Tech will do just that. The Red Raiders will still try to mix and disguise coverages and put pressure on Smith from different places, but that's not the main focus of the defensive game plan. Instead, those will be elements of a game plan that relies on good fundamental defense.
"That poses problems,'' Holgorsen said. "It poses problems when you don't know what they're going to do [as was the case in most of the first five games] and that aggravates you from a game-plan standpoint. Now we know what they're going to do from a game-plan standpoint, but it's just hard to execute against them.''
That's not typical for a Texas Tech defense. The Red Raiders for years have attempted to shore up things on that side of the ball with different schemes and coordinators. Not much worked. During much of the time that Tech has been known for its high-powered offenses - including the eight years Holgorsen was there as an assistant under Mike Leach - it was also either defensively average or inept. Only once in the past 10 years has Tech ranked higher than 45th in the nation in total defense. In each of the last two years the Red Raiders were No. 114 out of 120.
Holgorsen faced some of those bad defenses while he was working at Houston and Oklahoma State the three years before he came to West Virginia.
"The difference now [as opposed to] two or three years ago is now they're sound and they play hard,'' Holgorsen said. "When I was at Oklahoma State and went there they weren't sound and they didn't play hard.''
As a result, the last offense Holgorsen took to Lubbock - in 2010 at OSU - rolled up 581 yards.
This is a different defense, though, and in truth what Oklahoma did to that Texas Tech defense last week wasn't all that bad. Holding Oklahoma to "only'' 381 yards of total offense was 100 yards less than the Sooners' average. And while OU scored 41 points, two of the scoring drives were 25 and 32 yards (both ending in field goals) and one touchdown came on an intercepted pass.
The ultimate test, however, comes Saturday against a West Virginia offense that has yet to be held to what Texas Tech surrenders per game (210 yards) even by halftime (WVU is averaging 320 yards in its five first halves to date, with a low of 213 against Maryland).
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville knows that.
"This,'' Tuberville said, "is about as good as it gets.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.