Texas Tech Red Raiders 2013 College Football Preview
2012 Record: 8-5 (4-5)
Jones AT&T Stadium Lubbock, Texas
Odds To Win The Big 12: 25 to 1 See the Latest Odds
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (First Year)
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Record: 8-5 (4-5)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl W 34-31 Minnesota
8/31 at SMU
9/7 Stephen F. Austin
9/21 Texas State
10/5 at Kansas
10/12 Iowa State
10/19 at West Virginia
10/26 at Oklahoma
11/2 Oklahoma State
11/9 Kansas State
11/28 at Texas
2012 Review: The Tommy Tuberville era ended without much fanfare, in stark contrast to the departure of his predecessor, Mike Leach, who left surrounded by as much controversy as there’s ever been in Lubbock. Depending on who you talk to, though, Tuberville didn‘t exactly run the program into the ground. Yes, there’s the 9-17 conference record and the 21-17 overall record in his three seasons with the program, but there was absolutely no drop-off in one of the nation‘s most explosive passing attacks year to year, and he took Texas Tech to two bowl games in three seasons. Things could have obviously gone much farther south after a nearly flawless 11-1 campaign in 08 and a pretty good one in 09, finishing 9-4. Blowout losses against Oklahoma , Kansas State and Oklahoma State, however, sealed Tuberville’s fate, whether or not his resignation was actually forced.
Player Ready to Shine: Sr. WR Eric Ward (6-0, 205). With new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, a former Texas Tech QB, at the controls, Ward should get even closer to the century mark in receptions this season after catching 82 balls for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012.
Offense: With Kingsbury, one of the most prolific quarterbacks ever at Texas Tech, now at head coach, an already pass happy offense that finished 2012 second in the country in passing yards per game at 356 will probably put the ball up even more. The keystone for Kingsbury will be Soph. QB Michael Brewer (6-1, 185), who passed for 375 yards and 4 touchdowns on 70.8% passing as a backup last season. In this high-powered spread offense, where QB’s routinely pass for over 4,000 yards in a season, Brewer won’t have long to step up before the Red Raiders go to their second option, true freshman Davis Webb (6-4, 195). Brewer reportedly missed some spring practices due to a back injury and Webb took snaps with the first team in his absence. At WR, Texas Tech is once again strong, despite losing five senior receivers who all contributed on some level. But the framework for a good receiving corps is back, led by Ward, TE Jace Amarao (6-5, 260), 25 REC, 409 YDS, 4 TDS last season, Soph.WR Jakeem Grant (5-6, 160), 32 REC, 284 YDS, 4 TDS, and Jr. WR Baradley Marquez (5-11, 200), 16 REC for 172 YDS in 2012. After finishing 86th in the nation in rushing, Tech can only get better and Kingsbury will have stable of young, talented and unproven backs to draw from. Jr. RB Kenny Williams (5-9, 225), who rushed for 824 YDS and 5 TDS last season, is the only known commodity and should be the workhorse, but Kingsbury says he likes to rotate at least three backs so Soph. DeAndre Washington (5-8, 190), Sr. Sadale Foster (5-7, 185), and Fr. Quentin White (5-7, 200) could all see significant playing time in the backfield. JUCO transfer Tyler Middleton (6-0, 180) is a burner who could also sneak up the depth chart and see some touches. The O-Line brings some depth in Soph.Le’Raven Clark (6-5, 303), who will slide over to the LT position from Guard, where he saw a good amount of action last season. Jr. Beau Carpenter (6-6, 284) will be the likely candidate to step into Clark’s spot at RG after some playing time at LG in 2012. Soph. Tony Morales (6-3, 302) leads the dept chart at LG, while Soph. Jared Kaster (6-3, 271) will get the start at Center. Redshirt Fr. Trey Kennan (6-6, 280) leads the depth chart at RT.
Defense: Kingsbury steps into a pretty good situation defensively, where the Red Raiders fielded the Big 12’s second stingiest defense in total yards allowed. He brings with him new defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt, who shouldn’t need to do much tweaking. Sr. DE Kerry Hyder (6-2, 280) should be the unit’s standout after recording 56 tackles, 14 for a loss, and six sacks in 2012. Senior DE Dartwan Bush (6-2, 256), 41 tackles, 12 for a loss, and 6 sacks last season, will rotate with Hyder. On the other side, Jr. DE Delvon Simmons (6-5, 290) will share time with Jr. DE Jackson Richards (6-4, 248). Sr. DT Dennell Wesley (6-1, 286) has been playing the middle this spring and looks to get the start at nose tackle. Wesly had 21 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, and 2 sacks last season. He’ll rotate with Soph.Donte Phillips (6-2, 260), who saw limited time in 2012 but has shown some promise as both a run stopper and an interior pass rusher. As far as the line backing corps, Texas Tech goes with a lot of different looks, switching mainly between the 4-3 and the 3-4 and will even field a position called the Bandit , which has the player lining up as an OLB in the 3-4 and a DE in the 4-3. The Red Raiders will typically employ two players player at the position considered to be a hybrids, working seamlessly between pass coverage, pass rushing and run-stopping.. Sr. Terrance Bullit (6-3, 221), leads the depth chart on one side, while Soph. Branden Jackson (6-4, 248) should get the nod at the other hybrid spot. They’ll share time with Soph. Pete Robertson (6-3, 220), who logged 20 tackles and two sacks last season.. At MLB, Soph. Micah Awe (6-0, 205), a smallish run-stopper who saw limited time in 2012. He’ll need to utilize his quickness to make up for a lack of size in the middle. One of Tech’s best athletes on the defensive side is Jr. Sam Eguavoen (6-1, 220). More safety than linebacker, Eguavoen has recorded time at every position on this unit, ending last season with 52 tackles. He leads the depth chart on the weakside. Tech’s secondary was tops in the Big 12 last year, holding opponents to 192 yards passing a game, but they’ll have to replace safeties D.J. Johnson and Cody Davis, who finished one and two in stops. Senior FS Tre Porter (6-0, 202) is expected to be this unit’s breakout star after recording 30 tackles last season. Soph. J.J. Gaines (5-10, 180), who saw very little playing time in 2012 and finished with just nine tackles, leads the depth chart at SS. Gaines is on the small side, but has great quickness and straight-line speed. At the corners, smallish seniors Bruce Jones (5-7, 171) and Olaoluwa Falemi (5-9, 157) lead the depth chart. Jones, known as a big hitter, recorded 31 tackles last season and Falemi saw little action in the secondary, but was a burner on special teams.
Special Teams: Senior Ryan Erxleben is back after averaging a solid 41.7 yards per punt in 2012, while Jr. Ryan Bustin, who connected on 17-of-24 last season, will again be the placekicker. Jr. Sadale Foster (5-7, 187) is back as the leading return specialist after averaging a 21.8 yards per kickoff return last season.
Final Thoughts: Texas Tech has always been fun to watch, particularly in 2009 when it became abundantly clear that Mike Leach’s explosive spread offense was more than just a gimmick. Now, just about every offense in college football seems to run some variation of the spread. But while other teams like Florida have taken sandlot trickery all the way to a national title, the Red Raiders seem to have plateaued with it. The pieces are once again in place for ridiculous passing and scoring numbers in 2013. What remains to be seen is what new head coach Kliff Kingsbury can do with a proven formula. One thing’s for certain, it’ll make for great entertainment.
Follow me on Twitter@SCPRick