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2010 Texas Tech Preview - Offense
Texas Tech WR Alex Torres
Texas Tech WR Alex Torres
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 31, 2010


CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Texas Tech Red Raider Offense


Texas Tech Red Raiders

Preview 2010 - Offense

- 2010 Texas Tech Preview | 2010 Texas Tech Offense
- 2010 Texas Tech Defense | 2010 Texas Tech Depth Chart
- Texas Tech Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

What You Need To Know: Fast, fast, fast, fast, FAST. If you thought the old Texas Tech offense moved quickly, this one will look like the DVR is stuck in fast forward. At least that’s the hope as young offensive coordinator Neal Brown will try to install an up-tempo style designed to maximize the number of plays and keep defenses on their heels. However, to do that, the line has to go from bulky and weight room strong to quick and agile, and that’s going to be a process for a young, massive group brought in by the old coaching staff to fit a certain type. The skill players are in place with all the top receivers returning, three excellent quick backs to work with, and five quarterback options to play around with. Seniors Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield might be the top passers, but they each have problems staying healthy meaning Seth Doege and Jacob Karam could be a part of the equation. The passing game of the past isn’t expected to go away, but there will be a bit more balance and more of an emphasis on the ground game.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Taylor Potts
309-470, 3,440 yds, 22 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: Baron Batch
169 carries, 884 yards, 14 TD
Receiving: Alex Torres
67 catches, 806 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Taylor Potts & Steven Sheffield
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT Terry McDaniel
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT LaAdrian Waddle
Best pro prospect: Sophomore WR Alex Torres
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Potts, 2) Torres, 3) WR Detron Lewis
Strength of the offense: Skill Players, Veteran Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Offensive Line, Consistency

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: There’s going to be a dogfight for the starting job, and the issue isn’t likely to be settled for most of the season, but the team’s most talented quarterback is Taylor Potts, a 6-5, 218-pound senior who completed 66% of his passes for 3,440 yards and 22 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. As good as he might be, he didn’t show the magic that Steven Sheffield did and when out with a serious concussion for two of the team’s key midseason wins. He has NFL size and the big arm to be more than just the typical Texas Tech midrange passer, but he needs to get healthy and he has to take the job by the horns. That has been a problem this offseason after suffering a serious cut on his hand suffered by banging it on a helmet. When he plays, the numbers are there, throwing for over 400 yards in his first three games including a 420-yard, three touchdown effort against Texas, but he struggled with his consistency and had a big problem with picks throwing at least one in every game boy the blowout over Rice and the loss to Houston.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Steven Sheffield doesn’t have a big arm, he’s a stringy 6-5 and 190 pounds, and he’s not all that mobile, but he’s a fan favorite after finding ways to come through in the clutch when called on leading the way to wins over Kansas State and Nebraska. In his little bit of time, he always produced, highlighted by a seven touchdown day against the Wildcats and a 234-yard, mistake-free day against the Huskers. He stepped in late against Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl completing 9-of-11 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown on the way to the win, and was the star of the show even though Taylor Potts threw for 372 yards and two scores. The former walk-on knows what he’s doing and is a great decision maker, and he’s deadly accurate completing 101-of-136 passes for 1,219 yards and 14 touchdowns with four interceptions last year. However, he has a hard time staying healthy and didn’t get a chance to show what he could do this offseason with an injured foot.

A big-time recruit in 2008, the 6-2, 205-pound Seth Doege is now in danger of seeing the field with other great prospects pushing for the 2011 starting nod. With a big-time arm, possibly the best on the team, he can put the ball anywhere on the field, but he hasn’t played much over the last four years after missing his final two years in high school hurt. He stepped in midway through last year and helped lead the way to a win over Kansas and saw time in the loss to Texas A&M finishing the year completing 38-of-61 throws for 369 yards and two scores. The 2,439-yard, 27-touchdown sophomore season were enough to generate interest from several big-time programs.

With Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield out, 6-1, 205-pound redshirt freshman Jacob Karam got a chance to show what he could do. A top-shelf recruit last year, he’s a different sort of playmaker for the Red Raider offense and, potentially, a better fit for what the new coaching staff wants. Unlike the other options, Karam can move with wide receiver (albeit a slower one) speed and the passing arm to throw for 3,291 yards and 38 touchdowns as a high school senior. Very smart and very poised, he’s ready to go right now if needed.

