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July 6, 2011
Glasgow building Texas Tech 'D' for long haul
"The enthusiasm, the energy," Davis said. "He told me he had big expectations for me and wants to take this team to another level. And we have a lot of potential with the new defenses. I was impressed."
Glasgow, 39, arrived in Lubbock before spring drills, ditching the 3-4 alignment that Tech had been running and installing the unconventional 4-2-5 scheme that he learned coaching safeties at TCU the past 10 seasons. It's a defense based on speed to contend with spread offenses, and it may be just what Texas Tech needs to become a consistent contender in the Big 12.
"We watch what other people do and how they do it," said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who will begin his second season in Lubbock after a 10-year run at Auburn. "What TCU is doing now, playing five defensive backs, is kind of what we did at Miami all of those years when I was working for Jimmy [Johnson] and Dennis [Erickson].
"I've kind of gone back and forth between a three-man front and a four-man front the past six, seven years, depending on the personnel. After being here at Texas Tech for a year, it would be a heck of a lot easier for us to play the teams in this conference with a four-man front and five DBs than with a three-man front."
The Big 12 is loaded with teams that run the spread or some variation
The 4-2-5 is a good weapon to combat spreads, and it also meshes well with a Tech roster that has quality depth at safety, headed by Davis, a junior who ranked 20th in the conference in tackles in 2010 en route to earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors.
"[Glasgow] is more interested in speed and flying around the ball," Davis said. "I think our defense will match up well [in the Big 12]. We have experience at safety, so we'll have more to help against the pass and on the run. It will really help slow offenses."
This is a Red Raiders defense that needs help after ranking last in the league (456.3 ypg) in total defense and last against the pass (293.8 ypg) in 2010 with the now-departed James Willis serving as coordinator. Despite those horrid numbers, Texas Tech still finished 8-5 and capped the season by outlasting Northwestern in the TicketCity Bowl.
"You pretty much have to play five and six d-backs every down in this league," Tuberville said. "Not very many teams run the ball first. Most people throw it first in this league. That's the opposite of what I was used to in the SEC.
"You have to be able to cover very good wide receivers, slot receivers. Everybody's got 'em. You have to match up with them. It's nothing but match-up defenses. Last year, even though we based out of a three-man front, we played five, six defensive backs almost every snap. This defense allows us to base out of it. We pretty much just have two linebackers on the field and five defensive backs, which is pretty much what they force you to play."
Glasgow had chances to leave TCU in the past. Schools from the Big 12, Big Ten and SEC courted him in recent years. But he knew he was in a good situation in Fort Worth. Plus, in the past year, Glasgow built a house and he became the father of twin boys. He looked to be in it for the long haul at TCU. But the situation at Texas Tech felt right, so Glasgow left.
Glasgow learned at the feet of a master at TCU in Gary Patterson, who has built one of the strongest programs in the nation. And Patterson has done it with defense.
"Chad Glasgow has been around success," Tuberville said. "Gary Patterson is a very good football coach, and I've been watching what they are doing, how they coach, how they play in big games. And their defense has always shown up. They have had one of the best defenses in the country the last 10 years."
In each of the past three seasons, the Horned Frogs have had the No. 1 total defense in the nation. Last year was the best yet for TCU, which capped a 13-0 campaign with a Rose Bowl triumph over Wisconsin.
"He was awesome to me," said Glasgow, who played linebacker at Oklahoma State from 1991-93. "We worked together a long time, at TCU [2001-10], New Mexico . One of the biggest deals is giving your kids a chance to be successful. That may mean that you have to change some things within your scheme.
"The last three years, we finished No. 1 in the nation in defense and every year we kind of had a different path or plan in how we did it. One year, we were a big man-blitz team, one year we were a zone-blitz team and one year we just basically played zone coverage. Being able to have those capabilities, to be multiple with our scheme and not leave kids on too many islands where they can't be successful, is one of the biggest things."
Still, schemes can't mask personnel deficiencies. Every coach knows that. And Tech's roster still has its challenges. While the talent and depth at safety is good, concerns remain along the line. Bolstering the roster will be a function of time.
"I think we are working toward it," Glasgow said. "We have to get better players and are in the process of doing that. The thing I like about the 4-2-5 is that you are going to play with a lot of leverage and it allows you to get more speed on the field. That's the direction we are pushing.
"I was really happy with how our kids grew in the 15 practices in the spring, and we have to get better … throughout the season."