The conclusion of Texas Tech's spring camp is a mere week and a half away, and the Red Raiders have only two more practices before the annual Red/Black capstone. Now in all honesty, intrasquad practices and scrimmages tell us very little about what will actually transpire during the season. Competition with one's self is a very closed and limited frame of reference. But it is the only frame or reference available. So within those constraints here are certain things all Red Raiders, fans and coaches alike, should hope to see in the scrimmage.
Defense Doesn't Allow Explosive Plays: Usually, when a defense allows a play of 40 yards or more, it is because of a blown assignment. And blown assignments typically spring from players not understanding the defensive scheme.
Failure to grasp the scheme was a huge part of Texas Tech's defensive problems last year. And the quickest way to improve defensively is by the players simply getting a good handle on what Art Kaufman and his staff is teaching them.
Early indications are that the defense understands what they are supposed to do far better than a year ago. They have one final chance to prove it before the off season.
Sound Play from Offensive Line: At times this spring Tech's offensive line has been a comedy of errors. Center snaps have sailed around like Lawn Darts at a sorority keg party at 2 a.m. Yellow flags have blossomed like dandelions after a spring downpour. And Dartwan Bush has sailed around Le'Ravin Clark like Bo and Luke Duke around Rosco P. Coltrane.
The offensive line need not dominate in the Red/Black Scrimmage; it merely needs to play sound football. If it can do that during the season then all should be well with the offense because Tech has the skill position players to put beaucoup points on the board.
Stamina from Defensive Front Seven: One trend emerging from previous scrimmages has been superior play from Tech's defensive line and linebackers early, followed by far weaker play late in the scrimmages. The problem here could be a lack of depth, but more likely it's a lack of size.
Tommy Tuberville recently stated that Tech cannot hope to stop the run with 265-pound Kerry Hyder at defensive tackle. Thing is, Hyder's not the only comparative small fry in the front seven.
Fellow starting tackle Dennell Wesley is Tech's girthiest defensive lineman and he checks in at 285 pounds. Delvon Simmons weighs 280, Donte Phillips is 275, and Lee Adams is all of 270. Players of that size cannot hope to hold in for entire games against offensive linemen who weigh well over 300 pounds.
And the Red Raider linebackers are not exactly behemoths either. Will Smith at a modest 230 pounds is Tech's biggest. The rest are either in their 210s or 220s, except for Chris Payne who is currently listed at 190 pounds.
During the Red/Black scrimmage it will bear watching to see if the Red Raider running attack starts to chew up the defense as the game wears on. If they do, it could be a sign of troubles to come.