Watch Out For … Doege and Karam. Potts always seems to have drama in one form or another and Sheffield keeps breaking his foot. Doege and Karam each showed they could play this offseason, and considering the way flaky nature of the top two options, the timetable for next year’s starting job could be moved up a year.
Strength: Passers. Potts, Sheffield and Doege combined for 5,028 passing yards and 38 touchdowns, and Karam, at times, was the most effective passer of the bunch this offseason. There are four good quarterbacks in the mix with all of them solid enough to start, and that doesn’t even count true freshman Scotty Young, one of the stars of this year’s class.
Weakness: Potts and Sheffield staying on the field. It’ll be hard for the coaching staff to win. Either the two top quarterbacks are going to be banged up, or if they’re healthy, there will always be a major controversy. The starter will always be looking over his shoulder after every rough patch.
Outlook: With more of an emphasis on the running game, there might not be 5,000 yards of passing, but the hope is for an efficient and effective 4,000 with the interceptions to be kept to a minimum. The quarterbacks will be allowed to run more and be allowed to freelance a wee bit more than under Mike Leach, but that depends on who’s under center. Whatever happens, there will be a controversy with so many good options to work with.
Unit Rating: 8.5

Running Backs

Projected Starters: Senior Baron Batch has been the right fit for the Texas Tech offense with 5-10, 204-pound size, tremendous quickness, and great hands making 108 career catches for 885 yards and two scores. He led the team with 884 rushing yards with three 100 yard games in the final five and ended with 14 touchdowns, and now he’s expected to be an even bigger part of the offense with the coaching staff looking for a wee bit more balance. With 4.4 speed, he can crank out yards in chunks and should average well over five yards per carry while also serving as one of the nation’s top receiving backs after making 57 catches for 395 yards and a score last season.

Projected Top Reserves: Eric Stephens stepped in as a true freshman and became a key part of the attack with 254 yards and two touchdowns as a nice reserve late in the year. Like all Red Raider backs, he’s a good receiver, making 14 catches for 113 yards and a score, and made a big splash as a kickoff returner averaging 25.7 yards per try. The 5-8, 182-pounder isn’t a blazer like Batch, but he can cut on a dime and he’s insanely strong for his size.

5-9, 204-pound sophomore Harrison Jeffers has the ability to be a major factor in the running game. The Oklahoma high school track star has some of the best wheels on the team clocking in a 10.28 in the 100, and he has the hands and the burst in the open field to be deadly for the passing game. While he’s the clear No. 3 back, he showed last year he could produce in mop-up time averaging 6.2 yards per carry with 217 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 27 catches for 218 yards and a score.

Watch Out For … a real, live, running game. Texas Tech always gets effective yards from its backs with both Batch and Stephens averaging more than five yards per carry last year and Jeffers averaging 6.2, but the team has always been about throwing the ball. The new coaching staff will actually try to make the ground game a part of the attack instead of it being along for the ride.
Strength: Lightning quickness. By design, the former regime brought in 5-9ish, 190-pound speedsters who can all cut on a dime. All the Red Raider backs can fly, can catch, and can crank out yards in chunks.
Weakness: Power. There might be a new coaching staff and there might be more of an emphasis on running the ball, but on 3rd-and-2 it’ll always be about throwing it. The Red Raider backs are tough, but they’re not going to move the pile or do much between the tackles in a conventional way.
Outlook: The running game won’t finish 115th in the country again and instead of the 1,092 net rushing yards of last year there might be more like 1,600. The offense isn’t going to become Navy all of a sudden, but the backs will get more work and everyone will see time in the rotation. Remember, Tommy Tuberville had his best success at Auburn with Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Brandon Jacobs thumping away. He doesn’t have that at Texas Tech, but he has a talented crew of backs that’ll produce.
Unit Rating: 7.5

Receivers

Projected Starters: Senior Detron Lewis returns after growing into the team’s leader in receiving yards making 65 catches for 844 yards and six touchdowns. The 6-0, 205-pounder wasn’t always explosive and disappeared for stretches, but he had some big moments catching 13 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a two-game stretch against Kansas State and Nebraska, and he made ten grabs for 114 yards and a score against MSU in the bowl game. A physical, precise route runner, he can do even more as a No. 1 target if he can get over a hamstring problem. While he seems to work better with Steven Sheffield, he’ll produce at the Y position no matter who’s under center.

