Texas Tech football preview for 2016, including keys to success for the Red Raiders, best players and season prediction.
What You Need To Know About The Texas Tech Offense
Second in the nation in scoring, passing, and total yards, the Red Raider attack averaged 45 points per game, 388 passing yards, and 580 yards overall. But it could do even better.
Now that QB Patrick Mahomes is firmly entrenched at the position, and he’s got the passing skills to perfectly fit the attack, the numbers should be astronomical as long as he can get time to work. The line is the concern having to undergo an overhaul with little depth and only two upperclassmen expected to play big roles.
The whole of the receiving corps is better than the sum of its parts with lots of good options and good veterans who should take turns being the star.
Losing RB DeAndre Washington is tough, but led by Justin Stockton, there’s speed and talent to do what the Red Raider offense needs.
Biggest Key To The Texas Tech Offense
Can the line protect Mahomes? The front five wasn’t all that bad in pass protection allowing just 27 sacks in 620 pass attempts, but that’s still a lot for the Red Raider style that gets the ball out of the quarterback’s hands in a hurry. Tech allowed just 13 sacks in 2014 after improving by leaps and bounds following a disastrous 33-sack-allowed 2013, but now the line has to avoid falling back to its old problems with just one returning starter. The front five will be a work in progress.
What You Need To Know About The Texas Tech Defense
The task for the Texas Tech defense is simple – just come up with a stop once in a while. Last year’s defense couldn’t do that.
The Red Raiders finished second-to-last in the nation in total defense, allowing a whopping 548 yards per game. The offense might have put up 45 points per game, but the defense gave up 43.6 and got bombed on by the big boys. The hope is for the improvement to start in a secondary that gets back the veterans needed to do a wee bit more. At the very least, the defensive backfield should be more physical.
Can the line start to generate more pressure? The sacks weren’t there from the front four, but there’s hope for a big turnaround with help for both inside and out around star tackle Breiden Fehoko.
For a defense that can’t lose top starters, not having rising star and leading tackler Dakota Allen at linebacker hurts. Booted off the team, he was the one who was going to spark a big, positive change that’s going to be tough to generate from the front seven, especially against the run.
Biggest Key To The Texas Tech Defense
To belabor the point, a few stops against the run would be nice. The Red Raiders allowed fewer than 200 rushing yards just three times, but Oklahoma State and Kansas were too busy bombing away through the air in two of those games. Everyone fattened up the stats on the Tech front seven that gave up 49 rushing scores, allowed over six yards per carry, and gave up 300 yards or more seven times.
Texas Tech Will Be Far Better If …
The defense comes up with a third down stop. It all ties together. The miserable run defense led the way for too many short-range third down chances, and offenses took advantage converting on a gigantic 49.7% of the time. The Red Raiders beat Sam Houston State and Arkansas despite allowing the two offenses to combine for more than 60% of their chances, but after that they were 0-6 after allowing teams to convert 44% or more of their third down chances. They were 4-0 when staying under the 44% mark.
Best Texas Tech Offensive Player
QB Patrick Mahomes, Jr. – The 6-3, 215-pounder got his feet wet as a freshman throwing for over, 1,500 yards with 16 touchdowns and four picks, and the job was his over Davis Webb. A bomber, he threw for 4,653 yards and 36 touchdowns in the best season by any Red Raider quarterback since Graham Harrell threw for 5,111 yards and 45 touchdowns in the epic 2008 campaign. Mahomes has perfect command of the offense and should threaten to break Harrell’s mark if a few stars rise up in the receiving corps.
Best Texas Tech Defensive Player
S Jah’Shawn Johnson, Soph. – It’s been a rough go for Texas Tech defensive backs over the years, but this group has three seniors returning to work around the star on the lot, Johnson. The loss of rising star tackler Dakota Allen in the linebacking corps stinks – he was suspended from the team – with his loss boosting the importance of Johnson, a smallish big-hitter who gets the job done for his size. Great against the run, he always gets around the ball. The Tech run defense needs all the help it can get.
Key Player To A Successful Season
DT Broderick Washington, RFr. – Along with Michigan transfer Ondre Pipkins, the Red Raiders need interior help to go along with Breiden Fehoko. They’ve got improving talent on the inside, but now everyone has to produce more to help anchor the miserable run defense. The 6-3, 308-pound Washington was a decent recruit with good toughness and the right demeanor to line up and hold his own – he doesn’t have to be flashy. He’s young, but if he rises up into a steady starter, the weakness could turn into a bit of a strength. Fine, that’s an overstatement, but it’ll be far better.
The Texas Tech Season Will Be A Success If …
It’s a nine-win season. The Red Raiders had back-to-back eight-win seasons in 2012 and 2013, and hasn’t hit the nine-win mark since 2009. It might take a bowl game to get to nine again, but with winnable home games against Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech and Kansas, and with six home games in the first nine games, there’s a chance to get off to a big start. It’ll take some road upsets to get there, but it’s time for the Kliff Kingsbury era to kick it into high gear.
at Kansas State, Oct. 8 – If the lone road game in a nice long run, with two home games before it and two more after. Tech won a wild 59-44 shootout last season, but lost the previous four years and hasn’t won in Manhattan since 2008. If the Red Raiders are good enough to make this a decent season, they have to be good enough to at least start the season 3-1 – with the one loss to Arizona State on the road – and could be 4-0. If they can beat the Wildcats, and they can get by West Virginia to follow, 6-0 isn’t out of the question before the home showdown against Oklahoma.
2015 Texas Tech Fun Stats
– Field Goals: Texas Tech 16-of-19 – Opponents 9-of-18
– Rushing TDs Allowed: Opponents 49 – Texas Tech 34
– Points Per Game: Texas Tech 45.1 – Opponents 43.6
2016 Texas Tech Season Prediction
What’s going to happen to Texas Tech this season? Check out what the final record is going to be …