College Confidential

Texas Tech coach says defense needs more confidence

Two weeks into the season, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury once again has a team that is all over the map statistically heading into Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech in Lubbock (6 p.m., FSN).

In quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Red Raiders (1-1) feature the FBS national leader in passing yards (1,023) and total offense (562 yards per game). But Tech ranks last among Big 12 teams in total defense (511 yards per game) and scoring defense (42.5 avg.), placing the Raiders among the nation’s bottom 11 defenses in both categories.

Kingsbury said he expects the defensive numbers to improve after last week’s 68-55 loss to Arizona State in which Sun Devils’ running back Kalen Ballage tied an NCAA record by scoring eight touchdowns.

Asked Monday about the team’s primary defensive issue, Kingsbury said: “Just confidence. We would have had stops on four of their first five drives to start the game (after an apparent fumble recovery) if not for a roughing-the-passer call. But they kept the ball and things snowballed from there. As a group, we didn’t look good Saturday night. But it will get better.”

Kingsbury said the defensive struggles impacted Mahomes’ approach late in the game.

“A couple of times in the fourth quarter, he was still trying to make the 14-point pass, instead of just taking what’s there. And those passes don’t exist,” Kingsbury said. “We’re still trying to get that completely out of his game. I think he’ll be fine. But he did press a on a couple of throws late in the game.”

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch