Defensive overhaul underway in Lubbock

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Defensive back LaRon Moore said he “never” blitzed as a cornerback in Texas Tech’s old defensive system.

After just two practices with his new coaches, he’d learned five different blitzes.

Some of that comes from playing multiple positions in the new system. But most of it is deliberate, a departure from what Moore called a “bend-and-don’t-break” defensive mentality a season ago.

“We’re going to dictate to them what they’re going to do,” Moore said. “We’re not going to sit back and let them just run whatever they want. We’re going to dictate the tempo. We want them to prepare for us like they prepare for our offense.”

While the Red Raiders offense acclimates to a similar approach this spring, the defense has been forced to learn a new, aggressive 3-4 scheme bent on stopping the run and disrupting opposing offense’s flow.

“Their heads got to be spinning [with] what all we’re doing,” coach Tommy Tuberville said.

Said Moore: “I can’t just know corner. One play I’m at corner, the next play I’m at dime, the next I’m blitzing, the next play I’m back at corner. I’ve just got to know the whole defense and know what we want to accomplish on every single play that we run.”

Doing that in just a week of spring practices isn’t very likely, though Moore led the Red Raiders with seven tackles in Saturday’s scrimmage, the first of the spring session. The new 3-4 scheme is predicated on flushing everything to the sideline, which means plenty of tackles for defensive backs like Moore.

But it also means a steep learning curve for the linebackers, before and after the snap.

“In this defense, the linebackers have to make all the checks. Depending on formation, if the formation changes, they have to get everybody lined up,” Tuberville said. “It’s a very complex defense.”

Linebackers, like the versatile Moore, have to learn the entire defense as well, so the feeling of complete comfort might still be on its way.

“We’ve got to be patient,” Tuberville said.