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October 27, 2006

Week 9 Q&A: TBS analyst Charles Davis

The competition for Lone Star State supremacy will continue this week, with Texas heading to Lubbock to face Texas Tech.

The Longhorns' only loss this season came to Ohio State, but they needed a late field-goal to beat Nebraska last week. Meanwhile, Texas Tech's offensive numbers haven't been as impressive as in years past.

TBS college football analyst Charles Davis joined Rivals.com for his weekly question and answer session to discuss the game in Lubbock as well as Missouri's clash with Oklahoma, Washington State's surprise season and Miami's chance at Georgia Tech.

Davis will be a part of the team covering Texas at Texas Tech at 7 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

Week 9 Q&A with TBS Analyst Charles Davis
1. After giving up a few big plays last week against Nebraska, how does Texas' secondary match up this week against Texas Tech?
"It is a big test because of what Tech does. The defensive backs in a lot of ways are only as good as what you've got up front. What they've got up front is considerable despite the loss of Derek Lokey, their defensive tackle. If Texas can get the heat on Graham Harrell and make him throw the ball earlier than he wants to and put him on his back a couple of times, which will help the secondary in a big way. But the secondary has to do a better job of not giving up big plays, staying deep and not biting on play-action fakes and giving them the big shot downfield. If they do that they should be OK. It will be tough. The last time Texas was this beat up on defense, they came to Lubbock and got beat in 2002."
2. Why has Texas Tech (three points vs. TCU, six points vs. Colorado) struggled at times this year on offense?
"You look at the games they've lost, and it has been because of turnover problems. In two of the last three weeks, Graham Harrell had a combined nine turnovers himself against Missouri and Colorado. They lost those two games and won the one last week against Iowa State when he had none. I know it's not that simple, but that's the first place you look. They have the normal growing pains of a new quarterback, and especially a sophomore quarterback. In that quarterback lineage from Kliff Kingsbury to B.J. Symons to Sonny Cumbie to Cody Hodges, Kingsbury was the last sophomore to play. It's starting to happen for them. This is a great opportunity for Tech's offense to string together back-to-back good games. They'll have to if they hope to compete with Texas."
3. How big is Missouri's loss of defensive end Brian Smith and how does that play into the Tigers' game this week against Oklahoma?
"He's a big loss. He's a big-time pass rusher, but Oklahoma will want to run the ball more. His forte was rushing the passer. They will miss his energy and his senior leadership. I think this going to be more of a rock 'em, sock 'em run-type game with Oklahoma trying to bash a little bit. Paul Thompson can throw it, but they didn't want him to throw it all that much with Peterson. I don't think they're going to open it up without him. They feel like Allen Patrick can carry the load. Oklahoma's first priority is to run the football."
4. To what do you credit Washington State's turnaround? The Cougars are 5-3 and have a shot at winning nine games despite losing Jerome Harrison and getting spotty play from Jason Hill.
"You just look at the defensive side of the football. Robb Akey, the defensive coordinator, always does a good job but he's getting great pressure from his defensive ends - especially Mkristo Bruce. They wreak a little havoc. They have some very intelligent and good linebackers led by Scott Davis. They make plays in the run game and the passing game. The secondary has been solid. Tyron Brackenridge had to work his way back from academics and is having a very good season. Overall, the defense deserves a lot of credit and Alex Brink has played very well this year. People question his big-game abilities, but I saw him play against USC and I thought he played pretty well in that game. Overall, it's a solid program that's having a good year. Bill Doba and his staff deserve a lot of credit."
5. Can Georgia Tech still beat Miami if Calvin Johnson has a similar game as he did against Clemson when he did not catch a pass?
"Yes, because Miami is not that good right now by Miami standards. They have some work to do. Would Georgia Tech be better served by Calvin Johnson catching a lot of passes? Of course. Overall, they have to have everything clicking. They have to find Calvin Johnson, but the other guys have to step up, too. I'm sure they tried to find ways to get the ball to Calvin Johnson against Clemson. For whatever reason, no one else gave them opportunities to make other plays. They can do it without Calvin Johnson going crazy because I think Georgia Tech has a better team based on what we've seen thus far. They beat Miami last year, and don't think Miami doesn't remember that. Here's Miami's chance to turn the tables this year."



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