Question: Just how dynamic is WR/return man Jakeem Grant, who has 78 receptions for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns, and how have you seen defenses try to slow him down this season?
Answer: Grant may be the most elusive open field runner I have ever seen in person and his diminutive frame only helps in that regard. He is the only player in Red Raider history to throw a touchdown, rush for a touchdown, catch a pass for a touchdown and return a kick for a touchdown. In addition to all his impressive stats this season, Grant has climbed into the top five of many of Texas Tech's all-time record lists including receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and all-purpose yards. Grant is also now the most prolific kick returner in Red Raider history with 2,038 yards.
Question: Nationally, everyone looks at TTU as a pass-first offense. While that might be true, DeAndre Washington has been electric at RB this season rushing for 1,282 yards and 12 touchdowns. Was this expected and how is he getting it done?
Answer: Kliff Kingsbury promised numerous times last offseason they would run the football this season and feature DeAndre Washington. Dre and the offensive line was one of Tech's lone bright spots in 2014 so it's not really a shocker to most who follow the program. Washington is a terrific running back and one of the biggest team leaders both on and off the field. He's also had the benefit of running behind an experienced offensive line led by All-Big 12 left tackle Le'Raven Clark.
Question: Tech QB Patrick Mahomes can do a bit of everything. What is the strength of his game and where might he be a little vulnerable?
Answer: Without a doubt, his biggest asset is his ability to create extra time with his legs and find open receivers down field for huge gains. He'll take off and run for the sticks to move the chains in certain situations, but he really wants to pass first and run as a final option. What separates Mahomes from many others is after creating time with his legs he has a cannon to get the ball downfield in a hurry coupled with precise accuracy. As far as where he is vulnerable, he gets in trouble trying to do too much at times. He believes he can make every play and will throw the ball up for grabs unnecessarily sometimes instead of making the simple check down.
Question: Defensively for Tech, who are some names that UT fans should be aware of?
Answer: True freshman linebacker D'Vonta Hinton is the type of guy Texas doesn't recruit due his smaller stature, but is a good football player. As the season has moved on he has seen the field more and more. If Tech is going to slow down Texas' rushing attack at all, Hinton will have to play a good game Thursday. The one thing Tech has done a good job of on defense is create turnovers and defensive backs Jah'Shawn Johnson and J.J. Gaines lead the charge. Johnson has been a playmaker in the Red Raiders' secondary with 74 tackles, two interceptions, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Gaines has also made 74 stops, leads Tech with four interceptions, has recovered two fumbles and forced two.
Question: What's the pulse surrounding Kilff Kingsbury from TTU and its fan base. He's 18-18 right now at Tech. Is his seat getting warm at all or is he OK?
Answer: Everybody wants Kingsbury to succeed. The guy is well-liked by administrators, the fan base and the student body. Honestly, if you had asked me this before the win over Kansas State the answer would have been very different. That's how big it was. It made Tech bowl eligible and ended some pretty ugly streaks both against Kansas State and for futility in November which began before Kingsbury's arrival, but had continued under him. I wouldn't say his seat is even warm at this point, but check back with me after the game.
Photo By Steven Chapman