Cody Davis says his play on Saturday wasn’t as perfect as it might have looked. Never mind the Texas Tech safety was named Big 12 Conference defensive player of the week.
The media panel who voted him that honor was more forgiving than the game tape.
“It’s funny. I actually got one of the worst grades of this year as far as grading out,” Davis said. “That was due to some of my calls that I wasn’t used to, a few things we did different against West Virginia.”
Davis was credited with 13 solo tackles and two pass breakups in the 49-14 home win against the Mountaineers. His missed assignments came when he moved down from safety to linebacker. Normally in that circumstance, he’s asked to play containment as an outside linebacker. A couple of times Saturday, he was supposed to fill a gap as an inside linebacker.
“I wasn’t quite used to that,” he said, “and fit that up wrong a couple of times.”
Maybe it’s just as well. If Davis has a perfect game in him this season, one team he’d like to spend it on is this week’s opponent, TCU. Horned Frogs safeties coach Chad Glasgow was the Tech defensive coordinator last year, when the Red Raiders finished No. 114 in total defense. Players felt the heat, from Glasgow’s intensity and fan ridicule.
Tech and TCU both are 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12 Conference. They square off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, with Tech seeking its first victory in Fort Worth since 1992.
When Davis was asked Monday if he’d have a post-game chat with Glasgow, he said, “I don’t know if there will be a conversation, but it’s definitely motivating to go up against him, just (based on) last year and how bad it was. We want to show him that this year is a new year and a new defense.
“We’re going to come out ready to prove something, like we are every week. We’re ready to show we have a defense this year and come out and play well against him.”
The defensive players have embraced Glasgow’s replacement, Art Kaufman, who has them No. 4 in total defense halfway through this season. Glasgow’s coaching style was louder and more animated than Kaufman’s. It didn’t mesh with players.
In April, after spring workouts were done, cornerback Cornelius Douglas said the practices were more fun under the new defensive staff, with veteran defensive backs coach John Lovett also one of the key additions.
“I’m not going to say yelling isn’t good,” Douglas said at the time, “but you get too much of it. It’s hard to understand what’s going on if (a player’s) got somebody down your back. I’m not going to say these coaches here don’t yell, but they try to teach you, let you know what’s going on.
“They’re really cool dudes, real cool coaches. Something about them, maybe because they’re just old school, you respect them, too. You know they’re going to teach you the things you need to know to do what you have to do.”
Glasgow made a bizarre departure after one season at Tech. He cleaned out his office on Dec. 19 and finalized a separation agreement with the university on Dec. 28, denying to Tech officials in between that he had resigned. As part of the agreement, Tech paid Glasgow $100,000, one-fourth of what he would have made in 2012.
Davis chuckled and paused when asked if there were hard feelings toward Glasgow.
“I don’t have anything against him as a person,” he said, “but as a coach I didn’t particularly like him. That’s all there is to that.”
Davis’ partner on the back line, senior safety D.J. Johnson, also acknowledged that defensive players feel extra motivation this week.
“Based off our record last year, a lot of people assume that we weren’t able to do things — that we just weren’t that team that could prove ourselves,” Johnson said. “So we’ll go out this week like we’ve done every week and prove ourselves. We want to show that we do have the skill set, we do have the assets, we do have the players and the capability of going out there and being a contending team.”
Defensively, the Red Raiders have done well across the board, ranking No. 4 against the pass, No. 12 against the run and No. 17 in scoring defense. They didn’t fall too far, even after giving up 380 yards in a 41-20 loss to Oklahoma and 408 yards to West Virginia.
The yardage totals were Oklahoma’s lowest of the season and West Virginia’s second-lowest.
It’s taken a variety of players pitching in. Whereas Davis won the Big 12 defensive player of the week award, coaches determined he wasn’t even the best defensive player on his team last week. They gave that distinction to nickel back Tre Porter, who held Mountaineers playmaker Tavon Austin under a double-digit catch total for the first time this year and under 100 receiving yards for the second time.
“He had a great game,” Davis said of Porter. “He had one of the hardest jobs on the field. We put him in a lot of tough coverages to play the best receiver one on one. Even in zone, we would have him pretty much manned up with help around him, but he locked (Austin) down good and graded out well and made some huge tackles for us.”
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