2011 Texas Tech Preview – Offense
Texas Tech WR Alex Torres
Texas Tech WR Alex Torres
Posted May 29, 2011

CollegeFootballNews.com 2011 Preview - Texas Tech Red Raider Offense

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Preview 2011 - Offense

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What You Need To Know: The offense might not have been all fireworks and nuttiness like it was in the Mike Leach era, but it still finished seventh in the nation in passing and 15th in total offense. And under the new coaching staff, there was actually some semblance of a ground game. There will be even more of a push for balance with a great recruiting class of backs to work with veterans Eric Stephens and Aaron Crawford behind a strong, veteran line, and there will be a real, live, normal tight end at times. The passing game will still rule, and now the spotlight is on Seth Doege to see if he can handle the work. The receiving corps is fine, but it needs a star to step up early on. Watch out for few tweaks with the Pistol formation being used from time to time.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Seth Doege
3-4, 58 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Eric Stephens
127 carries, 668 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Alex Torres
39 catches, 481 yds, 3 TD

Star of the offense: Junior WR Alex Torres
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior QB Seth Doege
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OT LaAdrian Waddle
Best pro prospect: Waddle
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Torres, 2) Waddle, 3) OT Mickey Okafor
Strength of the offense: Line, Receiver Options
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback Experience, Sure-Thing Star No. 1 WR


State of the Unit: What everyone's notion of what a Texas Tech quarterback should be is changing. While there will still be plenty of passes, there were 617 of them last year, it's not going to be the bomb away, throw, throw, throw, and throw offense of years past, but the quarterbacks on the roster came to Lubbock to put the ball in the air, and they're going to get their chances. Now the Red Raiders have to come up with an answer after Taylor Potts and his 35 touchdown passes is gone, as is strong backup option Steven Sheffield.

Junior Seth Doege was a big-time recruit in 2008 and was expected to be the next superstar in the high-octane passing attack, but he still has to win a quarterback battle and he has to be consistent. With a great arm, the 6-1, 200-pounder can put the ball anywhere on the field and can drive his throws deep without any problems, and now all he needs is a little more time and a little more live action after completing 3-of-4 passes for 58 yards in his limited game time last year and with 61 throws of work in 2009. The problem is that he hasn't seen regular work for five years, missing his final two years in high school hurt. However, his 2,439-yard, 27-touchdown season as a high school sophomore was enough for several top programs to get interested.

While Dodge didn't do anything this offseason to not be the No. 1 guy, 6-0, 211-pound sophomore Jacob Karam showed enough to provide a push for the gig. While he's not all that big, the top recruit of two years ago is a different sort of option for the attack with excellent athleticism and enough speed to add a rushing element to the equation. With his wheels, he also has a nice passing arm throwing for 3,291 yards and 38 touchdowns as a high school senior. Along with being a good all-around athlete, he's very smart and very poised.

Trying to get into the mix is Scotty Young, a 6-3, 198-pound redshirt freshman who was the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and a Parade All-American with 4,467 passing yards and 64 touchdown passes in his senior year. He has the arm and the decision-making ability to run the offense without a problem, but he's going to have to wait his turn to truly challenge for the starting job.

Watch Out For … A possible mix of options. With the offense utilizing a little bit of the Pistol, having more mobility under center would be nice. Doege is the main man, but Karam could play a role at times to add something different.
Strength: Help from the running game. Any quarterback at Texas Tech knows how to throw and knows how to wing the ball around the yard, but the starter isn't going to have to carry the entire attack like in years past. The coaching staff really and truly is going to incorporate a running game, and tight end, and other things to make life easier.
Weakness: Experience. Doege has seen a little time over his first two seasons, but he hasn't been a real, live starting quarterback since 2005. Karam and Young are good options, but they're green.
Outlook: It'll be an interesting pecking order. Doege has taken the No. 1 spot, but he doesn't have a ten-mile-wide margin over Karam, and Young might be the most accurate passer of the lot. Also in the mix is true freshman Michael Brewer , who got to school early, but he's not likely to see the light of day this year. The quarterbacks aren't going to have to do as much as they have in the past, but Doege will be in the spotlight.
Unit Rating: 7

Running Backs

State of the Unit: Texas Tech really and truly is going to run the ball after rushing for 141 yards per game and scoring 17 touchdowns. There will be even more of an emphasis with a little bit of a Pistol offense thrown into the mix, with the quarterback lining up three steps behind center and giving the backs a little room to move, and the Red Raiders have quick options to take over with Baron Batch and his 816 yards and five scores gone.

Junior Eric Stephens stepped up as a true freshman and became a nice reserve late in the season, and he became a key part of the rotation last year with 668 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns, while catching 33 passes for 271 yards and a score. At 5-8 and 192 pounds, he's small, can cut on a dime, and is insanely strong for his size. He saved his best season for last in 2010 with 126 yards and a score, and five catches, in the win over Northwestern, and now he'll get around 200 touches and should be the main man for the offense early on if he can hold up after suffering some shoulder issues this offseason.

