Preview 2017: Texas Tech Red Raiders
Breaking down, previewing and looking ahead to the 2017 Texas Tech Red Raiders.
What You Need To Know About The Texas Tech Offense
The offense continued to be the Texas Tech offense, averaging 44 points per game while leading the nation in total yards and passing, averaging 565 yards per game with 463 through the air. It’s not just about the interchangeable parts, but the system continues to work under offensive coordinator Eric Morris.
QB Patrick Mahomes is gone, but Nic Shimonek leads the pack of options to take over the reins. The top four receivers are back, with all of them catching at least 50 passes with seven scores last year. Da’Leon Ward and the top three running backs return, and they have to carry the load more after Mahomes handled a good portion of the running work. The line needs a little shuffling after allowing just 14 sacks, but three decent starters are back.
Biggest Key To The Texas Tech Offense
The running game has to be a bigger part of the mix. The Red Raiders ran for for almost 2,500 yards with 34 scores – averaging well over five yards per carry – in 2015, and went bowling. Last year, it was too easy to let Mahomes throw it over and over and over again, but the ground attack was neglected and ignored for stretches, finishing with just 1,243 yards and 22 scores – with 12 of the touchdowns coming from Mahomes. Especially early on, getting the backs involved more is a must.
What You Need To Know About The Texas Tech Defense
Yeah, defensive coordinator David Gibbs is back, and his success should be tied into the entire Red Raider season. Texas Tech was dead last in the nation in total and scoring defense, allowing 554 yards and 43.5 points per game. Here’s how crazy-bad things were – Texas Tech was 4-0 when allowing fewer than 44 points, and 1-7 when it didn’t.
The defensive front needs an overhaul, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The interior will get the most attention early on – in an attempt to slow down the run – but the linebacking corps should be terrific if Jordyn Brooks and Kolin Hill come up with big years. The secondary that got ripped to shreds came into the offseason with an attitude. By design, the goal is to come up with more big plays, more interceptions, and more stops.
Biggest Key To The Texas Tech Defense
The defense has to do one thing right. The secondary only came up with five picks, and two of them came in the opener against Stephen F. Austin. Strangely enough, though, the team was 4-0 when it came up with an interception. The pass rush was non-existent at times – coming up with just 14 sacks – and there weren’t enough meaningful third down stops. The identity of the Texas Tech defense can’t continue to be miserable.
Texas Tech Will Be Far Better If …
There’s a pass rush. The line needs an overhaul after losing Breiden Fehoko (transfer), Ondre Pipkins (done) and Gary Moore (gone) – but it’s not like this was the Steel Curtain. Even worse, there wasn’t enough pressure from anywhere with just 14 sacks on the season with nine of them coming in the layups against Stephen F. Austin and Kansas. How bad was it? The D came up with just four sacks over the final eight games. No pressure, more problems for the secondary, not enough big plays. It all ties together.
Best Texas Tech Offensive Player
WR Jonathan Giles, Jr. – The passing game spread the wealth around, but it was Giles who turned into the only 1,000-yard target, catching a team-leading 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 13 scores. The 6-0, 190-pounder blew up in his second season, ripping up Kansas for 219 yards and two scores on 12 catches, and hitting Louisiana Tech for three scoring grabs. He tailed off over the final five games, but he still made an impact with a key touchdown catch in the win over Baylor.
2. WR Keke Coutee, Jr.
3. OT Terence Steele, Jr.
4. QB Nic Shimonek, Sr.
5. RB Da’Leon Ward, Soph.
Best Texas Tech Defensive Player
LB Jordyn Brooks, Soph. – One of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the defense, he stepped up in the middle and came up with a team-leading 86 tackles with a sack and five tackles for loss. At 6-1 and 240 pounds, he’s the size to go along with excellent range and hitting ability, coming up with 18 stops in the season finale against Baylor, and ten against both Arizona State and TCU.
2. S Jah’Shawn Johnson, Jr.
3. S Kisean Allen, Jr.
4. DE Kolin Hill, Jr.
5. DT Broderick Washington, Soph.
Key Player To A Successful Season
DT Broderick Washington, Soph. – With Breiden Fehoko transferring and Gary Moore gone, the Red Raiders not only need new bodies on the inside, but they need an upgrade. The 6-3, 295-pound Washington isn’t massive, but he’s a decent-sized young player who got in a little bit of starting time making 14 tackles with a sack. Versatile enough to be used on the nose or anywhere else on the inside, he needs to grow into the job and be a rock for a woeful run D.
The Texas Tech Season Will Be A Success If …
It comes up with at least eight wins and a bowl run. The program would love to have any reason to love and keep Kingsbury around, and if there’s hope for the near future and the adjustments work, great. The schedule isn’t a breeze, but as long as the Red Raiders are making a little more noise in the Big 12, and as long as there’s a winning campaign, it’ll be a good campaign.
Key Game To The Texas Tech Season
Sept. 30 vs. Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders need to come up with a few tone-setting wins against Arizona State and Houston in the non-conference slate, but no matter what happens over the first few games, they need to take down the Big 12 opener. 45-44 losers to the Cowboys last year, it’s a must-win home game with three of the next four on the road. On the plus side, Kansas and Iowa State are part of the mix over the following few weeks – there’s a chance to go on a run with a win.
2016 Texas Tech Fun Stats
– 3rd Down Conversions: Texas Tech 101-for-195 (52%) – Opponents 71-of164 (43%)
– Average Yards Per Carry: Opponents 5.7 – Texas Tech 3.2
– Average Points Per Game: Texas Tech 43.7 – Opponent 43.5