward. If the defense plays like they did against Arkansas... we have a good chance of winning. If not... well... yeah.

2) What's going on? Against KU, the offense didn't look as explosive as it did against TCU and against OU, well, it didn't look good. How and why has it digressed the last few weeks?

Good question! We initially thought we just got caught looking ahead to OU in Norman. The game against OU says differently. Mahomes doesn't look right and still doesn't seem to trust his left knee and getting through his throws and our receivers are having a hard time separating with both KU and OU playing more press coverage. I look for OSU to do the same thing. With all the questions surrounding our defense, offense shouldn't have any. It has to work and we look for a rebound this week. The last time Tech played at home they put up 66 points. Here's to some home cooking.

3) What makes Pat Mahomes so good? Is it him and his talent or is it more the system?

A bit of both. Tech has always been a plug and play type of offense. We like Webb as well, but Mahomes just brings an ability to make something out of nothing. Where there would normally be a sack, he can turn it into a TD from anywhere on the field. At least... he did 3 weeks ago.

4) Poor defense or not, there has to be some talent on that side of the ball. Who are the guys we should watch out for? 

There is a lot of talent. They just don't play as a unit. I'll stick with some young Kingsbury recruits in true freshman Jah'Shawn Johnson at safety and true sophmore Nigel Bethel at corner. Both are having good years and Johnson maybe newcomer of the year on defense. Big things for both going forward.

5) Not completely football related but a lot of Stillwater folk were excited about the game being a mid-afternoon one and not a night one. How different is Lubbock in the day vs. at night? Is it really that different?

And yet completely the opposite reaction in Lubbock haha. I don't know if its different crowd wise but it does have a different feel to it. Blackout with black jerseys against a night sky is a little more intimidating than during the day. We used to get a lot of night games and this year, we haven't had one. That and a bye week... haha We desperately need a bye week!!

6) It's all on our minds. The Wreck'em Tech stuff. It honestly was a giant gesture and very appreciated on our side, but I don't think it'll be completely followed. Not because the fan base is bad, but because it's a lot to ask of a lot of people, and I'm not sure it's that big of a deal. To me, and a lot of OSU folk, it seems we are more grateful for the gesture and not the actual action. What are you at VTM views? 

We had a big write up trying to encourage fans not to use the phrase on social media. In person it might be difficult, just because its in our fight song. Our hope is that those at the stadium see it as an escape and that if they do hear it they know its about football not the tragedy last weekend. I think just keeping it off of social media and in using it outside of the fight song will be good. If nothing else to show that there is more important things than football. As a dad with a 2 year old, my heart broke hearing that a 2 year old lost their life on Saturday, so it won't be any problem for me to refrain from doing.

7) What does OSU need to do to win this game? 

Run the ball. Tech's strength on D is in the passing game. Tech got back into the game last week against OU when they got away from the run game and started to pass it. Tech forced turnovers on back to back drives, both on passing plays and what was a 21-3 lead became 21-17 in about 3 minutes. OSU needs to control the line of scrimmage and run. Even if its not there early, keep running to wear us down. Zone reads with Walsh will be key as we struggle with over-pursuing.

8) What is your prediction?

I still think Tech wins 38-28.  A lower score I know. But I think its more of the streak than anything. OSU hasn't lost since 2008 and that has to end. I think Mahomes finds his form and the D does just enough to get the upset.