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Texas Tech Preview 2006 Further Analysis
Texas Tech Red Raiders
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 31, 2006


Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Still the Best? – When you talk about some of the best units in the nation, arguably, the best group of receivers in the nation resides in Lubbock.  Not Los Angeles, although the duo of Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith are phenomenal.  Not in Atlanta, although Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the nation.  Lubbock.  West Texas, boys.  Jarrett Hicks, Joel Filani, Robert Johnson and Danny Amendola make up the best and deepest receiving crew anywhere.  Hicks, Filani and Johnson all had 65+ receptions in 2005, and Amendola will take some of the receptions that were reserved for former running back dual threat Taurean Henderson.  Now, some will argue that if you throw the ball almost every down, your receivers are going to pile up big numbers.  But, that’s only half the story.  The mix of what each one brings to the party, so to speak, is what gives them the moniker of “the nation’s best”.  Hicks is a long strider who will go up and get the ball wherever it’s thrown.  Filani is the play maker of the bunch, a guy who will torch man coverage in a heartbeat.  Johnson is a former quarterback who has strong after the catch skills.  Amendola is quick as a hiccup and a perfect fit in the slot, not to mention what he brings to the Red Raiders with his return skills.  Head coach Mike Leach would love to throw the ball on every down and with this quartet, he might actually try that this year.  Maybe 80 catch seasons for all four aren’t out of the realm of possibility with a 12 game season.

2nd and Seven – Say it ain’t so, Mike – Kliff Kingsbury.  BJ Symons.  Sonny Cumbie.  Cody Hodges.  What are seniors playing quarterback under Mike Leach?   Ding.  Ding.  Ding.  Okay, here’s a new one – Graham Harrell?  Uh, wait, he’s a quarterback, but he’s not a senior.  Can he play QB at Tech this fall?  Of course, he can, but it’s just strange to see a sophomore taking snaps, but, Harrell is not your run of the mill sophomore.  The Texas high school legend out of Ennis put some heat on Hodges last season before Hodges pulled away to take the starting position.  He has been in the program for three years, so Harrell should have a solid understanding of Leach’s offense.  Now, he just has to stave off Chris Todd, a redshirt freshman, for the starting spot this year.  A freshman?  What in the name of Billy Joe Tolliver is this world coming to?  A freshman or a sophomore at QB?  Say it ain’t so, Billy Joe.

3rd and Three – Ol’ Reliable is now gone – So many times over the past five years or so, you’ve heard television commentators talk about the fact that there are some players you don’t realize how valuable they were until they were gone.  That is not the case for former RB Taurean Henderson.  Red Raiders definitely know what they’ve lost with Henderson moving on to the NFL.  Although the Red Raiders have, what, like two running plays, Henderson found a way to take over games with his running, blocking and more importantly receiving.  So, how do you replace him?  You don’t, well, not with one guy.  As mentioned above, Danny Amendola will probably get more receiving touches from his slot/inside receiver spot.  Consequently, running backs Shannon Woods and Taurance Rawls will have big shoes to fill in the running game.  What little there actually is of a running game.

4th and One – What the Red Raiders taketh, they also giveth away – Entering last season, the one major strength that the Tech defense possessed was its secondary.  Entering this season, the one major weakness that the defense possesses is its secondary.  It’s amazing how one year can change so much.  The Red Raider secondary, led by hard hitting nightmare Dwayne Slay, was solid throughout the season allowing only 180 passing yards per game, nearly two hundred yards less than what the Red Raiders registered in the passing game.  But, Slay, Vincent Meeks and Khalid Naziruddin have left the proverbial building, leaving only corner Antonio Huffman to return to the Red Raider secondary.  With so much ‘green’ in the back four, there could be some serious track meets this year in the Big XII when Texas Tech is in town.

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