Photo By Steven Chapman

Texas Tech Offense Shines in Midland

RaiderPower.com senior writer Joe Yeager details how the Red Raiders performed and who stood out in the annual scrimmage in Midland on Saturday.

*To begin with, it was a perfect environment for Texas Tech football. The Permian Basin skies were cerulean blue, temperatures were in the lower 60s, and there wasn't a breath of wind. And the turnout for the scrimmage was the best it's been in the scrimmage's four-year history. I also want to give special notice of Ridin' Fearless, Glenwood Red Raider, Raiderpower and Denver Red Raider, four great Red Raiders and Raiderpower subscribers I had the pleasure of meeting in the stadium. We thoroughly appreciate your support.

*My general view of the scrimmage is that this edition of the Red Raiders is about what you'd expect. The offense is deadly and the defense, although it did make some big plays, is still a work in progress. And the key to Tech's success this year could be the number of turnovers the defense generates. This defense is unlikely to stonewall Power 5 offenses at the point of attack, but rather may have the ability to make just enough big plays to give the offense the opportunity to win games. And winning games is all that matters. If the defense surrenders 600 yards to Oklahoma but creates four turnovers and the Red Raiders win by a field goal in a shootout, nobody will be complaining.

*As you may have heard by now, Jett Duffey looks like the genuine article. Nic Shimonek didn't play in the scrimmage and Duffey got all the reps with the No. 2 offense. He made the most of them, showing surprisingly good command of the offense and very good accuracy with his throws. Indeed, his 50-yard shot to Derrick Willies for a touchdown at the expense of  Jahshawn Johnson and Keenon Ward may have been the play of the afternoon. After seeing Duffey's performance--and not knowing Nic Shimonek's current level of play--I suspect Duffey will not redshirt this year.

*The starters on the offensive line were as follows: Terrence Steele (LT), Paul Stawarz (LG), Tony Morales (C), Madison Akamnonu (RG), Baylen Brown (RT). Now bear in mind that when Justin Murphy returns to action he will return to the starting lineup the moment his conditioning allows. But in the meantime, Steele and Stawarz were impressive, particularly in the ground game. With the exception of Justin Stockton's scintillating 30-yard TD run on an option play, it seemed like the lion's share of Tech's rushing yardage came behind Steele and Stawarz.

*Speaking of Stockton, that long touchdown run shows why he will carry the ball but plenty, regardless of whether or not he's a permanent starter. On that run he demonstrated great vision, the ability to cut back against the grain, tackle-breaking (Gary Moore couldn't get him on the turf), and of course, speed.

*In addition to Stockton, Corey Dauphine and Demarcus Felton also had their moments. Dauphine, usually running off-tackle, had a very fine run of about 20 yards, and concluded that drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Felton may be Tech's best runner between the tackles. He has very quick feet and has a knack for making tacklers miss in tight quarters. Most of Felton's yardage in the scrimmage came inside.

*Defensively, the stars were Dakota AllenKolin Hill and Gary Moore. Allen, although burned badly for a 25-yard touchdown by Zach Austin on a crossing route, was all over the field making sure tackles. Moore generated a good pass rush, and also showed astonishing speed, very nearly chasing down Pat Mahomes from behind on a scramble early in the scrimmage. His athleticism is off the charts. And Hill was practically unstoppable. This is one highly touted transfer that will not wash out. Mark my words on that one.

* Ondre Pipkins did not play. And he showed no obvious signs of an injury. When he and D'Vonta Hinton become available, the guess is that Tech's defense will improve considerably.

*Payton Hendrix and Jah'Shawn Johnson were your starting safeties; Keenon Ward ran mostly with the twos. Both Ward and Johnson have considerable work to do in deep coverage. Both were tardy helping on long balls.

*The defense created two turnovers. 195-pound defensive end Jacarthy Mack caused a fumble which Lonzell Gilmore recovered, and Kisean Allen picked off No. 3 quarterback Payne Sullins, after the ball was tipped over the middle.

*Michael Barden is currently the No. 1 punter and he looked very good. The hang-time on his punts was phenomenal. Clayton Hatfield is the placekicker and he came up just short on a 49-yard field goal attempt that was the final play of the scrimmage.


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