Tech Attack Shouldn't Miss Beat

Kansas City, MO -- It doesn't seem to matter what quarterback Texas Tech plugs into its prolific passing offense. Last season, the Red Raiders replaced Kliff Kingsbury with unheralded B.J. Symons, and their attack didn't miss a beat. It's the same story again this year in Lubbock, as Sonny Cumbie and Phillip Daugherty are doing battle to see who will replace the graduated Symons.

Just how much will Texas Tech's offense differ from one quarterback to another? Not much, said assistant head coach Ruffin McNeill during Tuesday's Big 12 media days in Kansas City.

"With Coach Leach it will not change," said McNeill, who filled in for Mike Leach, who had prior arrangements. "The quarterback position will be filled, but he will have some experienced guys in front of him. We throw it all the time and throw off the bus throwing. It won't change. We'll still throw it and mix in the run.

"Sonnie has been around the program the longest and knows the package the best. He has a good chance of winning it in two-a-days. (Daugherty) has great talent and is a great kid. He's still trying to learn the offense. They watch film together. We have a good stable of talented quarterbacks."

The likely candidate to replace Symons is Cumbie, who played in six games as a backup last season, throwing for 340 yards and one score on 35-of-56 completions. Cumbie compares favorably to Kingsbury instead of Symons, says offensive lineman Daniel Loper.

"Sonny is a little bit different quarterback than B.J., but he's confident in his game," said Loper. "He's probably a little bit more like Kliff. Sonny is big on studying film. He always wants to know something else. He knows how to study defenses and pick them apart."

Entertaining guests

Leach's offense presents a unique challenge for opposing teams. The system is also something that other teams want to learn and duplicate. Just how popular a stop has Lubbock, Texas, become?

"They probably had 45 staffs come in since last season ended, and that's probably on the low end," McNeill said. "That's probably 25 high school and 20 college programs. Some guys are doing some of the things we're trying to do. We've had a lot of traffic."

Defensive woes being addressed

As long as the Red Raiders are running their current offense, Leach's defense will constantly be pressed to the limit. The downfall of a quick-striking offense is that it puts constant strain on a defense. But given some time to recruit and develop talent, McNeill feels the defense has built solid enough depth to improve the defense's overall level of play.

"It's probably been like going to a gunfight with a knife, and our defense a lot of times had the knife," McNeill said. "We were really young as a defense. You have to be patient with young players. We recruited kids because we knew they could play. Some kids come along quickly and some of them take some time.

"At some times we were bad. We want to do our part defensively for this team to win. We developed depth last year on defense, so now I think we can rotate guys. That will be a positive, because our defense can score quickly."

McNeill would like to use a defensive rotation of up to 25 kids, with up to 10 players being rotated across four positions on the line, six at linebacker, then eight or nine in the secondary.

"As a defense we have to get better and we understand that," said Adell Duckett. "We got together in the offseason with the players and coaches. This year I think the Texas Tech defense is going to make a great move."

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