2012 Texas Tech Preview - Offense
Texas Tech WR Eric Ward
CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Texas Tech Red Raider Offense
Texas Tech Red
Preview 2012 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: Consistency. That's the biggest issue for an offense that will once again put up tons of yards while winging the ball all over the yard, but the production has to be a lot steadier. Veteran quarterback Seth Doege should crank out another 4,000-yard season, but Michael Brewer is a rising star who could push for time. The top targets from last year are getting over injuries, but Darrin Moore is on the verge of superstardom. The running game will be a problem with Eric Stephens and DeAndre Washington suffering knee injuries last year, and the O line could be a major issue if it's not far more physical than it was in spring ball. It'll all come together and the offense will eventually be good enough to crank out 500 yards a game, but it has to do it week-in-and-week-out.
Star of the offense: Senior QB Seth Doege
Passing: Seth Doege
389-581, 4,004 yds, 28 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Eric Stephens
108 carries, 565 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Eric Ward
84 catches, 800 yds, 11 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior C/OG Deveric Gallington
Unsung star on the rise: Senior WR Darrin Moore
Best pro prospect: Moore
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Moore, 2) Doege, 3) OT LaAdrian Waddle
Strength of the offense: Passing, Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Healthy Running Backs, Physical O Line
Everyone was waiting for Seth Doege to get his chance and get his turn in the Red Raider offense, and while it's a bit too strong to say he disappointed, like the rest of the team, he wasn't consistent enough and he didn't come up with enough big plays in key moments. The 6-1, 200-pound senior isn't all that big, but he has a nice arm, good command of the offense, and is a terrific leader for the offense. He can drive throws all over the field, and has a good touch on the short-to-midrange passes. More than anything else, he's fearless when has to try to fit a throw into a tight window – evidenced by the great performance against Oklahoma.
On the year he completed close to 69% of his passes for 4,004 yards with 28 touchdowns and ten picks, highlighted by the 441-yard, four score game against the Sooners. Mobile enough to get by, he ran for four scores and finished with 46 net yards rushing. He hit the 300-yard mark nine times, and threw for 400 three times, but for all the yards and for all the good things he did, the offense just didn't move well enough over the second half of the season.
With backup Jacob Karam transferring to Memphis, redshirt freshman Michael Brewer is the main man in terms of the backup situation and might be the future of the program. At 6-0 and 182 pounds he's not all that big, but he has a live arm and might be the best running quarterback the program has had in a long, long time. He has the gun needed to run the Red Raider attack, but he adds an extra element with his speed. With a good enough command of the offense, he should be able to step in without a problem.
On the way is Clayton Nicholas, a top prospect who signed on early with 6-3, 205-pound size and a rocket arm. He fits the Texas Tech quarterback mold, but he has a better deep arm than most Red Raider passers. It'll be a shock if he doesn't redshirt, but he'll be in the hunt for time next year.
Watch Out For … a tremendous year from Doege. Even after a year under center he's still getting warmed up. Before last year he hadn'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.
Strength: Passing. It's Texas Tech so the yards and the numbers are going to be there. Doege has a year of starting experience and he should have an even better command of the nation's No. 7 passing attack. The offense will put up well over 4,000 passing yards again.
Weakness: Consistency. The yards and stats were impressive, but Doege simply wasn't the same quarterback from one week to the next. He's not a fiery leader and he's incredibly hard on himself after a mistake, but he has to maintain an even keel and be the steady hand everything works around.
Outlook: The Red Raiders are set now with Doege an established playmaker who should turn a corner and be a bit more consistent and stronger. Brewer is a nice backup option who might get in now and then to add a little speed to the mix. The quarterbacks will get help from the running game, but they have to be the ones to run the show.
Unit Rating: 8
The Red Raiders have a veteran back to add a little bit of balance to the attack, but will Eric Stephens be able to stay healthy? He's the school's all-time leader in kickoff returns and yards, and last year he started off establishing himself as a nice part of the attack with 565 yards and eight touchdowns in the first five games, but he suffered a dislocated knee and was done for the season. At 5-8 and 195 pounds the senior is a small, shifty runner who can catch, with 63 career grabs for 458 yards and three scores, but after running for 100 yards in four of the first five games, his worth is as a runner. However, he has to be healthy, and that's a big if. There's absolutely no guarantee that he'll be ready to go .
