How Texas Tech Dominated the Red Zone Against Houston
The Texas Tech Red Raiders were a bad offensive football team in the red zone last season, and they only scored on 69 percent of their possessions. Sure, the field goal kicking was a huge problem in 2017, but there are only field goal attempts when you can't get it in the end zone.
Against Houston, Texas Tech was in the red zone seven times, and scored seven touchdowns. It's a team effort that gets it executed on the field, but I want to highlight Kliff Kingsbury here because the play-calling was outstanding in a place where he has struggled in the past.
First, let's take a look at the Antione Wesley touchdown on the fade.
This is a play action beauty from QB Alan Bowman, who puts it right on the money, but it's an even better route from Antione Wesley who runs the slant fade to perfection. When I saw the route, I knew I had seen Kliff talk about it somewhere. Then I remembered the behind-the-scenes video that Texas Tech Athletics put out on YouTube, and sure enough:
This is a great look into how coaching can pay off if you execute what you're coached to do. A perfect route from Wesley because he was coached to run the route perfectly.
Let's stay on this play concept, but go to the two touchdowns that T.J. Vasher caught.
Here's the first touchdown from Vasher. Bowman stands tall, with no pressure, and delivers a strike with patience in the pocket. Beautiful. It's also similar route to the one he ran on the backside of the Wesley touchdown.
The second Vasher touchdown is even better. It's the same route we just from Vasher, again, and the same play from the first Wesley touchdown we talked about. The previous play (not included), Bowman tried to hit Wesley and overthrew him. Kingsbury then brings Bowman to the sidelines and tells him to look off the safety and throw to Vasher.
Kinsgbury calls the same play, and Bowman executes:
Let's check back into that fall camp video:
It's not a sprint, but it's the same concept. Look to the fade throw to Vasher. Money execution from a true freshman quarterback.
It wasn't all Bowman in the red zone, though. Texas Tech also found a dangerous running back in Ta'Zhawn Henry.
Here's his first touchdown of the day out of a tackle over formation with a tight end, a receiver in close and a second running back doing some lead blocking:
I don't remember much tackle over in the playbook last season. It's also toward the short side of the field, which is by design to get more blockers on fewer defenders. Good blocking and a phenomenal effort by Henry. New Offensive Coordinator Kevin Johns and Kliff Kingsbury were just getting started, though.
Let's jump from the first drive to the third quarter, where Henry reads good blocking and follows it into the end zone. The highlights on this two-back set are Dawson Deaton, number 73, getting a crucial block in the second level, and Donta Thompson, number 11, blocking his guy from the 10-yard line into the end zone. Also, Henry is a fast, fast man.
For Henry's second touchdown, we return to the short side of the field. There's another two back set with Thompson in the backfield. The backside guard and tackle pull toward the play side, and Dawson Deaton flattens a poor defensive back, while Donta Thompson escorts Henry into the end zone. Terence Steele also gets a chip in the second level to provide extra room. It's worth noting again that Henry is fast.
Here is the seventh, and final, red zone touchdown for Texas Tech from the game against Houston. This might be my favorite play design of the day from any point on the field.
Here we can definitely see Kevin Johns' impact on the playbook if we hadn't already. The motion across by KeSean Carter is textbook Johns, and you have to respect the speed of Carter, who is arguably the fastest guy on the entire roster. The play design fools 10 out of 11 Houston Cougars, and Henry does the rest by himself.
The red zone offense was the highlight in a game full of highlights. Major props to Kliff Kingsbury and Kevin Johns for going 7-for-7 and closing out a wild game.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-1) take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, to open Big 12 play. The 1340 The Fan Countdown to Kickoff show starts that day at 3 p.m. Listen with the free 1340 The Fan app, online at our website or on the air at 1340 AM.
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