5. Will Danny Amendola be a leader?
For the past 3 season, Amendola has been a solid contributor and has made big plays that were the differences in the Red Raiders walking away with a W. He made the big play in Lincoln in 2005 when he recovered the fumble from Nebraska to keep Cody Hodges' game winning drive alive.
Then there was the showdown in Lubbock with the Oklahoma Sooners. The Red Raider offense was marching down the field for the game winning TD when a Cody Hodges pass was tipped at the line. Amendola made a tremendous play for the ball and came down with it just over the first down line.
Amendola has shown a knack for making the big play but has yet to be asked to lead a young and inexperienced group of receivers. Will he be able to step into that leadership role and help the young guys adjust and play as effectively as their predecessors?
4. Can Chad Hill stay healthy?
The Lubbock Coronado native has shown a lot of promise throughout his career, and 2007 will be his opportunity to be the starting linebacker on the weakside. Unfortunately, Hill has been battling a hip injury and was forced to sit out spring practice.
In came sophomore Marlon Williams who had shown his speed and athleticism on kickoffs and was now practicing as the starting linebacker in place of Hill. Although Williams has shown great potential, it would be very beneficial to have an experienced player such as Hill to either man the starting spot or to provide quality depth at the position.
Like it or not, Coach Setencich's defense relies heavily on the players' knowledge of the defensive scheme, which leaves Hill in the best position to replace former starter Flether Session.
Will Hill be able to overcome his injuries and be the same playmaker he has been in the past?
3. Is Michael Crabtree as good as advertised?
Crabtree was forced to sit out last season because of a transcript issue coming out of high school, but everything is straightened out and he'll be donning the red and black next season.
Crabtree had a spectacular coming out party in the spring game, giving Red Raider fans a taste of what could be in store when he takes the field this year. Fans then started touting him as the next Michael Irvin, discussed if he would declare early for the NFL draft, and crowned him the best receiver to play under Mike Leach.
Now it's time to see what the Dallas Carter native can really do. Will he be able to build off his impressive performance during spring practice and carry it into next season?
2. Can Graham Harrell be more consistent?
Will Graham Harrell develop into a more consistent QB?
Overall, Harrell had a good
year for a sophomore playing his first season of Big 12 football. Red Raider
fans wanted a non-senior QB, but they didn't want the growing pains that come
with young players.
Last season Harrell showed flashes of brilliance with tremendous first halves against Big 12 opponents Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas A&M. There is no doubt that he has the ability to dominate the best in the Big 12, the question is whether or not he can do it on a consistent basis.
During the first halves of games against the Sooners, Aggies, and Longhorns, Harrell led the Red Raider offense to 79 points but only managed 7 during the second.
Can Graham remain effective when opponents make adjustments during halftime and take this same competitive fire into games against inferior opponents such as Colorado?
1. Who will provide depth at DT?
The Red Raiders have 2 solid starting defensive tackles in Rajon Henley and Richard Jones. The big question mark is which players are going to back them up and rotate in at the position as Coach Setencich likes to do.
Coming out of Spring Practice, it was sophomore Brian Jones and redshirt freshman Clint Stoffels. Tech is hoping to get help from 6'3, 290 pound incoming freshman Colby Whitlock, who came to Lubbock in playing shape and has been impressive early on.
The Red Raiders need to come out of Fall practice with 4 dependable guys who can consistently man the trenches. Will Lyle be able to use his standard rotation or will Henley and Jones be forced to play more snaps?
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