2013 Texas Tech Preview - Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Texas Tech Red Raider Offense
Texas Tech Red
Preview 2013 - Offense
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Texas Tech Offense
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What You Need To Know: You know what's coming. Texas Tech didn't exactly get away from the passing game last season, leading the Big 12 averaging 356 yards per game, but now the attack is going to be ramped up in a big way with the quarterbacks being allowed to do even more. Former Texas Tech star quarterback Sonny Cumbie and co-offensive coordinator Eric Morris will speed things up and try to generate even more big plays. Michael Brewer doesn't look the part, but he's a smart, accurate quarterback with a great receiving corps to work with. The line needs a little time, but it should be fine once the starting five is settled on. The backfield is full of typical ultra-quick, athletic Red Raider running backs.
Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Michael Brewer
Passing: Michael Brewer
34-48, 375 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Kenny Williams
143 carries, 824 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: Eric Ward
82 catches, 1,053 yds, 12 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Brewster
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore C Jared Kaster
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Eric Ward
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Ward, 2) WR/TE Jace Amaro, 3) Brewer
Strength of the offense: Passing Game, Receiving
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback Experience, Line Depth
There's supposedly a quarterback battle, but it's Michael Brewer's to lose. The 6-1, 183-pound sophomore isn't all that big, and he doesn't have a huge arm, but he's smart, steady and has a nice enough gun to push the ball all over the field like the offense needs him to do. Unlike most Red Raider passers of the past, he adds more of a rushing element with great quickness in and out of the pocket and the burst to take advantage of openings for a big gain here and there. With a good command of the offense, he should be the leader for the next few years, but he still has to prove himself even after getting a little bit of work in completing 34-of-48 passes for 375 yards and four scores with no picks, and he ran for 20 yards.
Is true freshman Davis Webb ready to be a factor right away? He's being given every opportunity to take over the starting job from the word go with 6-4, 195-pound size and a huge arm. He might need to add a little bit of bulk, but he's an athletic runner who can spread the ball around well with great decision-making skills and a maturity beyond his years. More than anything else, he's going to do everything right. He'll have to be kicked out of the practice facility and he's going to make himself better. However, he still needs seasoning.
6-3, 216-pound redshirt freshman Clayton Nichols isn't out of the hunt quite yet. The star recruit in last year's class has the right size and the perfect arm for the job, able to stretch the field without a problem and with the basic skills to be what the offense needs. However, he has to be phenomenal in practices to make a big statement.
Watch Out For … Brewer to take the job and not let it go. Kingsbury seems to praise the sophomore whenever he gets the chance, and it doesn't seem like the program is ready to throw a true freshman to the wolves right away. However, Webb is being given every chance.
Strength: Passing. Of course. It's Texas Tech, so the starting quarterback is going to complete 70% of his throws, wing it around for over 4,000 yards, and give defenses fits from time to time. The passing game kept on rolling through the Tuberville era, but Kingsbury is going to shift the thing into hyperdrive.
Weakness: Consistency. It's always an issue for this attack. When it's on, watch out, but when it bogs down especially in key situations, it fizzles and fizzles fast. Seth Doege was a good, smart veteran, and it's going to take a little time and a few growing pains to replace him.
Outlook: Eventually, the passing game is going to go to another level. Kingsbury might not have Johnny Manziel under center, but Brewer and Webb will run a little bit to go along with the high-octane passing attack. It'll be fun.
Unit Rating: 7.5
The running game always takes a back seat in the Texas Tech attack, but the talent is there to be effective within the system and reliable when needed. 5-9, 219-pound junior Kenny Williams has good flash, toughness in the interior, and can catch the ball a bit leading the team with 824 rushing yards and five scores while catching 16 passes for 163 yards and a score. While he's not a workhorse, he proved he could handle the ball around 15 times a game and did a good job of fitting what the system needed.
Back in the equation is sophomore DeAndre Washington, a 5-8, 182-pound receiver/running back who suffered a knee injury late in 2011 and was out all of last year. While he's not big, he's a good, strong runner who ran for 366 yards and three scores to go along 19 catches for 109 yards. He fits the Texas Tech mold with terrific quickness and nice hands.
5-7, 197-pound redshirt freshman Quinton White is a Texas Tech-like running back from College Station with the prerequisite speed, quickness and hands. Built for either an option attack – he was wanted by all the military schools – or a spread offense able to get into the open field, he should shine when he gets his chances in space.
Watch Out For … Tyler Middleton, a JUCO transfer from Navarro JC with blazing speed and home run hitting ability. The 6-0, 180-pound blazer could be moved to receiver just to get his wheels on the field, but he's mostly going to be a part of the running back 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.
Weakness: The offense. For what Texas Tech does, the backs should be more than fine and they should be able to produce when needed. However, the running game will also finish last in the Big 12 again.
Outlook: Don't go by mass stats when it comes to the Red Raider running backs. All that matters is yards per carry, and as long as the backs are above five yards per crack and making some big plays with the passing game from time to time, they'll be doing their job. Williams and the backs will be effective.
Unit Rating: 7
Gone is Darrin Moore, who led the team with 92 catches for 1,032 yards and 13 scores, but No. 2 man Eric Ward is back after coming up 82 grabs for 1,053 yards and 12 scores highlighted by an 11-catch, 161-yard, two score day against Kansas State, a 12-catch, 180-yard day against Kansas and a three touchdown performance against TCU. The 6-0, 204-pounder good for around 13 yards per grab, but he doesn't crank up the big plays on a regular basis; he's more of a reliable midrange target. One of the team's most talented receivers over the last few seasons, he upped his game last year and now should flirt with a 100-grab campaign.
