One of the hardest game situations to simulate in practice is what we've all come to know as "sudden change" situations. Duplicating the mindset of your defensive group after having to take the field with their backs to the wall after the offense coughs the ball up is nearly impossible to simulate during practice.
The Red Raiders, who have traditionally been known for their offensive prowess, currently rank in the top ten nationally in opponent's red zone conversions (3rd nationally - 47%), scoring defense (8th nationally - 14 points per game) and third down conversions (10th nationally - 27%).
While the Texas Tech defense has been stout in a lot of areas, it's sudden change situations that have really changed the most this season, and that's in part because defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt and the rest of the Red Raider defensive staff see things a little differently when it comes to those sudden change situations.
For them, it's all about the mindset, and they've been able to get their guys to buy into that.
"Our guys have really bought into 'we don't really care where the ball is' and 'we can only control what we can control' mindset. So if the ball is put at the 20 yard line, let's go defend 20 yards."
Next time you're in a staff room and you're trying to figure out ways to simulate a sudden change in practice, take coach Wallerstedt's advice and focus on the mindset of your defensive unit. After all, the defensive mindset is something you can control and instill in your guys, while sudden changes are a part of football that aren't going anywhere, and are something that you can't control.