Like any football team, Texas Tech has several players whose performance will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue experience, leadership, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they to be absent for any reason. In fact, that may be the best way to conceive of the critical players—they are the performers the team could least afford to lose.
With this series, we will take a reverse order look at the Red Raider football players we consider most invaluable.
6' 3" 220
The prevailing theory is that you need lots of speed, lots of depth and lots of guys who can tackle in the open field in order to play good defense in the Big 12. The offenses in this conference are stocked with speedy, talented receivers and dual-threat quarterbacks, and they stress defenses by spreading them out and forcing them to make plays in the open field. These offenses are the antitheses of the smash-mouth, ground-pounding offenses found in the SEC and the Big 10.
One of Texas Tech's defensive problems over the last several years has been a dearth of depth, speed, and open-field guided missiles who can track down skill players and detonate on impact. Outside linebacker Pete Robertson, however, is the prototype of that very player.
Former Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville moved Robertson from linebacker to defensive end, in part, because he needed another pass rusher, but also because he needed a player who could track down speedy quarterbacks from behind once they broke the line of scrimmage. Robertson, who didn't start a game in 2012, did not quite pan out as Tuberville envisaged. But the Longview native is only a sophomore. And after moving to linebacker in Matt Wallerstedt's defense, he has a clean slate and an opportunity to be the kind of player Tuberville thought he could be.
In many respects, Robertson is the most versatile player on the Red Raider defense. He weights 220 pounds, which is the right weight for several different positions. Robertson played quarterback in high school, and before redshirting after an injury in 2011, was playing safety for Tech. And after playing a bit of linebacker and a season at defensive end, he is settling in at linebacker again.
Because of his combination of size, speed and varied experience, Robertson will help in many ways. There is every reason to believe he will be an excellent coverage linebacker. As Tuberville noted, Robertson has the speed to track players down in the open field. He also has enough pass-rushing chops that he will not only be a frequent blitzer, but will play with a hand in the dirt quite often.
Put it all together and Robertson may get as many snaps as any player on the defense. He will be a valuable player.