If Stephens is the starter, then senior Aaron Crawford could be No. 1A in the mix. The 5-10, 205-pound veteran has had problems with turf toe and was all but out of the rotation last year, running just 19 times for 110 yards and a score, while catching four passes for 39 yards and a score, and now he'll be a much bigger factor as he'll get his chances to carry the ground game. He has the hands to be a nice safety valve, too.

The coaching staff made a big push to upgrade the running back situation this recruiting season, and it came up big with two fantastic prospects in Kenny Williams and Bradley Marquez , who not only fit the Texas Tech system, but also can be used as real, live running backs in a conventional system. Williams is a big, strong runner who can get between the tackles, and he has the balance and downhill ability to crank out good runs. Marquez can also be used as a receiver, while the 5-11, 185-pound Williams is a slippery back who can also be used as a slot receiver if needed.

Marquez will be moved around where needed, and 5-9, 183-pound DeAndre Washington is a pure running back who'll get his chances this summer. Also getting a long look in a variety of areas is Ben McRoy , a lightning fast do-it-all prospect who's only 5-9 and 160 pounds but can fly. He ran for 149 yards and two scores and caught a few passes last year, and now he'll be a jack-of-all-trades.

Watch Out For … even more of a ground game. The Red Raiders weren't afraid to run the ball throughout last year, and while the passing game will still take center stage, there's a chance the 437 carries could grow to well over 500 in a more balanced attack.
Strength: Quickness. All the backs can zip in and out of holes and everyone can catch. Like all runners, they want to get their chances to carry it, and they'll get their shots with more of a commitment and more space to move.
Weakness: Power. There's a lot of speed and a lot of flash, but there isn't anyone who can blast away for a powerful one yard. The backs are runners, but they're going to be in a bit of a hodge-podge system and could have a hard time being consistent.
Outlook: After finishing 115th in the nation in rushing two years ago, the ground game worked at times last year, even though it killed the consistency for the passing game in key moments. The veterans are there in Stephens and Crawford, but the talent is in the recruiting class. Don't be shocked if the depth chart changes by the week.
Unit Rating: 7


State of the Unit: As always, the Red Raiders have tremendous receivers, plenty of options, and lots of depth. The top targets of last year, Detron Lewis and Lyle Leong, are gone after catching 87 and 74 passes, respectively, and Leong's 19 touchdown catches won't easily be replaced, but there are more than enough options to step up and take over. The strength will be on the inside, but the outside targets should be fine in time. And yes, Texas Tech will really and truly use a tight end.

The team's leading returning receiver is junior Alex Torres , a 6-1, 199-pound veteran who finished third on the team with 39 catches for 481 yards and three scores. He'll get the first look at the Y after starting out his career on the outside. He was never right last year, having a hard time staying healthy, but when he's at full-tilt he's a fantastic talent who can be the No. 1 option. Not only does he cut on a dime and run precise routes, but he catches everything that comes his way.

If junior Darrin Moore doesn't have problems with a wrist injury, he'll likely be the other inside starter at the Z. At 6-4 and 210 pounds he has tremendous size and got a little work in with 15 catches for 117 yards and a score, but he'll be in a rotation with 6-3, 184-pound senior Tramain Swindall , a steady receiver who tied for fourth on the team with 33 catches for 271 yards and a score. He's not special and he doesn't come up with big plays considering his good speed, but he knows what he's doing and he doesn't make mistakes.

Looking to make a bigger impact is junior Austin Zouzalik , a 5-11, 191-pound quick option who's fine when he's 100%. Even though he was always dinged up, he made 31 catches for 432 yards and two scores averaging a team-leading 13.9 yards per grab. He's the main option at the H and can play anywhere on the inside, while 5-10, 200-pound junior Cornelius Douglas is a dangerous prospect who made 20 catches for 215 yards and a score. Potentially the team's best big-play option, he needs to get the ball on the move even more. Also finding a spot somewhere, possible at the Big H position, is true freshman Ronnie Daniels , the New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year with 6-1, 195-pound size and tremendous athleticism. He could be moved around to get him involved somewhere.

Is Jacoby Franks healthy? Easily the team's best returning option on the outside, the 6-0, 195-pounder has to get back on the field after missing the second half of last year with a broken foot. He caught 25 passes for 254 yards in seven games, and while he's not necessarily the home run hitter that the offense might like, he's a playmaker when he's able to go … if he can go full-tilt. If he's not ready, 6-0, 202-pound sophomore Eric Ward will get a longer look after catching six passes for 63 yards. One of the team's most talented receivers, he'll get more passes coming his way and he has the potential to be the breakout offensive player of the 2011 season. JUCO transfer Marcus Kennard will be involved with some of the team's best wheels along with 6-4, 185-pound size, but he battled with turf toe this offseason.

