November 16, 2011

Bullitt talks mobile QB

Texas Tech football has struggled against the likes of Collin Klein, Jared Barnett and even Ryan Tannehill this season.

That's great news for Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost. The Tigers rely heavily on sophomore quarterback and Corinth, Texas, native James Franklin in the running game and in a mostly short passing game.

"He's a very good player," Tech strong safety Terrance Bullitt said. "What it's going to take is everyone doing their job. Everyone, on every play, will have to make plays. They're going to make plays. They're a good offense and he's going to make some throws and make some runs, but we may bend but we can't break."

Franklin is now first on the Tiger squad after Henry Josey's season-ending injury last week against Texas with 781 yards and 11 touchdowns on 162 rushing attempts. Franklin is a nickel and dime player though, his longest run this season is 26 yards.

He also has 2,381 yards passing and 16 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Franklin fits the Tiger offense as they dink and dunk down the field with zone reads, sweeps, options and a desire to pass underneath the coverage rather than vertically. So Franklin is really the essential piece.

Perhaps the best way to defend Franklin is to spy an athletic -- but also lumbering -- defender that can put a punishing hit on Franklin and make him think twice before roaming that way again.

That's where Bullitt can come into play, despite a painful dislocated shoulder.

"I'm playing through a little pain, but this is a tough, tough, tough game we play," Bullitt said. "Everyone's not 100 percent throughout the college football world. I've just got to suck it up and do whatever I can to lay it out for my teammates."

Bullitt could be central in defending Franklin this week and then Baylor's Robert Griffin in the regular season finale at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

"Usually I line up like seven yards off the ball," Bullitt said. "I'm kind of deep, but I can come up to make the play. I just try to be one of 11 and if all 11 of us do our job we'll get the job done and get the W."

At the same time, Bullitt said it's important not to get nervous around these mobile quarterbacks that have been so troublesome for the Red Raiders to contain this season.

Bullitt believes if Tech just makes its plays it should be a good day for the Red Raiders.

"I'm going to do what I do all season," Bullitt said. "I read pass and run first and then I just do my assignment on that play. If I have outside containment, I stay outside. Then my teammates are going to make the play inside."

But guys like Franklin and Griffin are gamers in their own rights. They're going to make plays on the other side of the ball.

"Usually you've just got to slow them down," Bullitt said. "You can't always stop players. If the play is really good, sometimes you've just got to contain them from the big plays. We won't give up big plays and every play is a new play."

Tech's defense has struggled all season. If it can contain Missouri, however, things should change for the better especially with a similar quarterback in Griffin next week.

"My confidence is high," Bullitt said. "I feel like we're going to be alright. You see a lot of guys outside this football facility with their heads down, but as a team we know what we have to do and we feel like we're going to get the job done."

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