In the Big 12, the defenses have “fought back” — thanks to a little help from each other, TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
It starts with West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson and his plan against Texas Tech. It has has held the Red Raiders to an average 28 points in four wins in four years.
“What he’s done to Tech, we copied a year ago against Tech, and then Iowa State copied it at the end of the year,” Patterson said Tuesday during his midweek press conference. “And now I’m watching Oklahoma against Texas, they copied it.”
TCU ranks eighth in the country in scoring defense. Iowa State is 20th, and Texas — which visits Amon G. Carter Stadium on Staurday night — is 34th.
To be sure, the Big 12 still has plenty of offense. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and West Virginia are all top-10 in scoring in the country. But games are also being won 14-7 (Iowa State over TCU), 13-10 (Oklahoma State over Texas), 31-24 (TCU over West Virginia) and 17-7 (Texas over Iowa State).
Basically, more league defenses are dropping eight into coverage, Patterson said.
“You have everybody that’s running basically a ‘double-cloud’ system out of a three-man rush,” Patterson said. “Then offenses will come up with an answer, and so on and so forth. But defensively, we’ve fought back a little bit.”
On his radio show Thursday night, Patterson added: “It kills me to line up with three rushers and drop eight, but we did that against Tech, and it about won us a ballgame. But that’s the new scheme.”
Texas did the same against Oklahoma State two weeks ago and held the Cowboys to 10 points in regulation. Can TCU expect more of the same from Texas this week?
Patterson may have already said too much.
“Last week, I said we were worried about the big wide receivers and that may have talked them into throwing jump balls,” he said of the Iowa State game. “So I’m just going to keep my mouth shut this week.”
No. 8 TCU vs. Texas
6:15 p.m. Saturday, ESPN