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Tech assistant Smith lashes out at former defensive coordinator Wallerstedt

Interim DC: 'You don't mess with that in this profession'

Posted: November 17, 2014 - 2:11pm  |  Updated: November 18, 2014 - 12:59am
Texas Tech's defensive signals could have been compromised for several games this season.  Zach Long / A-J Media
Zach Long / A-J Media
Texas Tech's defensive signals could have been compromised for several games this season.
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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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good luck in the future

I wouldn't want to be Wallerstedt right now.


Change the signals?

Why don't we change our signals if the other team has them? Can't Coach Smith come up with something that he can remember? This is crazy to let a situation go uncorrected.



I too am puzzled. In business it is fairly standard procedure to change locks and passwords as appropriate after a disgruntled employee is dismissed. It seems odd TTU would not have done the same, and really odd the coaches did not do so once they suspected something was going wrong.


Signals are like passwords

Sounds like somebody got lazy on the defensive side and didn't do their job, now they're whining. We are all prompted to change passwords on things, signals should be the same. Anybody watching game film can tell which signals are for which coverage. Rotating signals will solve the issue with a minimal whining. Suck it up and get back to the basics, like learning how to tackle.


Misleading headline

Smith didn't mention Wallerstedt by name as the headline implies. Poorly done A-J.


What a joke! Shae on Kingsbury and Smith

Really? I now have one foot off the Kliff Kingsbury bandwagon. The Defense was pretty good by TT standards in Year 1 of Wallerstedt regime as DC...especially the bowl game. The D has stunk all year, getting worse not better under Smith. How stupid are Kingsbury and Smith? Why not be proactive and change the Defensive signals if yu knew there was bad blood associated with Wallerstedt's dismissal? Truth be known, I seriously doubt Wallerstedt gave away the Defensive signals. But if he did, Kingsbury and Smith are even bigger idiots than Wallerstedt for not changing the darn signals. Looks like Kliff and Smith are feeling some heat in the midst of a disaster season so they try to blame Wallerstedt if you ask me.



Maybe Tech football needs Lubbockite Jerry Gray. Let's see he played high school and college football on defense and pro football on defense and even coached NFL defense


Signals are not like passwords

If you actually think it's as easy to change signals in the middle of a season as it is to change a password, you are an idiot and have never coached kids.


As usual, so-called Tech fans turn on the football team coaches

I am personally really tired of all the negative comments regarding the football program. It seems there are plenty of people who love to jump on their conclusion mat and throw unfavorable opinions of our program with ease. I can't help but think that not only do these comments impact the coaching staff, but also the players themselves. I feel bad for these kids. I have literally grown up in Jones Stadium and have been through all the good and not so good seasons since the early 60s. All of you so-called football experts should walk a mile in the coaches and player's shoes and experience their feelings of disappointment and hurt. Win or lose, I will always be behind Tech as any TRUE fan should be.


Thanks Bulldog and Dirksdaughter

For standing up for our staff and players. Wish there were more like you that understand the game and are willing to voice your opinion. We will right the ship. Sooner than later and the naysayers will jump on board like they were with us all along.


another one

Does Tech really need another lawsuit right now??

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