Notes from Texas Tech football’s Monday press conferences

Red Raider Nation

Matt Wells, image by J. Davis

LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech is off to an 0-2 start in Big 12 play after another close loss, this time falling 31-21 to Kansas State in Manhattan.

Starting quarterback Alan Bowman left the game in the first quarter and was replaced by Henry Colombi. After a scoreless first half, the Utah State transfer led the Red Raiders on three straight touchdown drives.

“Henry impressed a lot of people in this complex. His teammates, his coaches, I’ve had confidence in him since the day I recruited Henry Colombi.” 

Matt Wells on quarterback Henry Colombi.

Unfortunately for Texas Tech, it wasn’t enough. The Red Raider defense allowed two huge plays in the fourth quarter, which helped net Kansas State 14 points, sealing the game for the Wildcats.

Monday, Texas Tech coaches and players met with the media to discuss the loss and the Red Raiders’ upcoming game at Iowa State. Here are some notes from what they had to say.

Quarterback Situation

Matt Wells did provide an update on Alan Bowman, saying that nothing is broken and Bowman is day-to-day with an ankle injury. We still do not know who will start for Texas Tech in Ames on Saturday.

Related Story: Matt Wells: Alan Bowman is day-to-day with ankle injury

Colombi made an impression while Bowman was out. He got into a rhythm in the second half, firing passes to several targets on three consecutive touchdown drives.

Wells also said that he and Yost did not change the gameplan for Colombi, allowing him to make checks at the line of scrimmage. Wells thought Colombi handled everything well.

Texas Tech quarterback Henry Colombi throws a pass during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

“Henry impressed a lot of people in this complex,” Wells said. “His teammates, his coaches, I’ve had confidence in him since the day I recruited Henry Colombi.” 

As for who will start next week, Wells said it will depend on Bowman’s health.

Riko Jeffers’ leadership

A new rule allows players to stay on the sideline after they’re ejected, and Jeffers took advantage of it. After he was ejected from Saturday’s game in the second quarter, the Fox broadcast showed him encouraging teammates on the sideline.

With Jordyn Brooks in the NFL, Jeffers has emerged as one of the team’s leaders.

“It’s been unbelievable, the transformation I’ve seen from Riko,” defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. “He’s exceeded my expectations in that (leadership) regard… Riko plays the game very hard and he’s smart, and now he’s doing an incredible job of keeping our guys poised no matter what the situation.”

Jeffers is now in his senior season, and his experience can help him bring along younger linebackers.

Jack Anderson emerging

“He’s played the best two games he’s played since he’s been a Texas Tech Red Raider. Ask him.”

Matt Wells on guard Jack Anderson

Xavier White piled up 113 rushing yards Saturday, and did much of his damage on runs up the middle.

That means the interior line was blocking well, and Wells pointed out right guard Jack Anderson as a someone who is particularly thriving.

“He’s played the best two games he’s played since he’s been a Texas Tech Red Raider,” Wells proclaimed. “Ask him.”

That kind of dominance can rub off on his position-mates as well. Right tackle Josh Burger believes that having Anderson next to him motivates him to be better.

“As a guy that plays next to him, you want to be able to play at a high level to complement his ability,” Burger said.

Changing the culture

It’s now Matt Wells’ second year at Texas Tech, and defensive lineman Tony Bradford is already noticing a difference in the team’s energy from last year.

“Our sideline is way different than what it was last year,” he said. “Last year when people used to score on us, we’ll all be fussing and pointing fingers and getting into it with coaches. It’s not even close to what it was last year. That’s just a shoutout to all the guys and the growth that we’ve made in this program.” 

Bradford, who is a team leader, said he can tell that players are more “locked in” this season, particularly off the field.

Stopping Iowa State

Iowa State is coming off an upset win of No. 18 Oklahoma last week, and the Cyclones are one of three Big 12 teams to start the conference season 2-0.

Iowa State’s offense presents several problems. Quarterback Brock Purdy threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns against the Red Raiders in Lubbock last year, and running back Breece Hall went for 256 total yards and two scores in that game.

Containing those two is challenging enough, but Iowa State also has a stable of gigantic tight ends, including Charlie Kolar. He caught two of Purdy’s touchdown passes against the Red Raiders last year.

Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar (88) catches a pass between Oklahoma linebacker DaShaun White (23) and defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles (44) during the first half an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

“Good gosh. They’ve got three of them that are 6’7″,” Wells said about the Cyclones tight end unit. “They present matchup and personnel challenges for every defense every single week.”

The Cyclones have scored 37 points in back-to-back weeks after dropping their opener to Louisiana. The Red Raider defense will have its hands full trying to slow them down.

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