5 Reasons Texas Tech Will Struggle

Texas Tech opens fall camp next week and the season is just around the corner. Previously, RaiderPower.com looked at five factors which could propel the Red Raiders to a big season. The following is the opposite hypothetical, a look at what could ruin it.

Texas Tech hasn't posted back-to-back losing seasons since 1984-85 and has endured just two losing campaigns in the past two decades.

One of those being the debacle that was the 2014 season which saw Texas Tech finish 4-8, it's worst record in over 30 years. The good news is history tells us the Red Raiders will bounce back in a major way.

But what if they don't? The following factors could lead to a disastrous 2015 season:

The Schedule
The biggest challenge facing Texas Tech is simply the way its schedule is set up. First off, there are no breaks from opening day on Sept. 5 up until Nov. 21. That's 11 games in a row.

Then there's the early gauntlet. The Red Raiders open with home games against Sam Houston State and UTEP before heading to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas, who seems to be everybody's dark horse pick in the vaunted SEC West.

That early test is followed up by the Big 12 opener against TCU, the preseason pick to defend its conference co-title. The Horned Frogs will likely be ranked in the top 3 then, but at least the game will be at the Jones.

Then the Red Raiders travel to Arlington for a matchup with Baylor, another likely top five opponent and defending Big 12 co-champ.

Mercifully, the Red Raiders get a break with back-to-back contests against perennial cellar dwellers Iowa State and Kansas.

Then it gets real again. Tech travels to Norman to take on Oklahoma, hosts Oklahoma State the following week on Halloween, before heading east to play West Virginia in Morgantown and then returning home to the Jones for Kansas State on Nov. 14.

The aforementioned bye finally comes before Tech closes the regular season against Texas on Thanksgiving in Austin, where the Red Raiders haven't won since 1997.

Tech gets another bye week the first week of December for final exams.

The Quarterback Situation
Texas Tech returns a pair of experienced quarterbacks in junior Davis Webb and sophomore Patrick Mahomes. They both have put up big numbers when given the opportunity and were actually listed as a reason for optimism in the previous story detailing how Tech could have a monster season.

While it is true the Red Raiders appear to have a better situation at quarterback than it has in a long time, things could also go south in a hurry.

For now, everyone is saying the right things about the quarterback competition, but several things could go wrong. First off, Kingsbury could pick the wrong guy and not only risk losing games, but the locker room.

Another mismanagement would be for Kingsbury to flip flop, constantly yanking one of the guys for the other after every mistake. I heard that Mahomes and Webb were actually alternating every snap in practice, not every drive. That got my attention.

I fully expect the quarterback position to be a major strength in 2015 and for Kingsbury to push the right buttons. Kingsbury said at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas last week he plans on naming a starter fairly early in fall camp and that he would not have a quick hook with whoever he names.

But if the season starts slipping away Kingsbury, Mahomes and Webb will likely be the first ones blamed.

Inexperienced Coaching
Texas Tech was among the very worst in the nation in both penalties and turnovers. Ask any football fan or professional for that matter, worth their salt what that tells them about the team and they will say it is a reflection of poor coaching.

To be fair, Tech was bad in those areas before Kingsbury's arrival, but he certainly has had no positive effect in those two critical areas.

Bizarre penalties for duplicate jersey numbers and sideline infractions nearly cost the Red Raiders games last season as well.

Webb's sophomore slump also falls at Kingsbury's feet as quarterback coach.

Everyone knows Kingsbury is taking his first stab as head coach and he's still young, but Year 3 needs to be a big step forward for him and his mostly young staff. Hiring David Gibbs as defensive coordinator should help in this regard greatly. He possesses over 20 years coaching experience including multiple successful stints as defensive coordinator.

All it takes is one or two coaching blunders to ruin a promising season, though and the staff still has a lot to prove.

Lack of Depth in Key Areas
One of the biggest problems the coaching staff has faced since arriving prior to the 2013 season is a lack of depth up and down the roster. The coaches have addressed many need areas through recruiting, but are still developing that talent.

That being said, Tech is still very thin at offensive line. The Red Raiders return a very good core of starters, who if they remain healthy should be one of the strengths of the team. After that core it gets dicey as the Red Raiders only had seven scholarship linemen for spring ball.

Tech has added a monster 2015 offensive line class to the roster and some experience in Houston graduate transfer Emeka Okafor, but until we see how the backups perform on Saturday, depth looks shaky.

Depth at receiver is also a concern, but a solid 2015 class expects to make a big impact this season to help augment returning playmakers Devin Lauderdale, Jakeem Grant, Ian Sadler and Dylan Cantrell. It's always scary to rely on true freshmen to play key roles, even as backups.

One or two injuries to either position could be tough to overcome this season.

Futile Defense
The defense. It has been the elephant in the room for years, especially recently. Most Red Raider fans have been blasted with all the historically bad statistics from last season so I will refrain from doing so again.

Without glancing at the stats one can look back at the 2014 season and remember the helplessness one felt at the beginning of each defensive possession knowing the opposing team was going to likely march down the field and score. Again.

Obviously, the futility took its toll on the morale of the team and fan base. It goes without saying Texas Tech must field some defensive playmakers this season and find a way to get off the field at least in critical situations or the whole team will likely struggle again in 2015.

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