Texas Tech Big 12 Media Days Primer

A look at the hottest topics surrounding Texas Tech football ahead of Big 12 media days next week in Dallas.

Big 12 media days is on tap and Texas Tech will be one of the teams showcased Monday at the Omni Hotel in Dallas.

Media days are a signal to many the offseason is almost over and football will mercifully return soon.

The Red Raiders will be represented by a trio of seniors in defensive end Branden Jackson, center Jared Kaster and running back Deandre Washington. Of course, head coach Kliff Kingsbury will also take center stage.

With that in mind, here are some Texas Tech topics to look for come Monday.

Someone should probably dedicate a running count to how many questions Kingsbury will get regarding whether junior Davis Webb or sophomore Patrick Mahomes will open the season as the starter. It might also be interesting (or not) to see how creative he gets in deflecting the questions or whether he simply repeats the same answer over and over.

Either way, I do not expect Kingsbury to name a starter in Dallas and if he does RaiderPower.com is on record as saying it will be Mahomes. One good thing is after starting a true freshman behind center in 17 of his 25 games as head coach at Tech, Kingsbury's top three players on the QB depth chart all have at least a year of experience in the system.

Texas Tech's struggles on defense in 2014 has been well documented, including by this site. Among the lowlights was the Red Raiders finishing a Big 12 worst in scoring and rush defense.

Enter new defensive coordinator David Gibbs, who boasts more than 20 years experience coaching defense, which includes successful coordinator stints at Minnesota, Auburn and Houston along with NFL experience coaching defensive backs with the Broncos and Texans.

I expect Branden Jackson and Kingsbury to both be asked several questions about Gibbs and what the team is doing to turn around the defense.

The Red Raiders finished last in the Big 12 in penalty yards per game (89.2) and second from the bottom in turnover margin (-13) last season.

Kingsbury has stated several times his No. 1 priority this offseason was cleaning up the penalties and turnovers.

After playing several freshmen in key roles a season ago I expect the Red Raiders to improve in both areas due to experience alone, but until they do it will be a highly discussed topic and rightfully so.

One of of the more interesting topics surrounding Red Raider football is the rising clamor from fans to run the ball more. Much more in some cases. It is especially interesting considering Kingsbury's pedigree and the purported offensive philosophy when he arrived was to "air the mother#@$* out".

One of the things I felt Kingsbury did best from a coaching standpoint in an otherwise forgettable season was take advantage of numbers in the run game through his creativity with formations, tendencies and situations. I really liked some of his two-back and pistol sets. I hope and expect to see more of this moving forward.

Kingsbury has stated the plan is to indeed run the ball more often in 2015. The Red Raiders appear suited for it as they return four starters to a very good offensive line and leading rusher DeAndre Washington, who rushed for over 1,100 yards in 2014.

Tech also signed four-star recruits (Justin Stockton and Corey Dauphine) in consecutive classes, plus junior Quinton White and redshirt freshman Demarcus Felton were two of the most talked about players in the spring.

Of course, I still expect Tech to put up ridiculous numbers through the air.

Perhaps the more important question is will Kingsbury, the quarterback, running back and offensive line be confident enough to call and execute running plays in critical short-yardage and red zone situations? We'll see.

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