Junior Tramain Swindall is a 6-3, 180-pound speedster who has good size and is a tough target on the H. He was steady throughout the season making 55 catches for 694 yards and five touchdowns, and he’ll be used even more this year. He’s ultra-reliable and physical with a defensive back background. Along with being a top receiver in high school, he was also a big-hitting corner. While he might not be a No. 1 target, he’s consistent option who’s always making key catches.

6-1, 165-pound senior Lyle Leong has emerged as a key playmaker after missing time early in his career for undisclosed reasons. Streaky, he caught nine passes for 117 yards and three touchdowns against Rice, followed it up with two scores against Texas, and then he caught one touchdown pass over the next eight games before finishing up with three scores in the final two games. He made 45 grabs for 571 yards and nine scores averaging 12.7 yards per catch, and he’ll be a home run hitter again at the outside X.

A little bit unsung going into last year after starting out his career at Air Force and suffering a broken hand, sophomore Alex Torres grew into the team’s leading receiver making 67 catches for 806 yards and six touchdowns. The 6-1, 196-pounder blew up against Oklahoma catching 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown, and he made eight grabs for 128 yards and a score. A field stretcher, he’ll be streaky once again and will thrive on mismatches. With explosive speed, he’ll destroy single coverage from time to time creating a big mismatch.

Projected Top Reserves: It has been an interesting year for Adam James, the son of Craig James and the center of the firestorm over the firing of Mike Leach. The 6-3, 216-pound junior caught 17 passes for 154 yards and a score, but he was banged up with a concussion and then the fun began. He’ll be used, technically, as a tight end, but he’ll mostly be a big inside receiver with good size and nice hands.

Sophomore Cornelius Douglas only made four catches for 28 yards last season, but he showed the toughness and willingness to go over the middle this offseason as he caught everything that came his way. The 5-9, 192-pounder is a sharp route runner and will get plenty of chances in the rotation at the H behind Tramain Swindall.

6-1, 181-pound sophomore Austin Zouzalik became a surprisingly big part of the offense and will now work at the Y along with Detron Lewis. He finished with a solid 35 catches for 469 yards and two touchdowns, coming up with seven grabs for 92 yards against Baylor, and was a decent punt returner averaging just under ten yards per try. With sub-4.4 speed and excellent quickness to go along with his size, he has the potential to do far more when he gets the chance.

Junior Jacoby Franks doesn’t have the talent or the wheels of most of the other top Red Raider targets, but he can play. The 6-0, 185-pounder is smooth and fluid in his route running, and before getting banged up late in the year, he was good for a few catches per game making 26 grabs for 313 yards and two touchdowns including a key score in the Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State.

Watch Out For … Douglas. While he didn’t do a whole bunch last year, and he’s not likely to make more than 25 catches this year with so many weapons in the receiving corps, he was a standout at times this offseason and is the type of player who comes up with the tough grabs when needed. He’ll find a role.
Strength: Wide receivers. Texas Tech has them. Eight of the top nine pass catchers from last year’s receiving corps are back, and while Torres and Lewis might be the best of the bunch, and one of the targets can be a No. 1 guy on the right day. There are simply too many good receivers for one secondary to deal with.
Weakness: The likely inconsistency at quarterback. It wasn’t necessarily a problem last year with three different quarterbacks seeing time, but there were moments when the offense wasn’t in sync and sputtered too much. That happened in the past when there was a Graham Harrell or Kliff Kingsbury starting every game, too, but there could be even more shuffling this year.
Outlook: The receiving corps seemed to be able to go on despite losing Michael Crabtree early to the NFL, and now the team is loaded with weapons. Three starters return, and Leong might as well be considered a fourth starter considering how big a part of the offense he was. There might not be any one superstar who’ll earn All-America honors, but Torres and Lewis could be anyone’s top twosome and there’s a slew of great veterans who can step up and produce at any time.
Unit Rating: 9

