Texas Tech interim defensive coordinator Mike Smith on Monday upped the rhetoric and hard feelings toward former defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt, saying the Red Raiders’ defensive signals have been given away to Tech opponents since some point after Wallerstedt left the staff on Sept. 18.
“They have,” Smith said. “They have been passed around. ... I know other coaches have called and our signals have been passed around the whole time. All I know is karma’s a bad deal.
“I don’t want to get into what’s going on with all that, but it’s not right and, to me, it’s not fair to the kids. So if that’s how that person wants to handle business, they can handle business that way. I sure hope I don’t run into him anytime soon.”
The Red Raiders’ belief that their defensive tactics have been compromised first came to light during Saturday’s 42-30 loss to Oklahoma. The entire game, three staff members held towels around the defensive play caller to shield signals from Sooners coaches in the press box.
Asked about it after the game, Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said the signals had been “passed around” and it stemmed from “the situation we had earlier in the year.”
Wallerstedt resigned after the Red Raiders’ third game this season. He reached a settlement in which Tech agreed to give him six months’ pay for just less than two years remaining on his three-year contract.
A source said the person to whom Smith was alluding and the situation to which Kingsbury referred was Wallerstedt and his resignation.
Smith said the Tech staff became aware something was amiss “two or three weeks ago.”
“That person knows. I know,” Smith said. “A lot of people know. Bad deal. Karma’s a bad deal. You don’t mess with that, especially in this profession.”
Gaines West, an attorney for Wallerstedt in College Station, called the allegations false and released a statement he said Wallerstedt authorized.
“I have not shared with anyone the Red Raiders defensive signals,” Wallerstedt said in a statement West sent to A-J Media. “I respect the players at Texas Tech and would never do such a thing.
“It sounds like something that’s done in the political arena — blaming someone else for what you now control. Coach Kingsbury and Smith would do well to simply execute their own game plan instead of trying to blame others for what may be their own shortcomings.”
West wrote in the email that his client “would not stand idly by and allow such unfounded attacks to continue.”
He said Wallerstedt will not comment further “as he is busy at his new job.”
Austin American-Statesman reporter Brian Davis posted on Twitter later Monday that Texas was the first school to call Kingsbury and let him know another team had obtained Red Raiders signals.
Tech defense has continued a years-long trend of weak defense. This season, of 125 FBS teams, Tech ranks No. 123 in scoring defense, allowing 41.6 points per game. The Red Raiders are No. 120 against the run (259.4 yards per game), No. 92 against the pass (244.2) and No. 119 in total defense (503.6).
Wallerstedt was the Red Raiders’ defensive coordinator for 16 games, starting with the 2013 season. Wallerstedt was hired by Louisiana-Lafayette as a defensive consultant and then became outside linebackers coach after another assistant left the staff.
Tech has allowed 11 individual 100-yard rushing performances in 10 games this season, including two apiece by Arkansas, West Virginia, TCU and Oklahoma.
Asked to what extent he believed the Red Raiders had been affected, Smith said, “I think it affects you. I hate having excuses. I won’t have excuses, but when somebody knows when you’re in a certain coverage every time, so I’m sitting there thinking, ‘How the heck are they attacking our corners?’ ‘How do they know we’re not in quarter-quarter-halves?’ ‘How do they know we’re not in cover two?’
“I mean, it’s ridiculous. I just thought we’re having a string of bad luck.”
Kingsbury hired Wallerstedt as defensive coordinator and Smith as co-defensive coordinator when he took over before the 2013 season.
Smith seemed to be seething about the subject except for inserting one bit of levity.
“Yeah, it does affect you. I’d love to know if I was on (defense), if it was a run or a pass every time. I’d like to have somebody tell me on the headset, ‘Hey, they’re going to run it here.’ Even though I did know that against OU — still couldn’t stop them with eight in the box,” Smith said, smiling.
“But I tell you what, it helps. It’s a bad deal. I do believe in karma, and I believe stuff like that will come back and haunt you.
“Would we be better on defense? I don’t know. But there’s some stuff that you go back and question.”
Asked how many games he believed had been affected, Smith said, “It’s been a lot.”
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