Yeager: Mid-season Grades

At the midpoint of the season now, Joe Yeager grades the Red Raiders first half performance going.

Quarterback: The three college quarterbacks who throw for more yards per game than Seth Doege are named Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Landry Jones. That's pretty strong company. Thanks primarily to a bad outing against Kansas State, however, Doege's quarterback rating is No.28, one spot behind Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. Still, on the whole, Doege has been a solid upgrade over Taylor Potts, and barring any more turnover fests will rate as one of the nation's best signal callers in 2011.


Grade: B+


Running Backs: The Red Raider rushing attack is the most potent it's been in many a year. Tech's ground game has languished near the bottom of the statistical heap over the past decade or so, but is now No.54 nationally, averaging 162 yards per contest. Moreover, Tech's 4.4 yards per carry average is good for No.47 in the nation. The superb play of Eric Stephens is a big reason for the Red Raider running boom, but his successor Aaron Crawford looks highly competent, and there's reason to believe the ground game will not collapse in Stephens' absence.


Grade: B


Receivers: Dropped passes have been fairly plentiful, but Tech's receivers have produced even more big plays. Darrin Moore began the season on a Biletnikof Award pace, but the Red Raider receivers have not lacked punch in his absence. Eric Ward and Alex Torres have stepped up tremendously, and Cornelius Douglas and Adam James have done good things in the middle of the field.


Grade: B+


Offensive Line: Seth Doege has dropped back to pass 309 times and been sacked nine times. That comes out to one sack per 34 passing plays, which is more than acceptable. Also keep in mind that a few of those sacks were due to Doege holding onto the ball for too long and one can see that Tech's pass protection has been very good indeed. Same goes for the run blocking. Lonnie Edwards is having an All Big 12 year and LaAdrian Waddle is not far behind him. Justin Keown is also looking good despite playing with a bum knee. Deveric Gallington, Mickey Okafor and Terry McDaniel have blown hot and cold on the right side.


Grade: A-


Defensive Line: The Red Raiders average 1.5 sacks per game, which ties them with four other teams for No.88 nationally in that category. Not particularly impressive, but do keep in mind that Tech blitzes rarely. Tech has also played most of its snaps without Leon Mackey and Scott Smith, probably the team's best defensive ends. So things are looking up at that position.


The picture is not as rosy at defensive tackle where Donald Langley and Kerry Hyder have been no more than serviceable. Weakness in the middle of the line has allowed the opposition to run the ball all too effectively, and the backups have not ridden to the rescue. The Red Raiders will probably have to compensate for problems at this position the entire season.


Grade: C-


Linebackers: The Red Raiders allow 219 rushing yards per contest (No.112 nationally) and 4.74 yards per carry (No.93), and that will not feed the bulldawg. Chad Glasgow has been struggling to find a reliable rotation at linebacker, but the results have been iffy at best. Sam Eguavoen, Daniel Cobb, Cqulin Hubert and Blake Dees have all started, but if the Kansas State game is any indication, Hubert and Dees may be rising to the top. At any rate, this is a young group and it has shown.


Grade: D+


Secondary: Tech has gotten good individual performances from D. J. Johnson, Terrance Bullitt, Cody Davis and Jarvis Phillips (Tre' Porter has been a disappointment), but as a unit the secondary has been subpar. Now the Red Raiders are only allowing 188 passing yards per contest, but that's more a function of the ease with which the opposition has run through the Tech defense than anything else. In terms of pass efficiency defense the Red Raiders are No.82 nationally, and that is a truer indicator. If Tech's rush defense improves, expect the defensive backfield to be sorely tested.


Grade: C


Special Teams: Tech's special teams were truly excellent in non-conference tilts, but once the level of competition improved, special teams play declined dramatically. Bright spots have been Ben McRoy's kickoff returns and Ryan Erxleben's punting. Sore spots have been blocked field goals and a kickoff return for a touchdown. One could argue that special teams breakdowns prevented the Red Raiders from being undefeated to this point.


Grade: D-

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