2014 Texas Tech Preview What You Need To Know
Texas Tech WR Jakeem Grant
Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know Texas Tech (Getty Images)
2014 Texas Tech Preview
What You Need To Know...
Texas Tech Preview
What You Need To Know About The Offense: As always, the Red Raider offense is going to bomb away and get the passing game moving, and even without top TE Jace Amaro and leading WR Eric Ward, there are more than enough weapons for QB Davis Webb to work with. The backfield is sound with options to balance things out a bit from time to time behind a veteran line that welcomes back four starters, but it’s all about Webb – and he has to stay healthy. There isn’t anyone ready to go behind him, but as last year showed, the coaching staff is able to plug in options and make the passing game go. Cutting down on turnovers is a must, and hitting 400 yards passing is vital considering the defense should be a work in progress.
What You Need To Know About The Defense: It’s going to take some work. Great against the pass and rough against the run, the defense was fine early in the year, but struggled mightily when it came time to deal with the better offenses. For a team used to coaching turnover on a consistent basis, getting defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt back is a big plus – now he needs players. The linebacking corps should be solid with enough veterans and options to get by, but the interior of the line has to hold up better against the power teams and the secondary has to come up with three new starters. Finding a pass rusher to replace the production of Kerry Hyder, Will Smith and Dartwan Bush shouldn’t be that hard, but no matter who’s getting into the backfield, the D needs to generate more than the 21 sacks it came up with last season.
Players You Need To Know
1. OT Le'Raven Clark, Jr.
It was an off year for the Texas Tech line in pass protection, but Clark was fantastic starting every game at left tackle and doing a terrific job handling the Big 12’s better speed rushers. At 6-5 and 320 pounds he has great size and a terrific frame, and he’s a bull when it comes to pounding away for the ground game when needed. A top prospect and a great get for the program, and he has lived up to potential after needing a little while to get his feet wet. Tough enough to see time at guard early on, he’s now a mainstay at left tackle with first round draft pick potential.
2. QB Davis Webb, Soph.
It didn’t seem like he’d be needed as a true freshman with Michael Brewer appearing ready to take over and walk-on Baker Mayfield stunning everyone by taking over the job early, but after injuries struck and he got his chance, he took off. The 6-4, 194-pounder is thin, but he has a big arm and is in total command of the attack. Athletic, he can move a little bit and take off when needed, but his mobility is used best making throws on the move. On fire after a few games, he bombed away for more than 400 yards in four of the final six games he started and threw for 385 against Oklahoma, finishing the season completing 63% of his throws for 2,718 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine picks. Incredible in the bowl win over Arizona State, throwing for 403 yards and four scores. Razor sharp this offseason, he appears ready to put up even bigger numbers.
3. WR Jakeem Grant, Jr.
The Red Raiders lose their top two receivers, but Grant is a veteran who knows what he’s doing and should put up huge numbers after coming up with 65 catches for 796 yards and seven scores. While he didn’t come up with too many deep plays, he was steady with good midrange route-running ability, highlighted by his six catch, 89-yard, two score day in the win over Arizona State. At 5-6 and 160 pounds, he’s small, but he’s ultra-quick who can scoot in and out of traffic and is a nightmare to deal with one-on-one.
4. LB Sam Eguavoen, Sr.
Not huge at just 6-1 and 220 pounds, he’ll have to get the job done in the middle after finishing third on the team with 70 tackles with 1.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. Great at getting around the ball, he’s quick and brings a nice pop, making ten tackles against Texas and eight against both Baylor and TCU. He fits the mold of fast and athletic Texas Tech linebackers, moving more like a defensive back. Able to work anywhere in the linebacking corps, he’s tough enough to handle himself inside, but he’s built for the weakside.
5. DE Branden Jackson, Jr.
Part linebacker, part end, the 6-4, 240-pound pass rusher will work at end after coming up with 44 tackles with four sacks and nine tackles for loss. Consistent more than spectacular, he’s quick off the ball and has a great burst. Now he needs to turn into a bit of a pass rushing specialist utilizing his terrific blend of size and athleticism. If he can come up with seven sacks, he’ll be an all-star.
6. WR Bradley Marquez, Sr.
The 5-11, 200-pound senior is reliable and can work in a variety of spots and positions within the passing game, but he’s at his best coming up with the big play and getting vertical. Ready to do more after catching 49 passes for 633 yards and six scores, he can stretch the field but has the size and the strength to work more in the middle of the field, too. He’ll be challenged by a slew of talented options, but with his experience, he’ll be a key part of the attack.
7. LB/RB Kenny Williams, Sr.
Is he a running back? Is he a linebacker? Is he both? The 5-9, 225-pounder led the team with 497 rushing yards and eight scores, and caught 30 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown as a steady overall part of the attack. However, he spent the spring using his size and athleticism at linebacker where he was good enough to be considered for a starting spot. Expected to do a little bit of both, he should be a productive two-way player who still gets around ten touches a game when needed. Considering the talent on offense, he’ll likely be used more and be too valuable on D.
8. PK Ryan Bustin, Sr.
Steady and occasionally sensational for the past few seasons, he hit 31-of-42 field goals in his first two years with three of the misses coming on blocks, and then he put it all together last season nailing 23-of-27 field goals with only two of the misses coming under 40 yards. He has a big let and can be tried out from 50 yards and beyond, but he’s reliable from mid-range.
9. LB Pete Robertson, Jr.
Ready to come into his own and become a dangerous all-around defender at the Bandit position, he can be a pass rusher or be one of the better run stoppers after finishing with 60 tackles on the year including a season-high 11 in the bowl win over Arizona State. Terrific at getting behind the line, he’s disruptive making nine tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, and now he’ll be turned loose on a more regular basis. At 6-3 and 225 pounds he’s not built to be a true end, but he’ll occasionally be used like one. The former high school running back is fast and versatile – he’ll be a guided missile.
10. RB DeAndre Washington, Jr.
All back full after suffering a knee injury a few years ago, the 5-8, 190-pounder will likely get far more work with Kenny Williams being used as a linebacker. A great pass catcher out of the backfield, he’s tremendously quick and has good pop and strength inside when needed. Last year he finished second on the team with 450 rushing yards and four scores, while catching 34 passes for 269 yards. He has the speed and athleticism to come up with more big plays.
2014 Texas Tech Preview
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