College Football Preview: The 2014 Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech Red Raiders 0-0
2014 College Football Preview
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Overview: In Kliff Kingsbury’s first season as head coach, he led the Texas Tech Red Raiders to an 8-5 record and a bowl victory. The Red Raiders reached as high as 10th in the AP Poll as they began the season with seven straight victories. The second half of the schedule didn’t go as planned for Texas Tech, but the bowl win does make the Red Raiders 4-0 in their last four bowl appearances. If this is a sign of things to come, Texas Tech has a good reason to be excited with Kingsbury calling the shots.
Offense: Texas Tech used a handful of quarterbacks last season but after a few transfers and what not, Davis Webb is now the man who will get the full time snaps. Last season, Webb completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 2,718 yards and 20 touchdowns in off-and-on action. With a year under his belt and pretty much the entire starting offensive line returning, Webb should be in for a big year. Webb, however, will have to find new targets to throw the ball to with Eric Ward and Jace Amaro gone, but Bradley Marquez is more than capable of becoming the No. 1 option in this offense. DeAndre Washington has to give the Red Raiders more of a running game after they finished 113th in the country in rushing yards last season.
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Defense: Texas Tech will have a lot of new faces on the defensive side of the ball with Will Smith, Tre' Porter and Kerry Hyder all no longer on the team. The Red Raiders will now rely heavily on transfer players such as Keland McElrath and V.J. Fehoko, who bring size and athletic ability to a defense that struggled in those areas in the past. Linebacker Branden Jackson will continue to make plays all over the field and J.J. Gaines is a young defensive back who has proven he’s capable of making plays on the football. But besides just a couple of players here and there, Texas Tech’s defense is full of question marks and guys the coaching staff just hope pan out. Texas Tech had the seventh best defense in the Big 12 last year and knew how to get the key stops. It’s going to be interesting to see if that’s still the case this season.
Special Teams: Kicker Ryan Bustin returns after making 23 of his 27 field goals last season, and Taylor Symmank is the full-time punter after averaging 42 yards per boot in limited action.
Outlook: Texas Tech should be a lot better on offense than last year, but the issues on defense have to worry Red Raiders’ fans. However, if the defense surprises, this could be a better than expected season for Texas Tech, especially with a favorable schedule. The Red Raiders get Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in their backyard. Texas Tech shouldn’t have a problem clinching a bowl game for the third straight season and will provide some value throughout the year against some of the better teams in this conference.