Texas Tech Red Raiders
Big 12 Conference
2009 Record: (9-4, 5-3)
2009 Bowl: Alamo Bowl vs. Michigan State (W 41-31)
Coach: Tommy Tuberville (First season at Texas Tech, 110-60 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Neal Brown
Defensive Coordinator: James Willis
Rushing: Baron Batch, RB, 903 yards
Passing: Taylor Potts, QB, 3,440 yards
Receiving: Detron Lewis, WR, 844 yards
Tackles: Brian Duncan, LB, 88
Sacks: Colby Whitlock, DT, 3.0
Interceptions: Franklin Mitchem, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: LB Bront Bird, S Cody Davis, G Lonnie Edwards, LB Julius Howard, WR Lyle Leong, OT Terry McDaniel, CB LaRon Moore, C Chris Olson, QB Steven Sheffield, WR Tramain Swindall, WR Alex Torres
Key Losses: C Shawn Byrnes, G Brandon Carter, DT Rajon Henley, DE Daniel Howard, DT Richard Jones, DE Brandon Sharpe, CB Jamar Wall, LB Marlon Williams, OT Marlon Winn
Former coach Mike Leach certainly took Texas Tech to the next level, but he still never won any championships. The Red Raiders hope Coach Tommy Tuberville can get the job done. His first order of business will be to find a quarterback. Taylor Potts started the season, but gave way to Steven Sheffield following an injury. Both have proven to be productive signal callers and TTU really cannot go wrong with either player.
The offense will certainly be different without Coach Leach running the show, but there is plenty of talent that should be able to adjust to a team that will actually run the ball. Running back Baron Batch carried the ball 168 times for 884 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, but most of his carries were a surprise to the defense. That will not be the case this year as the opposition will know Batch will be a more traditional back. The talented wide receivers may force the Red Raiders to throw more because it would be a shame to under utilized Detron Lewis, Alexander Torres, Tramain Swindall and Lyle Leong. All four of those guys caught at least 45 passes last year, and Batch added 57 receptions, but there probably will not be that many passes to go around this season.
The problem with the offense is the line. The unit gave up 31 sacks last year, which is not awful for a team that passed so often, but it was not good compared to the prior season. This year the line is very young, but a rash of injuries last season at least gave the youngsters some playing experience. This unit used to just be a large group designed to protect the passing game, but now they need to be more nimble and versatile and that could be a big change that will take more than a season to overcome. The weakness on the other side of the ball is the secondary. Replacing cornerback Jamar Wall will not be easy and LaRon Moore has a broken leg. That leaves a ton of pressure on Jarvis Phillips, D.J. Johnson and Will Ford, especially in the new look defense that will not just try and keep the passing attack in front of them.
The Bottom Line:
The rest of the defense has plenty of adjusting to do as well as the Red Raiders attempt to move to a 3-4 defense. Brian Duncan is the player who will move from the middle of the linebacker corps to the hybrid end spot…at least in theory. No matter where he starts a play, Duncan finishes just about every one around the ball. There is some more experience in the middle of the field with Bront Bird and Julius Howard, but even with some of the same players, this is not going to look like the same defense.
2009 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 84.00 (115th in nation, 12th in conference)
Passing Offense: 386.77 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 470.77 (4, 1)
Scoring Offense: 37.00 (7, 2)
Rushing Defense: 126.77 (38, 7)
Pass Defense: 225.62 (73, 5)
Total Defense: 352.38 (49, 6)
Scoring Defense: 22.46 (41, 6)
Turnover Margin: -.46 (94, 11)
Sacks: 3.08 (4, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.38 (87, 9)