October 18, 2011

Notebook: Tuesday's practice

No. 3 Oklahoma has great tradition and along with that comes great fan support.

Sooner fans attend football games very well, make a lot of noise and have made Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium an unwinnable environment since 2005. By some accounts, they're also mean fans.

"Their fans get into," Texas Tech right guard Deveric Gallington said. "They have great tradition so they always sell it out most of the time. They're always loud and it makes it kind of hard for us to hear and things. But we've harped on being loud (on the field) and things like that.

"They just have a good tradition down there and stick to that."

Gallington said Oklahoma's stadium was constructed in a way that fans are unusually close to the away team's sideline and that puts the players within earshot of rowdy hecklers.

"The crowd is right behind us and they try to talk a little smack," Gallington said. "You've got to block everything out when it's game time. But it doesn't affect us really."

The Red Raiders know these things all too well. Tech hasn't won at Oklahoma in more than a decade including embarrassing losses in 2008 and 2010.

It's a snowball effect. Oklahoma starts fast against Tech, the fans quickly follow and things can get rolling in a bad direction very quickly. A slow start against the Sooners isn't an option this week.

Seniors like Tramain Swindall will have to harp on the freshmen and other newcomers with an active role in the game to get focused quickly and not to let the crowd influence them.

"We'll tell them about the games and the atmosphere and what to expect," Swindall said. "I think they'll be fine. They've played quite a few games this year and it's just playing football really. Just blocking out the crowd and going out there and executing."

FIELD GOAL ISSUES

Tech spent a lot of time working on field goal protection after allowing Texas A&M to block one for a touchdown.

The Red Raiders spent even more time this week after allowing two consecutive field goals to be blocked by Kansas State.

"It's just been missed assignments by one of our guys," Gallington said. "We were supposed to go inside hand, outside hand, and he went both hands down and kind of let the guy shoot in. Both times. Just missed assignments."

The coaching staff desperately hopes they can get out of Norman with no blocked field goals along with better special teams play all around.

"After A&M we kind of harped on it," Gallington said. "Today we were harping on it a lot. SO we got a lot more reps. I don't think there will be any more problems with it… It's very aggravating to know that the field goals were a reason we lost the game.

"We just go forward and correct them and make sure it doesn't happen again.

FACING A NASCAR OFFENSE

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said Oklahoma's offense is even faster than the Red Raiders'.

That's a scary thought considering how run down some Big 12 defenses have looked against Tech's offense which averages more than 86 plays per game.

To combat the Oklahoma offense, the Red Raiders have been working on getting set quicker on defense.

"It's not really more intense than it is any other week but it's just faster," linebacker Daniel Cobb said. "They like to NASCAR it a lot. Out of all the teams we've played so far, they have well over 30 plays ran more than any of these teams. We have to prepare faster, get calls in faster, line up faster and play."

Cobb said working against the Red Raider offense week in and week out has helped in preparation.

"Their NASCAR is basically just like ours," Cobb said. "There's not a lot different about it. Our offense goes fast in practice so we've practiced against NASCAR especially in spring ball and stuff like that.

"We see it all the time, but now we have to play it in a game."

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