Foes to Know: Central Arkansas

RaiderPower.com is taking a closer look at Texas Tech's 12 regular season football opponents in 2014. Senior writer Joe Yeager and publisher Jarret Johnson will each spotlight a player who could pose problems for the Red Raiders. One will be on offense and the other will be from the defense. First up is Central Arkansas.

Texas Tech opens the 2014 season by hosting Central Arkansas Aug. 30 at Jones AT&T Stadium.

The Bears finished the 2013 season 7-5 and open the Steve Campbell era in Lubbock. Campbell takes over the UCA program after successful head coaching stints at Delta State and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Campbell is replacing Clint Conque, who resigned in December following 14 seasons at the helm of the Bears' program.

The following is a look at a couple talented players Campbell inherited who could give the Red Raiders fits.

Offensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTSCOUT
Dezmin LewisWRSRMcKinney, TX6-4212Jarret Johnson


Texas Tech's unproven secondary is one of the most pressing questions facing the coaching staff heading into the 2014 season and it will be tested by a gifted athlete right away in the form of Central Arkansas senior receiver Dezmin Lewis.

The North Mesquite (TX) product is big (6-foot-4, 212 pounds), experienced and productive. Lewis led the Bears in every major receiving category last season with 50 catches for 721 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games. That was after posting 56 receptions for 616 yards and six scores in 12 games the previous season as a sophomore.

Central Arkansas will probably start senior Ryan Howard (5-11, 194), who threw for 1,848 yards, 18 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2013, behind center, but don't be surprised if junior Taylor Reed (6-3, 215) plays some as well.

My guess is Tech will match 6-foot-2 corner Justis Nelson on Lewis to open the game and mix some zone coverage in later, bracketing him with a safety behind for help.

Defensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTSCOUT
Jonathan WoodardDEJRBrentwood, TN6-6270Joe Yeager


Texas Tech left tackle Le'Raven Clark draws a tough assignment right off the bat in 2014 as he will square off against possibly the best player on the Central Arkansas roster.

Jonathan Woodard (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) is a specimen at defensive end, and he plays like he looks. He is currently on the College Football Performance Award watch list for defensive linemen. The CFPA, incidentally, is an organization that seeks to bestow awards by using scientific measures designed to objectively determine the players who most help their teams win. Based upon his performance thus far, Woodard is a worthy candidate for this award.

In 2013, Woodard was third on the team in tackles with 49. He also had 10.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. And he didn't just feast on Southland Conference competition either. Against the Colorado Buffaloes he recorded a sack, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry.

Woodard is certainly a player Texas Tech's pass-heavy offense will have to account for.

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