Back as sort of a big receiver/tight end target on the inside is 6-5, 257-pound junior Jace Amaro, a still-emerging player who suffered a big upper body injury last season that kept him out for most of the second half of the season. When he was on, he was deadly catching 25 passes for 409 yards and four touchdowns in just seven games of work. Big, quick and a matchup problem, he has NFL upside if he can put together an effective full season.
Part running back, part receiver, 5-11, 201-pound junior Bradley Marquez turned into purely a receiver last season catching 16 passes for 172 yards in just six games of work before getting knocked out in the second half of the year. Ultra-reliable, he can work in a variety of ways and a variety of positions with good hands and great route-running ability. He'll be backed up by 6-0, 184-pound redshirt freshman Reginald Davis, a dangerous high school running back who tore off 1,915 yards as a senior with 35 scores. A huge get for the program, he has all the tools to become a go-to target after taking a redshirt season.
Sophomore Jakeem Grant is an ultra-quick 5-6, 163-pound jitterbug who scoots in and out of traffic and is a nightmare to cover one on one. He turned into a terrific short-range playmaker averaging just 8.7 yards per catch but finishing fourth on the team with 33 grabs for 287 yards and three scores. He didn't have any blow-up games, but he was steady. Working into the rotation is running back Sadale Foster, a 5-7, 187-pound senior who finished third on the team with 451 yards and three scores while catching 18 passes for 88 yards. Now he'll get the ball in a variety of ways including as a kick returner.
Watch Out For … Dylan Cantrell, the best of a massive haul of new receivers. There's lots and lots of talent coming in from all shapes and sizes, but Cantrell is the potential star of the show with 6-2, 202-pound size and tremendous tools. Very physical and very tough, he's a good hitter who can force his way open by bullying the smaller defensive backs.
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 now the production should be even stronger with so many good options to play around with.
Weakness: Proven quarterback. There's talent under center with Michael Brewer or Davis Webb, but there's going to be a transition and there's going to be a wee bit of an adjustment as the Kingsbury offense ramps things up a bit.
Outlook: As always, the Texas Tech receiving corps will put up massive numbers and should fill in the blanks without any problem. Moore might be gone, but with the reemergence of Amaro and with Marquez and Grant about to do more, cranking up the production won't be a problem. With a ton of talent on the way, the shelves are fully stocked.
Unit Rating: 8
The line did a fantastic job in pass protection last season, but now there's going to be a little bit of movement to make the right pieces fit. 6-5, 303-pound sophomore Le'Raven Clark was a top prospect and a great get for the program last year, but it took him a little while to get the hang of things. Problem solved. He has the size and quickness to be the starting left tackle for the next three years after starting last year at right guard.
With Clark moving over, 6-6, 284-pound junior Beau Carpenter will get the first look at right guard after working last season at left guard. While he's a veteran and he has proven himself, he's a bit of a tweener with the size of a tackle but not enough quickness to handle the outside. However, he works well on the interior and could still slip to tackle if needed.
Sophomore Tony Morales will step in at left guard with 6-3, 302-pound size and a little bit of experience. While he's not a huge mauler for the interior, and he's not going to blast over anyone, he's very quick and very promising; he fits what the offense does. Bulked up, he's a big athlete for the interior. He'll also see time at center and could take over the job if sophomore Jared Kaster struggles. The 6-3, 271-pounder saw time in almost every game and was a key part of the rotation, but now the gig is his. A great recruit, he was one of the top center prospects in the country last season, but he's not bulky. Fortunately, he's expected to grow into a terrific technician.
6-6, 280-pound redshirt freshman Trey Kennan is a fantastic prospect at right tackle with the athleticism to eventually start on the left size. He needs to add a little more bulk and functional strength, but he's great on the move and should be excellent in pass protection. 6-5, 275-pound senior Rashad Fortenberry came in as a JUCO transfer last season from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC with the potential to work at either tackle spot even though he was a guard at the lower level. While he's not quite strong enough to be an every down anchor, he's a solid, reliable veteran.
Watch Out For … Poet Thomas and Cody Hayes, two great-looking tackle prospects who'll be the near future of the line. The 6-6, 295-pound Thomas comes in from Michigan where he was a solid defensive lineman, but now he'll make the transition. The 6-6, 250-pound Hayes was given the full court press by Oklahoma, and the talent is there, but now he needs to hit the weights and bulk up a bit.
Strength: Versatility. The Red Raider linemen aren't necessarily interchangeable, but several can move around where needed to in order to get the five best blockers on the field at once. The entire line will be a work in progress, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Weakness: Physical power. It's a problem for the entire line. By design, the Texas Tech line is built to be athletic and pass protect, but it would be nice to be able to blast away for the ground game once in a while. This line isn't necessarily built to do that.
Outlook: The front five turned into a bit of a nice surprise last year. As long as it's keeping the quarterback upright, it'll be doing its job. It's a young, YOUNG line with four underclassmen likely starting and growing into their roles. The line will be fine now, but it'll be a killer next year.
Unit Rating: 6.5
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Texas Tech Offense
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