Texas Tech football closes out the spring with the Red Black game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Jones' AT&T Stadium. Much like the first two, scrimmages, I expect a fast moving afternoon with both sides of the football trading punches.
The offense will run exceptionally fast, working on pace, tempo and timing between quarterbacks and receivers. Jakeem Grant has been the star of the spring in the receiving corps. Look for him to get open down field more, but also to get open in space in the screen packages as well, similar to the old Leach system.
The running game is still where the most proven talent is on the offense. Quentin White looks improved and healed, and has gotten a lot of work this spring, and Washington & Kenny Williams are back and healthy as well. Do not be surprised if Texas Tech is in the top three in the Big XII in rushing next year.
Running the football will also give us an idea on how the offensive line has come together this spring. The only two certainties on the OL are LaRaven Clark and Beau Carpenter. Clark will be the left tackle and Carpenter will start somewhere on the line, but it's still up in the air as to where. The move to OL for JJ Lollar is also a concern, as Kingsbury this week said it was a move out of necessity, which means no one has stepped up enough to solidify a spot on the interior. There's also a depth issue at OL with only seven or eight healthy bodies working at OL in the first two scrimmages.
The offense really has to look crisp on Saturday, it's been way too inconsistent at times, with late passes, and receivers making drops at inopportune times. If they are quick, fluid and crisp, then that will be a good stepping off point going into summer 7 on 7 workouts and fall camp.
Defensively, the Red Raiders will have another opportunity to show improvement in their fifth defensive system in 5 years. Lots of movement will take place in the back 7 with the linebackers and secondary. Thus far, Brandon Jackson, Will Smith and Micah Awe have really stepped up in the linebacking corps. I don't anticipate it, but Terrence Bullitt on the field will be a welcome sight and a step in the right direction to his being healthy in 2013.
The secondary is still a mixed bag with so many unproved players. Safety depth is good after Trey Porter and J.J. Gaines have solidified the first string and Keenon Ward pairs with Austin Stewart for the second string. Corner is the biggest question mark on the defense. It's the last time that some cornerbacks will get an opportunity to prove themselves they can be in the rotation before signees like Dee Paul make their way to campus. Bruce Jones has probably played the best of the corners, but no one else has stood out enough to know who will help fill out the secondary.
On defense, look for pressure on the QB and then different coverages to attempt to confuse the QBs. If they can get pressure for the second straight scrimmage and then sustain it after the offense makes adjustments, then that is another step in the right direction.