November 2, 2011

Flannel will step up at SS

Strong safety Terrance Bullitt went down with a sickening thud last Saturday and it was immediately apparent he reaggravated, and perhaps further injured, a pretty bad looking separated shoulder injury he sustained midway through fall camp.

Bullitt won't play this week and is out indefinitely, but his absence in the lineup makes a sport for Jared Flannel in his final handful of games as a Red Raider. Games Flannel wants to make count and become a big factor in.

"It's unfortunate that 'T' went down, but like they told us a long time ago 'you always prepare as a starter,'" Flannel said. "You're always one play away from stepping up and contributing to the team. When he went down I knew I'd have to step up and make plays."

Flannel has mostly been a special teams player for Tech during his three playing years. Recruited out of Brazoria (Texas) Columbia High as a running back, Flannel quickly made a transition to the defensive side of the ball and has played a variety of positions while waiting out a situation like this.

Finally, he's going to get a shot and it comes during a game that could potentially help redefine the Red Raiders' season. The opportunity comes at one of the trickiest positions in the 4-2-5 defense.

"It's a little tough, but I'm used to it by now," Flannel said. "I've been going through it for some months now. Just have to stay on top of your game and you've got to communicate. Those are the big things. If you know how to communicate, know what you're doing and know your job it's pretty simple.

"Just come out hard, play fast from the get-go on all defense, special teams and offense wise Just come out fast and let Texas know we're here to play."

The Tech defense will try to rebound from an awful performance against Iowa State and a game where the Red Raiders could get nothing going on either side of the ball. Flannel wasn't a very big part of the early struggles when the Red Raiders had an opportunity to set a tone but he hopes he gets the opportunity this Saturday.

"You just come back," Flannel said. "It's another opportunity, another week. You put that in the past and learn from it. You've got to come out here with the mindset of staying hungry. It was a devastating loss, they outplayed us. You've got to learn from it and we've done that. That's behind us and everything is about Texas now.

"Erase that away, don't forget about it, we need to remember it but the attitude is good now and we just need to play again."

Flannel and the rest of the Red Raider defense are going to see a pretty unique Texas offense for the first time.

The Longhorns have brought in new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, a key contributor to the modern Boise State offense, to redefine their offense after 12 seasons under Greg Davis. Harsin loves trick plays and confusing, unconventional formations.

Tech spent time this summer reviewing Boise State film and tried to teach some of the principles of defending against that type of offense. About 15 minutes are devoted each day this week to prepare for Harsin's unconventional wrinkles.

There's also the task of preparing for two quarterbacks in David Ash and Case McCoy.

Flannel said he trusts the coaching staff as much as they trust him to get the job done this weekend in earning a second signature road victory this season.

"They run a lot of different personnel groups," Flannel said. "I guess it's a little hard to get a feel for them right off the bat. It's tough, but we've got some good coaches around here who always put us in the best positions to go out and play, play fast and play relaxed. We're breaking their offense down and we'll be in good positions Saturday. We have what we need to get this done."

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