5-7, 182-pound sophomore DeAndre Washington is a pure running back who took over a bulk of the work when Stephens went down and ran for 366 yards and three scores to go along with 19 catches for 109 yards. He fits the Texas Tech mold with terrific quickness and nice hands, but like Stephens he has to be healthy after suffering a knee injury that knocked him out late in the year.
The pressure will be on senior SaDale Foster to carry more of the load with Stephen and Washington still iffy. The 5-6, 192-pound former JUCO transfer is electric and dangerous whenever he gets the ball in his hands. He hasn't been used yet at a returner, but he could be a terrific option on kick and punts after lighting it up at Riverside JC in California.
Will Bradley Marquez be a running back or a receiver? The 5-10, 183-pound sophomore is more of a runner by nature, but he ended up at H-Back last year catching 25 passes for 240 yards and a score. However, with so much uncertainty in the backfield he might be needed in the backfield.
Watch Out For … Foster. The coaching staff was holding its breath with the running game this offseason, and there are still concerns, but Foster showed off enough to potentially be the No. 1 back. At the very least he'll be a key part of the rotation.
Strength: Smallish, quick backs. As always, the Red Raiders are stocked with small, quick backs who can make big things happen with the ball in their hands. They can all catch and they can all cut on a dime and move, however …
Weakness: There aren't a lot of sure-thing options. Washington and Stephens are still trying to get healthy, and the suspension and transfer of Ronnie Daniels, possibly the most talented back on the lot, is really, really disappointing. Kenny Williams is an okay option, but he has some off-the-field problems of his own after being arrested for felony credit card abuse.
Outlook: If everyone is healthy, the Texas Tech running game will be a factor. Stephens was a terrific runner over the first half of last year before getting hurt, but the injury might have happened just early enough to make him a factor again. Fortunately, Foster looks like the real deal and is ready to handle a bulk of the load. The rating is assuming Stephens will be back.
Unit Rating: 7
The Red Raiders needed a No. 1 receiver to emerge, and while junior Eric Ward might not have been dominant, he led the team with 84 catches for 800 yards and nine scores. At 6-0 and 201 pounds, he has decent size and the speed to handle himself at the X, but he doesn't crank out big deep plays. One of the team's most talented targets, he finished with a flourish catching 16 passes for 151 yards and two scores against Baylor, but that was his only 100-yard game of the season. With eight of his touchdown grabs coming in the first five games, he needed to close strong.
is Alex Torres going to be ready? The team's second leading receiver suffered a torn ACL late in the year, but he still finished with 51 catches for 616 yards and four scores. While he wasn't exactly consistent, he blew up in the middle of the year catching 20 passes for 215 yards and a score in a two-game span against Texas A&M and Kansas State, and he caught four passes for 94 yards and three scores in the win over Oklahoma. Staying healthy has been an issue throughout his career, but when he's right he's a good veteran who can stretch the field.
Senior Darrin Moore stepped up his play this offseason and looked like a dominant option whose ready to be a major playmaker. He finished third on the team with 47 caches for 671 yards and eight scores, lighting up New Mexico for three scores and catching 12 passes against Texas State, but he was banged up in the middle of the year and couldn't quite get his groove back. At 6-4 and 214 pounds he has great size and the hands to suck in everything that comes his way.
Part running back and part receiver, Bradley Marquez is needed more in the offensive backfield, but when he was used as a receiver this spring he showed he's ready to do even more no matter where he lines up. He's as reliable as they come and will work in a variety of ways after making 26 catches for 240 yards and a score, while 5-6, 151-pound redshirt freshman Jakeem Grant is ultra-quick and might grow into a playmaker on the inside.
5-11, 175-pound junior Javon Bell was a JUCO All-American and has the speed to be one of the team's most dangerous playmakers. He can fill in at the X and be turned loose deep, while redshirt freshman Derek Edwards is a promising midrange target with 6-1, 171-pound size and a nice ability to get open.
