Scouting Report: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech is still a good football team but the Red Raiders don't appear to be as good as they were a year ago. Last season the Cowboys upset the Red Raiders 24-17 and did so using a lot of movement before the snap on defense, a mixture of coverages in the back end of the defense, and a healthy "smash them in the mouth" running attack.

This season Texas Tech is again leading the Big 12 in total offense and passing offense, but the Red Raiders have slipped in the all important scoring offense category to fourth. The Red Raiders aren't finishing as well on offense. Why? Let's start with sophomore quarterback Graham Harrell. He's good, but Harrell won't take off and run like past Tech quarterbacks. He is also not as accurate as he sometimes misses on wide open receivers and has made his receivers work hard on some balls.

Tech has changed some as they put the quarterback under center a little more and even show some conventional running attack with zones and zone reads. They still major in a horizontal passing game but also will try and stretch the defense with some more vertical routes. The offense also still has its typical problems in the red zone of working in a more confined area favoring the defense.

Where has Jarrett Hicks been the past two weeks? The senior wide receiver hasn't played. The corps of Joel Filani, Robert Johnson, Danny Amendola and L.A. Reed are all good and dangerous. Running back Shannon Woods isn't Taurean Henderson, but he has been productive in that role. The offensive line is solid guard to guard, but has been suspect at times at the tackles.

On defense, Tech is plain Jane and that is by design. They don't allow big plays and make offenses have to drive the ball with a standard 4-3 front, taking few chances with blitzes, and playing mostly cover three and cover four zones. Keyunta Dawson can be a dangerous pass rusher, Chris Hudler is a "blue collar" bring-your-lunch-pail kind of defensive tackle. Brock Stratton and Fletcher Session are dependable linebackers. The secondary is rebuilt, but cornerback Antonio Huffman is dangerous and picked a pass off last week against OU and took it to the house. Finding a way to come up with big plays will be important on Saturday for the Cowboys.

In the kicking game Tech is nothing special, but again, they are dependable and don't give up big plays. Their kickoff and punt coverage is solid. They take few chances but they don't inspire opponents to try many either.

A big weapon is Jones Stadium and they will have more than 50,000 there on Saturday.

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