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Decoding Bellmont after a win in Lubbock

Matt Cotcher

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Charlie Strong: “ I said, told them before the game, ‘What team is it that shows up today? Is it going to be a team that plays with a lot of passion, a lot of confidence? A team that has a lot of pride and just understands what we gotta go get done?’ "

Reading between the lines â€“ A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the locker room speech. Several players mentioned Strong’s speech during post-game, so it’s pretty obvious that he made an impression. Knowing when to challenge someone as a motivational tool is a delicate situation and speaks to the bond Strong has with his players.


Quandre Diggs: "It was just a good hit. Came in, saw he was running, did what I was supposed to do to get my team fired up.”

Reading between the lines – Ho-hum…just another play. And one that changed the game.


Charlie Strong: "Quandre with that hit, I think that got us going because you know, to see him make that hit, it was really a good, clean hit.”

Reading between the lines – It was good to hear Strong acknowledge the play by Quandre and the impact it had on the team and the game. The easy road would have been to dismiss it as a ‘just a turnover’.


Kliff Kingsbury: I think he's [Tyrone Swoopes] much improved. I said it all week. I thought he threw some really nice passes, for the most part protected the ball, throwing it, had the one fumble, but took care of the football and made plays with his feet, and he's gotten a lot better.

Reading between the lines – It’s not that Kingsbury praised Swoopes, opposing coaches usually offer pleasantries in post-game, it’s how he did it, and how much he did it that made an impact. Not to mention that Kingsbury knows quarterback play.


Quandre Diggs: I give those guys a tough time all the time and Duke, he's racking up PBUs, and when you wrack up PBUs, that means your hands are terrible.

Reading between the lines – Seamless transition from deadpan about his hit to busting chops on his teammates. Diggs is a respected Senior and it shows.


John Harris: "Just the run game, when your run game -- when you're moving the ball on the ground like that, they can't load the box. They're going to have to respect the pass down the field and they're going to man you up one-on-one. When your run game’s running the ball, you have a rush over 100 yards, that means guys are in the box. That's putting receivers out there one-on-one and giving you the opportunities to make plays."

Reading between the lines – It’s instructive to hear Harris talk about how the offense is intended to run. This is the same concept that you’ve read on HornSports any number of times. Hearing a player validate the simplicity of the concept speaks to the way this coaching staff focuses on teaching fundamentals.


Charlie Strong (on the offense): “We always hurt ourselves. It's nothing anyone else does. It's what we do to ourselves. There is a drop, we don't convert on third down, or Tyrone just don't make the right check.”

Reading between the lines – I knew Strong would cite a lack of execution in his press conference. At this point, I am jaded and thinking it’s the forest and not a tree.


Micah Awe: “We're going to have a long off-season, but we're still in season right now, so we're going to move on to Oklahoma and do our best and make sure we have it here and here.”

Reading between the lines – Re-read that – a Texas Tech player is already thinking about the “long off-season”. My question is just how bad are things in Lubbock?


Quandre Diggs: I think we can all get better in each phase of the game, but we played a well-rounded game, and we got to get back to work this week.

Reading between the lines – This is included so fans don’t think it was all sunshine and rainbows after a win. None of the coaches or players seemed satisfied with the performance and when given the opportunity, most of them offered similar comments.


Charlie Strong (on using the I-formation): "Well, you look at the formation and everything that they gave to us on our offense; we wanted to be physical today. We knew that we needed to add another blocker in the game by adding a full back. We put Becker in the backfield, two tight ends, one tight end, but we wanted to give them a lot of different looks."

Reading between the lines – By now, you know this column is going to highlight the game-within-the-game. This quote shows you how variable the offense can be based on an opponent’s tendencies. After the team had success with the formation against Tech, it will be interesting to see if it is used in the final three games. 

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I like how Strong talks about the players, team and the game - straight talk.  No "the kids played hard, it was a physical game, give credit to Tech, I am proud of our team and this coaching staff..." kind of fluff.  I also like it he does not clap after a bad play or mistake by a player and encourage them - we'll get 'em on the next play - no.  For example Strong didn't clap he chewed Collett's ass for the penalty in the ou game.  Just my .02.

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