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: The offensive line will go from big and bulky to smaller and more athletic. That means sophomore LaAdrian Waddle had to get working. He has tried to slim down, but his weight fluctuates and he’ll likely be around 350 pounds on his 6-6 frame. The big blocker got two started at right tackle last season against Texas A&M and Kansas, and now he’ll get the first look at the job this year using his tremendous size and strength to lock on to pass rushers, but he’ll only stick at the spot if he can get a bit more agile. Ridiculously strong, he should be a bruiser of a run blocker and could end up moving to guard to allow him to be more physical.

With all the adversity and all the problems last year, one of the biggest issues was finding a steady starter at left tackle. Sophomore Terry McDaniel started four times and appeared to be on his way to being special, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through the year. At 6-7 and 335 pounds he has a great frame, is a terrific pass protector, and he has the talent and tools to be the anchor if he can stay healthy.

6-4, 290-pound junior Lonnie Edwards has the most returning stating experience spending most of last year at left guard. Already built more like the type of blocker the coaching staff wants, he can be used in a variety of ways with the frame and the skill to play tackle but the toughness to shine inside. The team’s best run blocker, he has settled into the spot and should be a fixture for the next two years.

There’s a battle for the job in the middle with senior Justin Keown getting the first look. The 6-4, 302-pound center got a few starts last year getting the call against Texas A&M and Kansas State, so he’s not starting from scratch. Versatile, he could end up working at right guard if the line needs to do some shuffling.

At 6-4 and 350 pounds, sophomore Deveric Gallington is a massive blocker who’s a perfect fit at right guard. He has worked to get into better shape and isn’t going to be at his listed weight by the start of the year. While he needs time and experience, he’s a natural for the interior and should stick at the spot for the next three seasons.

Projected Top Reserves: The left tackle job isn’t quite settled with Mickey Okafor getting every chance to grab the position. A guard under the old coaching staff, starting one game against New Mexico, the 6-7, 319-pound junior has the frame and the quickness to become a strong tackle. He could end up on the right side if needed.

While Justin Keown might have a slight hold on the center job, 6-5, 296-pound senior Chris Olson is in the hunt. One of only two seniors on the line’s two-deep, he has been around long enough to know what he’s doing and he’s good enough to see time anywhere up front starting two games at left guard and seven at left tackle. A big-time tackle recruit, he has good talent to go along with his experience; he’ll find time somewhere.

Freshman Beau Carpenter is only 6-5 and 267 pounds, but he was terrific at right tackle and might end up being part of the rotation right away. While he’d be able to redshirt in a perfect world, he has too much talent to not be a part of the mix with the athleticism and the quickness the new coaching staff is looking for.

Watch Out For … McDaniel. While he might need a little time, and he’ll be pushed hard by Okafor, once he gets into the shape the new linemen are supposed to be in, he should be occasionally dominant.
Strength: Youthful options. It’s a decent situation to be in for down the road. There are only two starters (Keown and Olson) on the projected two-deep with three sophomores and a junior expected to start. Even with all the youth, the line is full of veterans after so much shuffling last year.
Weakness: Cohesion. The line was never able to find a groove last year with injuries and inconsistencies forcing a different starting lineup each week. The line didn’t find its starting five until late in the year and it stayed the same for the final four games. Four of those players are gone and Olson is likely going to start the year as a backup.
Outlook: A disaster at times last year, the line got the quarterbacks killed and was never consistent. It’s not that big a deal to lose most of the starting experience with so many young players seeing time last year, but it’s going to take a while to come together. Instead of trying to bench press the stadium, the linemen are supposed to be quick and great on the move. It’s a radical shift in philosophies that’s not going to take hold overnight. There will be some problems, but things aren’t going to be worse than last year. As long as a steady starting five is found, everything will be fine.
Unit Rating: 6

- 2010 Texas Tech Preview | 2010 Texas Tech Offense
- 2010 Texas Tech Defense | 2010 Texas Tech Depth Chart
- Texas Tech Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006