Won’t know what kind of team Oklahoma is going to be until Saturday afternoon. But we can get an idea of what Texas Tech is bringing to the table. Here to help with that is RaiderPower.com publisher Jarret Johnson.
Gut feeling on who the quarterback will be this week, and how will that impact the game Saturday?
Kliff Kingsbury said last week he thought Davis Webb would be ready to go this week. Of course Kingsbury said Monday he wouldn't know who would start until kickoff... I think it will be Webb. If nothing else he has shown toughness and I doubt a sprained ankle will keep him out for a third consecutive week. Some of his teammates said he has returned to practice and was moving around. Webb gives Tech a chance for more explosive plays down the field in the passing game, but he's also good for a handful of gifts to the other team. He is atop a long list of disappointments for the Red Raiders this season.
If Webb can't go it will be Patrick Mahomes, a talented true freshman who was knocked out of the game against Texas last week in his first start. He took 80 percent of the first-team snaps during the bye week. If Mahomes and Webb can't go it will be walk-on true freshman Vincent Testaverde, son of Heisman Trophy winning QB Vinny Testaverde. The fourth-string quarterback is Payne Sullins, another walk-on true freshman.
Is the bloom off the rose with Kingsbury? Or has everybody decided this year isn't great but we're excited for the future?
Most Tech fans are bitterly disappointed with the way this season has turned out. The Red Raiders haven't played a good game all season and there have been numerous blunders by both the players and the coaching staff. That being said Tech fans still love Kingsbury and want to see him succeed. The one bright spot with Kingsbury's staff has been recruiting, so many are anxious to see what he can do with his own players. It's going to take a couple years to build this program back up.
Why has Tech had such problems defending the run and causing turnovers, especially with only three interceptions?
You answered the second and third parts of the question with the first. Tech has given up some big pass plays, but that has usually come after opposing teams have gashed the Red Raiders with the run. Tech has, and will definitely again this week, loaded up numbers in the box in an effort to stop the run leaving defensive backs matched up in 1-on-1 situations outside against Big 12 receivers. Tech has improved against the run, but those defensive backs are all young and it shows.
As far as turnovers go, Tech has failed to win the turnover battle in its last 16 games, which is why it is no surprise the Red Raiders rank No. 123 in the FBS in turnover margin at minus-1.33 per game.
Why has Tech failed to produce more turnovers? Simply put, a lack of playmakers , physicality and depth on defense.
If one player is poised to break out for the Red Raiders, it's going to be ________?
Sophomore receiver Devin Lauderdale. He has seen increased reps as the season has progressed and shown an ability to produce explosive plays when given an opportunity. Lauderdale averages 16.3 yards per grab and has scored on plays from 76, 56 and 34 yards out. Honestly, he has been Tech's most consistent receiver as far as holding on to the football and making plays after the catch. It has been puzzling he has not been given more chances to show what he can do.
No doubt what Tech doesn't have with quantity of recruits it is making up with quality. Has this year's struggles impacted anything on the trail at this point with any of those high profile kids?
Actually, right now Tech is looking to sign 20-21 players this class and Tech has 14 commits, so that is two-thirds of the class with a lot of intriguing prospects still in play. Of course that number could change depending on attrition, but Tech is selling immediate playing time at a Power 5 school to elite recruits and it is working. The Red Raiders currently have pledges from the only two five-star commits (quarterback Jarrett Stidham and defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko) in the Big 12 and three Scout top 100 players (Stidham, Fehoko and four-star receiver Carlos Strickland).
This class looks especially strong on offense, headlined by Stidham, the No. 2 ranked QB in the nation, four-star running back Corey Dauphine (200 meter state champ), Strickland, the No. 2 rated receiver in Texas and three four-star offensive linemen. Tech currently only has four commits on the defensive side of the ball, but three are defensive linemen, which is already a monumental haul for the Red Raiders considering they only signed one high school defensive lineman overall in the past three recruiting classes.
The one guy who seemed the most likely to flip, Dauphine, recently told RaiderPower.com he is 100 percent Tech and is excited to be coming in with this class. These guys believe they will be the ones to take Tech to titles and glory. We'll see.
Where the poor season has hurt in recruiting is with the teammates of these players who have committed. Standouts such as Strickland (Dallas Skyline) and four-star OL Madison Akamnonu (Arlington Bowie) play at talent-rich schools and each have told me many of their buds won't even consider Tech based on this season.
The only Tech commit to say the losing has altered his view of Tech is Katy junior safety Collin Wilder. He plays for a school that basically competes for state titles every season and he told me the 82 points allowed to TCU made him reconsider. Yet, even Wilder said he still has a solid relationship with the coaching staff and is still a solid commit.