TCU cornerback Kevin White might not have known he was in for a long day last Saturday, but Seth Doege and his receivers certainly did.
Doege this week, in providing a post-mortem of a 56-53 victory in Fort Worth, said Texas Tech discovered something during game-film study last week that led the team to believe it could create several mismatches against the 5-foot-10 Horned Frog defensive back.
The Red Raiders did just that. Outside receivers Eric Ward and Darrin Moore combined to catch 11 passes for 124 yards and four touchdowns. Not all of those grabs came against White, but a number of the plays were made against the overmatched sophomore, including three of the touchdown catches.
“We saw a weakness and we attacked them every time we had a go route called,” Doege said.
White is not the first opponent this season to struggle against the likes of Ward and Moore, two receivers whose size and strength has become a valuable asset in Tech’s pass-heavy offense.
While certain aspects of Tech’s attack are predicated on quick throws and timing routes, Ward (6-foot, 204 pounds) and Moore (6-foot-4, 216), afford Doege the ability to stretch the field. It also gives him the freedom to take chances, knowing that if his big receivers aren’t able to come down with the ball at its highest point, the defender won’t, either.
“My job is easy,” Doege said. “Just don’t overthrow them. Just give them a chance to go get the ball. When they’re physical like that and they’re big, clearly they can go up there and get a ball. Even if they’re covered, and then it’s their job to kind of secure it.”
Moore and Ward have caught eight touchdowns apiece this season, a chunk of those coming on physical fade routes in the corner of the end zone that require them to use their body to box out a defender, similar to a power forward attempting to secure a rebound.
Doege lauded other receivers, including Tyson Williams, Marcus Kennard, Jace Amaro and Alex Torres, for also using their strength to make his job easier.
“It gives me some ability to kind of put a different kind of placement on the ball,” Doege said, “and just allow them to make a play on it.”
No. 4 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0 in Big 12) which hosts the No. 15 Red Raiders (6-1, 3-1) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, boasts the league’s fourth-best pass defense, surrendering 226 yards per game — a number that has dropped to 208 yards during Big 12 games.
Senior cornerback Allen Chapman and junior safety Ty Zimmerman (four interceptions) lead the way in the secondary, and they will shoulder responsibility in helping defend Tech’s prolific passing attack, the Big 12’s second-best at about 362 yards per game.
Zimmerman arrived at Kansas State during his freshman season as a quarterback, but his move to safety has paid big dividends for the Wildcats this season.
“He obviously has a very good mind for the game,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said, “as far as knowing what is going on around him and what he and his unit are trying to accomplish. He just plays extremely hard and makes plays.”
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