Tight end will be a major concern unless 6-5, 246-pound sophomore Jace Amaro is back. Arrested on charges of credit card abuse, his status, to put it mildly, is in doubt after catching seven passes for 57 yards and two scores. The team's most talented tight end, his absence would hurt, but the Red Raiders have several receivers to pick up the slack.
Watch Out For … Moore. Ward and Torres are banged up, but even if they're 100% it's Moore who appears ready to blossom into the star of the receiving corps. He's the team's most talented target.
Strength: The offense. Yes, it takes players to make the system go, but as long as a capable target does his job, the passing game will click. The Red Raiders will spread it around as always, and this should be one of the team's strongest units even with a few concerns among the returning starter.
Weakness: Tight end. Last year the idea was to create more of a role for the tight end, and Amaro and Adam James turned out to be factors. However, with James gone and Amaro in trouble, the offense will most likely go with an extra wideout most of the time
Outlook: There might be major question marks, but the emergence of Moore as more of a star should make the passing game shine. There are several nice prospects waiting for their turn to shine, and there will be lots and lots of shifting around to come up with the right combination. The production will come no matter who's filling the holes.
Unit Rating: 7.5
The team's top offensive lineman will once again be senior LaAdrian Waddle, a 12-game starter at left tackle with 6-6, 332-pound size and nice athleticism. He moves well for his size, but he's at his best when he can line up and bury his man. While he'll work on the left side, he could have a nice future at the next level as a guard or at right tackle. Staying healthy is a must after suffering a few dings and bruises over his career, and keeping his weight in check is always going to be an issue, but he's in a salary drive.
Back on the other side at right tackle is 6-6, 328-pound senior Terry McDaniel, a spot starter throughout the first part of his career before taking over a starting spot. He started the first three games of the season at center before moving out to right tackle, and while he could move back inside if needed, and with center an issue going into the season, he's better and more useful on the outside.
Justin Keown turned in a nice season at center, and now it'll be up to 6-3, 321-pound senior Deveric Gallington to take over after spending most of last year at right guard. He started in the middle against Iowa State before moving back to guard, but now he'll be needed as the anchor of the line. He's extremely strong and he's a tough blocker, but he has to keep his weight in check and he has to learn the finer points. It's going to take a little bit of time.
With Gallington likely to move, the guard situation is going to take a while to come together. 6-6, 291-pound sophomore Beau Carpenter is built like a tackle, but he's quick on the interior and got a start against Iowa State. He's not a mauler, but he's versatile and should lock down one of the guard jobs. Also battling for one of the inside spots is Alfredo Morales, a 6-3, 309-pound sophomore who bulked up in a big way and should be ready to grow into the job. He's going to need a little while, though, and was shoved around a bit this offseason.
Redshirt freshman Le'Raven Clark is a top prospect and a great pickup for the program, and eventually he'll be a tackle. He'll get a long look at the right tackle job, but he could fill in on the left side for Waddle if there are any injury problems. However, he struggled way too much this offseason and might not be ready for primetime quite yet.
A possible answer out of the box could be JUCO transfer Rashad Fortenberry, a 6-4, 271-pound tackle out of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC who can work on either side. In a desperate pinch he could move inside – he played guard early on in his JUCO career – but he's a tackle.
Watch Out For … Gallington. The team needs him at center, but if the guards don't produce and they struggle early on, he might have to over back to right guard and then there will be a scramble on the inside.
Strength: Size. Texas Tech values pass blockers, but it also always finds massive linemen who are nightmares to get around. The coaches have done a good job of getting everyone to slim down a bit, but this is a massive line that should be physical, but …
Weakness: Being physical. The line was destroyed in spring ball by the defensive line. While the defensive front should be better, it was among the weakest in college football last year. It's more of a seasoning problem than a strength one, but it could be a while before everything comes together.
Outlook: The line has a little bit of experience and it should turn out to be fine in time, but it might be a little bit to come up with the right combination to put together the right starting five. There are just enough good options to play around with, and the pass blocking will eventually be a plus, but this is a work in progress.
Unit Rating: 6
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