2013 Texas Tech Football Season Preview
If any word was to define the past off-season for Texas Tech Red Raider Football it would be, “Hype.”
The return of former Red Raider Quarterback Kliff Kingsbury to take over the program and return it to the successful heights of Mike Leach and beyond have fans clamoring for the season to start.
A full-court press was put on by the Texas Tech Athletics office since mid-December to take advantage of the love fans have for Kingsbury to sell season tickets and generate the most excitement around the program since the 2008 season.
Questions on the offensive line, who will be quarterback, and if the new coaching staff can put together a team that will contend in a projected down year for the Big 12 Conference make the Red Raiders one of the more unpredictable teams in the country.
The offense for the Red Raiders in the 2013 season will be different than fans expect. Yes, the Red Raiders will air out the ball, but they will see more running game than they have in the previous decade. The position group returning with the most talent is the running back corps featuring Kenny Williams, DeAndre Washington, and SaDale Foster. Look for Williams to approach, if not break, 1,000 yards rushing this season.
The quarterback battle between redshirt sophomore Michael Brewer and freshman Davis Webb is closer than fans realize, but reading context clues from Big 12 Media Days and interviews that Kingsbury has done with other media indicate that Brewer will be named starter.
The receiving corps returns senior Eric Ward, Jakeem Grant, Jace Amaro, and Bradley Marquez should help the transition of whoever wins the quarterback job. Ward had over 1,000 yards receiving last year and Amaro led the team in receiving until his mid-season injury against West Virginia sidelined him for the final six games of the regular season. Look for Amaro to finally stay healthy and put together a huge season.
The biggest question mark for the offense is also the most important area: offensive line. The loss of Waddle, Gallington, and McDaniel hurt and put the pressure on this unit to gel quickly before the conference season starts September 12th against TCU. The Morales brothers will get time on the line with returning pre-season All-Big 12 candidate Le’Raven Clark anchoring the line. If they can stay healthy and play well together the offense will be dangerous to any defense they could face.
The defense for the Red Raiders will have their fifth defensive coordinator in five seasons with defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt taking the reins this time. The Red Raiders will run a 3-4 scheme, their fifth different scheme in the last five years.
The defensive line is anchored by Kerry Hyder who returns for his senior season to play at end, but it would not be surprising if he is moved to the nose tackle position. Delvon Simmons transferred from the program after spring drills to Southern California and his loss hurts, but not as much as first thought. Junior Jackson Richards has stepped up his game in the off-season and early fall practice reports indicate that Richards will hold down the interior line for Tech.
The linebackers for Tech should benefit from co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Mike Smith. Smith joins the Red Raiders after a stint coaching the outside linebackers for the New York Jets the past few seasons in the NFL.
The secondary is the weakest part of the team returning with the departure seniors Cody Davis, D.J. Johnson, and Cornelius Douglas. Tre Porter and J.J. Gaines should breakout this season, but don’t expect this unit to be world beaters by any means in the Big 12.
The Red Raiders should start off fast with wins over SMU and Stephen F. Austin before taking on TCU to start the conference season, but a 4-0 start isn’t out of the question with Tech.
@ West Virginia
vs. Baylor (Arlington)
7-5 overall, 4-5 Big 12 Conference 7th
Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Iowa