Ready to Shine- Offense

With 10 offensive starters back for the 2008 season, the Air Raid Offense is loaded and poised to make a run at the Big 12 South title. Last year, redshirt freshman Michael Crabtree burst onto the scene, leading the nation in receiving yards and becoming the first freshman to ever win the Biletnikoff Award. Who will be the breakout stars in 2008? RaiderPower takes a look…

Last season Michael Crabtree showed the Big 12 that he is a force to be reckoned with, punishing defenses that left him single covered. In 2008, teams' defensive schemes will be focused on trying to contain Crabtree, which should give a few other receivers the chance to really shine. Watch for Detron Lewis, who had a great spring and was stellar in the annual Red/Black Spring Game, to step up and punish defenses that focus too much on Crabtree. Detron led the receiving corps in the spring game, catching 7 balls for 93 yards.

Although he may still be a big rough around the edges, Lewis is shifty and able to pick up yards after the catch, a quality that Coach Leach believes is vital for his receivers to be successful. He was the only receiver to play as a true freshman in 2007, and with his speed and ability to make spectacular catches, is a sleeper that will surprise some teams in the Big 12 next year. He is also slotted to be a starting kickoff returner, and as long as he can hold on to the ball, should excel in that role as well.

After RB Shannon Woods was demoted late last season, true freshman Aaron Crawford stepped up to the plate and impressed Texas Tech fans and coaches alike, scoring 6 touchdowns in the final 4 games and showing that he can be effective both on the ground and as a short yardage receiver. With valuable game experience against quality opponents including UT, OU, and Virginia and a spring of solid workouts under his belt, Crawford looks primed to explode next year as a running threat in the Red Raiders' pass happy offense.

Crawford's greatest asset is his ability to overpower defenders and get yards after initial contact. And while Coach Leach and RB Coach Seth Littrell are still undecided they will name as the starting running back, Crawford looks to us to be the most likely candidate to win the job, especially when you consider that his effort in practice is second to none. QB Graham Harrell and Coach Leach have both sung Aaron's praises, explaining that his work ethic is what has set him apart. "You could argue that he plays harder than anyone on the team," Graham Harrell said. Leach added, "He does his job and plays incredibly hard. I think it's safe to say he plays harder than anybody."

For Detron Lewis and Aaron Crawford, 2008 promises to be the year where they can make a major impact for the Red Raiders. And with the Texas Tech football team hoping to make a major impact in the Big 12 and compete for a conference title, it should be a year full of excitement. RaiderPower.com will be there every step of the way to keep you informed with team and recruiting news. Watch for the second installment of "Ready to Shine" where we look at defenders who are on the edge of breaking out coming soon.



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