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October 28, 2013

Tech hopes to limit mistakes



Video footage courtesy of FOX 34.

The sun rose Sunday and then again today.

But Kliff Kingsbury said it didn't take much time to get over a loss that in all likelihood cost the Red Raiders their outside track toward the National Championship. The Big 12 Championship is still very much in play, so the focus becomes fixing mistakes that cost Texas Tech in Saturday's 38-30 loss against Oklahoma for a grudge match back home against No. 18 Oklahoma State.

"Twenty-four hours and then I'm good," the head coach, with just one loss ever in the position, said. "There's so much to play for and, like I said, there's a lot out in front of us if we approach it the right way."

The players arrived back at the football training facility with "98" plastered all over the place. That's the combined margin of victory the Cowboys have beaten Tech by the past two seasons.

Oklahoma State games can get nasty if a defense can't stop them. For the past two years, the Red Raiders haven't come close.

"That's all over the locker room right now and kind of the approach we're having," tight end Jace Amaro said. "We're going to have to take it from them. I feel like they feel like they've had our number the last two seasons. It's a new season, a new coaching staff and a new team. I feel like we're going to go in there like we've have been the whole season and be ready to play."

Tech had chances to win the Oklahoma game both early and late. Separation between the Sooners and Red Raiders came in large part by way of three turnovers.

Kingsbury said Davis Webb's first quarter interception was a result of being too fired up. He should not have targeted Bradley Marquez on the outside and instead progressed to another receiver.

Webb's second interception came on a tipped pass a bit too tall for Eric Ward to catch. It was tipped by Ward upward and picked off.

Both are relatively easy fixes. It's as simple as telling Webb to concentrate more.

Amaro fumbled, but there's not much the coaches want to do on that one. He was fighting for extra yardage and co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie said Oklahoma made a great play.

Defensively, the Sooners were able to chew up Tech's run defense while the unit didn't capitalize on the few errant passes Blake Bell threw to them.

"We had some gap issues and had some guys get knocked off the ball," defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said. "Had to mix it up a little bit. They were giving us the unbalanced, '21' personnel. We tried to keep the box loaded early in the game with a nine-man front and got hit with the home run early."

Oklahoma State's offense more closely resembles Tech's, and it plays a similar up-tempo offense with an emphasis on the passing game. It's not a team that can beat a Big 12 defense by exclusively relying on the run.

It's not in the same family as Oklahoma's offense which now ranks 16th nationally in the run game.

Kingsbury credits Dana Holgorssen for what he brought to the Pokes from Tech and Houston. This week's opponent isn't as unbalanced as Tech has been, but it ranks 36th nationally in passing offense and 66th in the run game.

"We're pretty familiar with that, and they're familiar with what we do," Kingsbury said. "They're used to scoring points. They do a great job coaching their receivers, quarterbacks, their O line, so it will be a huge challenge."

The funny thing about No. 15 Tech is, at 7-1, it hasn't played a clean game yet.

Between turnovers and special teams gaffes, there's still a lot to look forward to if those aspects join a defense that's pretty good even with Dartwan Bush doubtful this week.

"Coach is always saying it's a marathon, not a sprint," Branden Jackson said. "So we knew we were facing adversity one way or another. This one happened to come as a loss. We're ready to bounce back. There are smiles in the locker room and we're ready to move forward. No one is dwelling. No one's head is down. We fought hard and we're just looking forward to doing it better Saturday."



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