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Texas Tech Preview 2006
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Can we all once and for all finally admit that the Mike Leach offense actually works?

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

In the six years under Leach, the Red Raider attack has averaged 35.89 points per game. If you just took that number and applied it to last season, the scoring offense would've finished tenth in the nation. Now spread that out over the course of six years with fewer than 20 points scored in just 16 of the last 76 games, and even the harshest critics have to be impressed.

Fine, so the NFL isn't littered with Red Raider offensive players and the times the attack bogs down means a Tech loss with a 2-14 record under Leach when dipping under the 20 point mark, but this isn't some gimmicky, fad of an offense; the thing really does work.

So why don't more teams use Leach's passing system? Why has the spread offense become so fashionable and the offshoot of the run 'n' shoot become sneered at? Maybe it's because stodgy coaches always believe that running the ball has to be the most important aspect of any offense. Leach has proved that you can still run effectively with his attack while still keeping the chains moving with the short range passing game. Maybe it's because it's not as easy to teach as it might look. Maybe it's because when the offense doesn't rock and roll, the critics scream and yell so everyone notices.

Head coach: Mike Leach
7th year: 48-28
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 20, Def. 26, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 19
Ten Best Tech Players
1. WR Jarrett Hicks, Sr.
2. WR Joel Filani, Sr.
3. WR Robert Johnson, Sr.
4. OG Manuel Ramirez, Sr.
5. LB Fletcher Session, Sr.
6. LB Keyunta Dawson, Sr.
7. QB Graham Harrell, Soph.
8. LB Brock Stratton, Jr.
9. NT Chris Hudler, Sr.
10. WR Danny Amendola, Jr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

9/2 SMU
9/9 at UTEP
9/16 at TCU
9/23 SE Louisiana
9/30 at Texas A&M
10/7 Missouri
10/14 at Colorado
10/21 at Iowa State
10/28 Texas
11/4 Baylor
11/11 at Oklahoma
11/18 Oklahoma State

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 9-2
2005 Record: 9-3

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/10 FIU W 56-3
9/17 Sam Houston W 80-21
9/24 Indiana State W 63-7
10/1 Kansas W 30-17
10/8 at Nebraska W 34-31
10/15 Kansas St W 59-20
10/22 at Texas L 52-17
10/29 at Baylor W 28-0
11/5 Texas A&M W 56-17
11/12 at Oklahoma St L 24-17
11/19 Oklahoma W 23-21
1/2 Cotton Bowl
Alabama L 13-10

It looks like the offense is just about lining up and winging to one of the seemingly endless array of targets, but part of the effectiveness is being able to find those receivers in places where they can make big plays. A quarterback can't just step in and start throwing; he needs to know what he's doing, which is why the top passers under Leach have mostly been veterans.

For the first time, a quarterback has to be developed to shine right away with sophomore Graham Harrell and redshirt freshman Chris Todd battling it out for the honor of being one of the nation's top statistical players. Also, for the first time under Leach, he has potential NFL talents running his system with three marvelous wide receivers in Jarrett Hicks, Joel Filani and Robert Johnson almost certain to combine for over 200 catches. The line will provide plenty of help the four starters returning and the open fifth spot at left guard to be occupied by either future NFLer Ofa Mohetau or top prospect Louis Vasquez.

The defense won't be up to snuff like last year when several veterans came through with big seasons, but the linebacking corps should be solid and there's speed to burn in the secondary. Fortunately for this D, it's not going to have to pitch shutouts for the team to get wins.

The program turned a corner last season with nine wins and a Cotton Bowl appearance, and with better and better recruiting classes, the momentum doesn't appear to be slowing down. This is the team no one wants to face because deep down, everyone knows this offense is really that good.

The Schedule: It's far better than last year's non-conference slate with two tough road games at UTEP and TCU to go along with the opener against SMU and the empty-the-bench tune up against SE Louisiana. The four Big 12 road games are bears playing at Texas A&M, Colorado, Iowa State and Oklahoma, but the Red Raiders should be good enough to get a split. Playing Missouri and Texas at home is a major plus, and there are two almost certain home wins late in the year against Balyor and, barring another brain cramp like last year's 24-17 loss to Oklahoma State, against the Cowboys to finish up.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Jarrett Hicks. Likely to be the first Red Raider receiver under Leach to make a splash in the NFL, Hicks is 6-3, 208-pounds, and fast enough to be a dangerous outside receiver. He showed off last year that he has the hands to get the next-level scouts even more interested.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Fletcher Session. But this could quickly change to any of the Red Raider linebackers with Brock Stratton looking to come back from a knee injury and Keyunta Dawson making the switch from end. Session is a huge 232-pound weakside linebacker who should be an intimidating force.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore RB Shannon Woods. The quarterback situation will turn out to be fine, but the offense needs to replace scoring-machine Taurean Henderson to provide a bit of a ground attack. Woods isn't Henderson fast and he struggled through an ankle injury this spring, but he should turn out to be fine in time.

The season will be a success if ... Texas Tech wins ten games. It hasn't happened yet under Leach despite coming close last year. A win over Oklahoma and/or Texas would do wonders and there can't be any mistakes, but this team is good enough to simply outbomb most of the better Big 12 teams.

Key game: Oct. 28 vs. Texas. The Longhorns have hung 103 points on Texas Tech over the last two seasons, but the Leach offense had success over the previous two seasons. With Oklahoma still ahead, a win over the defending national champions should put the Red Raiders in a position to win the South.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Texas Tech 103 - Opponents 37
- Penalties: Texas Tech 113 for 1,001 yards - Opponents 89 for 833 yards
- Rushing touchdowns: Texas Tech 25 - Opponents 15

The Last Time Texas Tech
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Cotton Bowl vs. Alabama)
…missed a bowl game…1999
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Baylor)
…was shutout…1997 (Nebraska)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Texas A&M)
…went undefeated…never
…won a conference title…1994 (share, SWC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2005 (Cody Hodges)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…1998 (Ricky Williams)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Joel Filani)
…had a first-round draft choice…1983 (DT Gabriel Rivera)

Related Stories
Texas Tech Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Jul 31, 2006
Texas Tech Preview 2006 Further Analysis
 -by  Jul 31, 2006
Texas Tech Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Jul 31, 2006

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