Wed Sep 05 12:58pm EDT
Was last Saturday more about Houston or more about Texas State?
TM: "It was, truthfully, it was more about what Texas State did. Houston is not the same Houston team as it was last year. Case Keenum is gone, Kevin Sumlin is gone, most of their strong receivers are gone. But a lot of it had to do with Texas State. The Bobcats came out with a gameplan on both sides of the ball. They used that spread option the best that I've seen yet under (Dennis) Franchione here. They were able to push Houston around on the line. They controlled the ball for about 42 minutes, that's unheard of. Back in 2010, when these two teams last played, Houston only needed a minute or two minutes to score and that's because they put points on the board. Now, they just went three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out. It was just a ridiculous thing to watch because you're just waiting for Houston to start picking it up, but they didn't and Texas State the proverbial foot on their throat. (UH) was 1-for-13 on third downs, made life miserable for (David) Piland, they were able to knock down about seven passes. The secondary is the strength, and that's why they switched to the 4-2-5. Marcus Curry, he looks head and shoulders above what I ever saw him do last year."
What did the Bobcats do defensively that caused UH so much trouble?
TM: "They didn't really get much pressure on the guy. Losing Michael Ebbitt last year, who had 11.5 sacks, kind of hurts. In order to get more pressure, they moved linebacker Joplo Bartu to defensive end and he had a few good pressures but he didn't get a sack. Chase Harper, actually, the Mackey Award watch list tight end for Texas State was playing defensive end and actually got a sack in the game; he comes in on third downs, plays about 10-15 snaps per game. What they truly did was make sure that his receivers were covered. It's quite simple. They got out there and made sure they were blanketed and made sure, whenever the ball was near, to be physical with the Houston receivers since they were young. I don't expect that the same thing to work against Tech because they're more experienced. They were just physical. They were able to knock the balls down and Piland got frustrated. He started trying to force balls in there."
What is the biggest difference between this year's Texas State team and the one Texas Tech played last year?
TM: "They're more physical and they're better at controlling the ball. When I say that, I don't mean Fran's offense, I mean not fumbling it as much. Fumbles killed them last year against Tech, they had four in the second half. That allowed Tech to turn that thing from a 10-9 game into a 50-10 rout. Throughout the spring and fall, I believe Texas State had five or six scrimmages and they only turned the ball over once via fumble. They know how to control the ball. They've been working hard on it. And second, as I said, they're more physical. This is a team that made Houston look like children. They just kind of dominated Houston. They pushed them around on both sides of the ball."
What's the build up to this game been like in San Marcos?
TM: "Before the Houston game, a lot of people were wondering if this thing was going to sell out. Texas State hasn't really marketed this game well. They put a bunch of those... what do you call those... garage sale-type signs in the ground around San Marcos. 'Buy your FBS tickets, Tech's coming to town' or something. They thought that word of mouth was going to get it going. They sold probably about 26-27,000 tickets with two weeks to go before the season. Then you had this game against Houston and, I called yesterday, they've sold close to 29,500. They're going to pack 32,000 in that stadium on Saturday."
What do the Bobcats need to do to win the game?
TM: "They need to not turn the ball over. They need to do their best to control the clock like they did against Houston. And somehow, some way they need to create turnovers and make Seth Doege's job a lot more difficult. Make him look like David Piland. I know that's going to be very, very difficult to do. I know that Doege is much more experienced and he has a year in the Big 12 under his belt, and this year many expect big things out of him. But if they can rattle his cage a little bit and make sure that his throws are contested, make sure they're physical with the receivers -- like I said, that's going to be a tough thing to do -- if you can do that, get Doege off of rhythm, get the receivers to maybe question going across the middle, Texas State might be able to pull this off. Truthfully, I don't think that they will. It will be an interesting game. It will be a lot closer than last year."