The Wolf Diamonds 3-2-1: Shimonek added to award list, Holgo talks Tech D
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Shimonek lands spot on Manning Award list
On Thursday, Texas Tech QB Nic Shimonek added his name to another watch list, as he is now a contender for the Manning Award, the annual honor given to the nation’s top passer. He is also up for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Shimonek has thrown for 1,811 yards and 14 touchdowns going into Saturday’s matchup against the West Virginia Mountaineers. He is also the first QB since 2013 to lead the Red Raiders to the top 25 in the AP Poll.
Parker rises from walk-on to playmaker
This past Tuesday, the media heard from one of Texas Tech’s top playmakers on the year in DB Justus Parker.
Parker’s drive and motivation has led him from a walk-on to one of the brighter spots on the defensive side of the ball. He is responsible for two turnovers, including a scoop and score against Kansas in Texas Tech’s 65-19 win in Lawrence this past weekend.
Parker will likely see more playing time with DB Douglas Coleman dealing with an ankle injury and listed as day-to-day.
Holgorsen respects Texas Tech defense
During this past Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference, West Virginia Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen went on record and said he has seen how much the Red Raider defense has improved.
Tech goes into Morgantown on Saturday knowing that WVU embarassed them at home a year ago, including with their ground attack. However, Holgorsen said it was only a matter of time until the David Gibbs led Red Raider defense morphed into a threat like they have in 2017.
“That’s quite evident when you turn the video on and look at it,” Holgorsen said. “They’re playing a lot better. Clearly, a lot better. Which is not surprising. We’ve got a lot of respect for coach (David) Gibbs and what he’s accomplished in his career. We knew it was only a matter of time before he got those guys right. He’s doing a great job of creating turnovers and playing with a lot of energy. They’re lining up the right way and got a lot more depth. Clearly, they’re a lot better than they have been in the last couple of years, which is not surprising to us.”
Can the Texas Tech running back committee get the job done on the ground?
The answer to this question lies on the hands of the West Virginia defense, of course. We’ve seen the Red Raiders find some footing while pounding the ball with RBs Justin Stockton and Desmond Nisby. Both had big games against Kansas and are certainly hoping to find similar success in Morgantown this weekend.
The Mountaineer defense hasn’t been that good against the run this year, either. They have allowed 1,047 rushing yards on 207 opposing rushing attempts so far this year, coming out to a 5.19 yards per carry average, the second worst allowed in the Big 12 behind Baylor. Both teams have played Kansas, and while the Red Raiders held the Jayhawks to 112 yards and 3.39 yards per carry, West Virginia gave up an eye popping 367 yards to a tune of 7.34 yards a carry. Does that mean much for what this Tech offense will be able to do on the ground against WVU? Not definitively, but it does mean that Tech should have a chance to move the ball on the ground.
Will the Red Raiders continue their struggle against the Mountaineers?
The Red Raiders have not defeated the Mountaineers since 2013. Not even Patrick Mahomes defeated West Virginia in his career. In order for that to change, the balance on offense needs to be present, but so does the emphasis of every man doing his job on defense.
The West Virginia offense has talented guys on its side from RB Justin Crawford to QB Will Grier. If the Red Raiders can contain them and exploit the rushing defense of West Virginia, then the Red Raiders should leave Morgantown with a victory.
Texas Tech will force another two turnovers this week
Something this defense has shown this year is that it has a knack for creating turnovers. There hasn’t been one game where the Red Raiders failed to come up with the ball at least once on defense. There’s only been two games this year where the Red Raiders failed to get more than one.
I expect the defense to come out against the Mountaineers and create a fumble and an interception. I would even go on a limb that the names Tony Jones, Dakota Allen, and/or Justus Parker will be somewhere near the ball when that happens.