So how much will the Red Raider offense use a real tight end? 6-3, 233-pound Adam James , the center of the much-ballyhooed problems with Mike Leach, will go from being a receiver to tight end after catching two passes for 26 yards, but he might have a hard time seeing too much action with the expected emergency of sophomore Tony Trahan , a promising 6-5, 225-pound transfer from Rutgers who can do it all. A good athlete with nice hands, Trahan can be a three-down tight end with the hitting ability to be used in the running game, too. However, both James and Trahan are keeping the seat warm for Jace Amaro , the 6-5, 237-pound top prospect who could've gone anywhere. He has it all with size, speed, toughness and hands, and unlike the other options, he's a true tight end and will almost certainly be used right away.

Watch Out For … The tight end. The idea is to provide more of a big, steady safety valve for the quarterbacks in the passing game, but also to find more of a blocking option for the ground game. James and Trahan will be a part of the equation, but everyone will be waiting for Amaro.
Strength: Options. How many teams could lose their top two receivers who combined for 161 catches and be more than fine? The Red Raiders will be loaded on the inside and have plenty of players to try out to find the right mix, but there will be some concern for the …
Weakness: Outside. Tech will be fine and someone will step up and be a homerun hitter … maybe. The passing game only averaged 10.2 yards per catch last year and didn't have a play longer than 55 yards. Finding more deep plays will be a must.
Outlook: There isn't a Michael Crabtree in the bunch, and this is more of a collection of guys than a corps full of top-shelf playmakers, but as always, there are several good receivers and some excellent route runners. The key will be the emergence of a tight end to provide a new option, but finding steady production on the outside will be the key.
Unit Rating: 7

Offensive Line

State of the Unit: The potential is there for this to be the team's best offensive line in years. There's experience, size, and depth along with a talented nucleus to work around. While pass protection will always be the key to the Red Raider offense, this group will get more of a chance to do some pounding for the running game, it should be fantastic at it. Offensive line coach Matt Moore has the players to work with, and now the only question is whether or not everyone can stay healthy.

The star of the veteran crew should be senior Mickey Okafor at right tackle after earning Second Team All-Big 12 honors. At 6-6 and 305 pounds, he's a tall blocker with good quickness and pass blocking ability, and he could move over to the left side if needed. Smart and tough, he doesn't make mistakes and he's as steady as they come.

The hope is for junior LaAdrian Waddle to be healthy at left tackle and to be the anchor he's supposed to be. At 6-6 and 322 pounds, he's a huge blocker who can bury people in the running game and can move well enough to handle speedier pass rushers. Now he has to get healthy with a slight knee injury keeping him from doing too much this offseason. The Big 12 all-star slimmed down from his 350-pound size, but he managed to keep his strength. He'll be the one the ground game works behind when absolutely needed, but if he's not 100%, junior Terry McDaniel will be more than ready to step in. A spot starter throughout his career, he might be the team's best combination of size (6-6, 315 pounds) and athleticism. If he doesn't start on the left side, he could move to the right and the offense, or can go to guard, and he'll be more than fine.

The only concern on the strong line will be at center where senior Justin Keown is back after an okay, but not great season. The 6-4, 300-pounder is versatile enough to play guard if needed, and he might have to fight off 6-5, 294-pound senior David Neill and promising prospect Kyle Clark, who isn't as big as Keown, but has the upside to be the main man in the middle in 2012.

6-4, 322-pound left guard Lonnie Edwards has been a mainstay on the line for the last few seasons and fits the style of the offense and is the type of blocker the coaching staff is looking for. He can pound away for the ground game and has the strength to destroy anyone in his path. If he's not the team's best run blocker, he's second, while 6-6, 331-pound redshirt freshman James Polk is a promising, strong option at left guard but could work on the right side.

6-3, 314-pound junior Deveric Gallington slimmed down big-time and moves far better now at right guard. Extremely strong and a tough blocker, he's a natural for the interior and is at his best when he doesn't have to do more than blast away. Now he needs to shine game in and game out.

Watch Out For … The line to be among the best in the Big 12. It was a year of transition, and the front five came through just fine with one of the best running seasons in recent Red Raider history while doing a good job in pass protection. Now the group should be even better.
Strength: Experience. The starting five should be terrific as long as everyone stays healthy. The line was phenomenal in pass protection down the back stretch, and now it should jell into a tight, tough unit that could be terrific with a little more time.
Weakness: Consistent run blocking. Things were fine as the season went on, the Tech ended the year flirting with 2,000 yards on the ground, but it took a while to get going and it might still not be the best blasting line around. Center could be a relative weakness.
Outlook: How good is the Tech line? It's full of experience and returning starters, and there are still going to be fights because of some terrific, versatile options waiting in the wings. Waddle needs to be healthy and Keown needs a good year, but the line will be a major positive.
Unit Rating: 8

- 2011 Texas Tech Preview | 2011 Texas Tech Offense
- 2011 Texas Tech Defense | 2011 Texas Tech Depth Chart
- Texas Tech Previews  2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006