ASU football revs up tempo in preparation for Texas Tech

The Sun Devils are eager to square up with Patrick Mahomes and the Red Raiders

ASU football's defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has seen a lot in his rise to becoming one of the most influential college football minds in the country.

So forgive Patterson for saying that Texas Tech junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes isn't going to cause him to lose any sleep this week.

"Our whole defense is designed to play spread and uptempo offenses, so there's not much that's gonna keep me awake," Patterson said.

Mahomes stands at 6-foot-3, weighs 230 pounds, and releases the ball in a second and a half — which means he can throw about six passes in the time that you've read this sentence.

"He has an uncanny ability to get outside of the pocket," Patterson said. "He's very athletic ... He kind of plays football like Magic Johnson played point guard."

The Texas Tech offense, like many spread offenses, is designed to set up the run game by throwing the ball out to both sidelines and forcing the defense to account for receivers on the outside, which opens up the tackle box to provide lanes for running backs.

Back when Patterson and ASU head coach Todd Graham ran the defense at Tulsa, they faced a dynamic prototype of the famous Texas Tech air raid offense, led by a Red Raider alumnus.

"They probably run and execute screens as well as anybody in the country," Patterson said. "That's going back as far as our days against Houston with (current West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen) and (Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury)."

On the other side of the ball, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey knows that the same benefits the ASU defense reaps from playing against his uptempo offense apply to Kingsbury at Texas Tech.

"They're used to going against tempo," Lindsey said. "(Defensive coordinator David Gibbs) does a great job. I know him from growing up in the South, and when I was at Auburn. I've got a lot of respect for them, even at the highest level, we're going to have to execute and play well and score some points."

From a player standpoint, no one on the ASU roster has faced the Red Raiders more recently than senior defensive back Bryson Echols, a transfer from the Texas Longhorns.

"Their offense was quick," Echols said of the 2014 matchup in which he made seven tackles and forced a fumble at cornerback in a 34-13 win. "That offense looked good – it was a good game, and Mahomes has a cannon. He's smart, he can run and they're well coached."


Reach the reporter at smodrich@asu.edu or follow @StefanJModrich on Twitter.

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