With the departure of Chris Payne from the Texas Tech football program just weeks before the start of fall camp, it makes me wonder if the Red Raiders are going to suffer a fate in 2013 similar to that of TCU in 2012: Lack of depth by attrition.
The circumstances for which each roster losing some depth certainly are different, but the results could be the same.
TCU limped to a 7-6 finish a year ago and struggled to score points at the end of the season. While I think offense won't be the problem for Tech this year, 2 off of the top 22 defensively might be.
Texas Tech has now seen at least 9 players defect from its roster since the beginning of spring practice. If you include guys who left after the 2012 season like Daniel Cobb, Jarvis Phillips and Michael Starts, the number is even higher. Some probably wouldn't have made an impact in 2013 (or beyond), but the loss to me when a kid transfers, loses eligibility, etc, after spring practice isn't necessarily the output on the field, it's the loss of time the program has invested in the individual player, and the lost snaps the next guy up didn't get in the spring or summer. Chris Payne took up an awful lot of practice reps from someone else this past spring, so did Delvon Simmons.
Here are the losses, by my count and their order of impact.
1. Delvon Simmons Jr. DT - Transferred to USC. This has been well documented.
2. Chris Payne Sr. OLB - Academically Ineligible. His loss is important because of the uncertainty of the health of Terrence Bullitt. Now Austin Stewart is being moved to backup Bullitt, and he has zero practice snaps at this position.
3. Javon Bell Sr. WR- Academically Ineligible. Great speed, but Tech has plenty ready to take his spot…we hope.
4. Kyle Clark Sr. OL Graduated – Clark never made the 2 deep, but with the lack of bodies on the OL, these start to add up, he may have been useful this season.
5. J.J. Lollar Fr. OL/DL Cut from the team. – This is the harsh reality of college athletics. Whatever coaches saw on tape when he signed, wasn't there when he showed up in January after undergoing the eye procedure. Would have liked to see him get at least a season to see if he got some of it back, especially with the losses of Starts & Simmons.
6. Cam Wright Jr. TE Took a student asst coach position – There is a lot of depth at receiver right now, and we don't know what this staff will do with the "Y" receiver position. Played special teams this past year.
7. Chase Robison RFr. OLB Transferred – Robison changed positions in the spring, and appeared to have been passed by other players on the depth chart.
8. Dustin Walton So QB – Transferred. Buried on the depth chart. Wasn't likely to play.
9. Aaron Bennett* Jr. OL – Not able to attend Texas Tech due to transfer issue. Signed with K-State. Would have helped depth at OL.
Aside from the first 3 on the list, none of these players were likely to play much more than special teams in 2013. My point in asking this is, are the fans overlooking something in their season prognostications that they shouldn't be? The collateral damage of a coaching change is enough of a learning curve, and we all agree that Kliff has to get his players in here, but Tech's second 22 are overmatched by other teams in the Big 12, this could cost them in the latter part of the season.