The offseason is filled with questions, especially this year. Rather than ask those questions and not offer any solutions, I thought it would be interesting to offer theorems, i.e. all right angles are congruent, and you tell me if you think they're true or not. Here are your previous Texas Tech Football Offseason Theorems:
- All Players Need to Contribute | Finding a Tight End and Utilizing Roster Spots
- Do Not Expect a True Freshman to Make an Immediate Impact | Reworking the Defensive Line
Theorem: Dynamic Offensive Playmakers Make a Difference, Part I
This is truly the definition of a working theorem, so it's something that I don't think is an absolute, but rather something that's been kicking around in my mind for a while. The thought is that dynamic playmakers on offense can elevate a team to significantly higher rankings even though the rest of the team may be somewhat mediocre. The best examples that come to mind is Texas Tech from 2008, where Crabtree and Harrell led an incredible offensive attack, and you can see similar results in the Big 12 this year with Baylor and QB Robert Griffin, III and WR Kendall Wright as well as Oklahoma St. and QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin . You could also thinkt that Oklahoma was a dynamic offensive team until the injury to WR Ryan Broyles, who made QB Landry Jones a better player. You can find a lot of examples all over the place, and again, this is a working theorem, but it seems to hold some water.
My thought with this current team is that they may have thought the same thing and made attempts to secure players that might be able to make a difference. Granted, the book hasn't been written about guys like Bradley Marquez, Eric Ward, Kenny Williams DeAndre Washington, Ben McRoy, Derek Edwards, Ronnie Daniels (hopefully), Jace Amaro or any other player that still has at least two years in front of them to develop as a player.
But I think that there was a thought that this offense needed the injection of a player that could force opposing defenses to a double-team. I wonder if the staff thought that Alex Torres may be perpetually dinged, or Darrin Moore may be able to put up numbers against bad competition, or Austin Zouzalik may continue to level off, or Marcus Kennard may be good for an occasional catch, but isn't consistent enough to be a significant threat? Again, I don't know that they're thinking this, but what if the thought is that this team needed players who might be able to make a difference, while the other players may be good, they may also just be what they are.
And I go back to the thought that in 2007, Crabtree and Danny Amendola were two players that produced incredibly well, Crabs had over 1,900 receiving yards and Amendola had almost 1,250 yards. Crabtree's 1,100 yards in 2008 was incredible for most receivers, but Texas Tech hasn't had a 1,000 yard receiver since 2008. I think that some of that is that the talent was somewhat maximized. Detron Lewis, Ed Britton and Lyle Leong were all good, but not dynamic receivers and that's what I'm getting at, which is that the offense was good, but not great, and some of that can be and should be attributed to the thought that an offense, really any offense, that wants to be great and an offense that can truly cause a defense to have coverage problems must have some playmakers and there must be some options.
One last thing before we get into the options, who on the current roster do you think is a game-changing receiver on a game-to-game basis? Not your occasional good game, but a player that causes defenses to adjust and perhaps require some double-team coverage? Is it just Ward that has that potential? Do you think that Moore is a player that requires a double-team from opposing defenses? If you are an opposing defensive coordinator, who on this team scares you?
One other item, which is that this theorem just focuses on receivers as dynamic playmakers and blame and/or credit goes to the quarterback, the running back, the offensive line, the play-calling, etc., but I was trying to limit this discussion to the receivers. We'll get to other positions later in the offseason.
Transfer and JUCO possibilities are after the jump.
How About a Transfer?
Throughout the season, you heard things trickle out about WR Tyson Williams (5-11/218) and the fact that he was simply dominating the scout team. Tyson is a transfer from West Texas A&M where he put out incredible numbers, including his sophomore season where he put up 96 catches for 1,321 yards and 8 touchdowns. That's some pretty good production and the thing that somewhat shocks me, is his size. That's not your average receiver height and weight and as most of you know, Tyson's brother is Trey Williams, the 5-star running back currently committed to TAMU. Tyson is the size of a good sized running back and although I don't know if it's been mentioned, but with the overall lack of running backs, it would be interesting if Tyson could get some looks there as well. Either way, Williams is a guy that has proven, on a lower level, that he can make a significant impact for his team and I was a little puzzled as to why he transferred to Texas Tech other than to have an opportunity on a bigger stage. That's somewhat of a risk, but it could pay off significantly for Tyson and Texas Tech. To reiterate and for comparison purposes, Texas Tech hasn't had a 1,300 yard receiver since Michael Crabtree's freshman year.
If you thought that Ben McRoy was slight, then say hello to Javares McRoy (5-7/159), Ben's younger and smaller brother. Javares was initially a Texas Tech commit, but changed his mind and eventually committed to Florida, spent his redshirt season at Florida and decided that he wanted to transfer and joined his brother in Lubbock in the fall semester of 2011. The problem that the staff has had is how to get Ben in the game and I'd imagine that Javares is in a similar situation. The thing that holds both of them back is their size, they are both relatively small, but they have speed that's really unrivaled on this team, perhaps only to Jakeem Grant. The question is getting both Ben and Javares in space and to figure out how they can better impact the team. Javares was the more highly thought of player, by quite a bit, and was incredibly productive. Again, it's just a matter of figuring out how to use Javares and Ben, but they can both have a significant impact.
Among some circles, it is thought that Javon Bell (6-0/185) is the best play-maker that this staff has had on this team. At least that's the thought and there's good reason. Bell exploded on the JUCO scene in his first year, catching just 46 passes for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns. That's a ridiculous 28 yards per catch. Bell's second season, he caught 65 passes for 939 yards and 10 touchdowns. Again, Bell slowed, but there are reasons why that happens, whether it be double-teams or not having as much receiving talent, the nice thing is that Bell took what was being given to him, so the thought is that opposing defenses weren't going to give Bell the deep threat, but I'm also guessing that the fact that he caught 20 more passes, that he worked the underneath routes more. Its nice that Bell has had to adjust to defenses trying to stop his production and he's still found a way to produce. But the buyer should beware here.
WR Marcus Kennard was also supposed to be an all-world receiver when he signed last February, but he barely made a dent in terms of impact. The staff wanted to redshirt Kennard, but I think Kennard wanted to play. Kennard could have used the extra year to get better because he was one of the worst receivers on this team catching the ball last year at a 57% rate (thank you Football Study Hall).
Perhaps the biggest difference between Kennard and Bell, at least in terms of their JUCO numbers is that Bell has a track record, while Kennard caught just 43 passes and 876 yards his last year at JUCO. Bell's numbers are significantly better in either season for Bell.
Like I said at the beginning, I think this is all about options.
Returning players, and redshirts are in part II, which is scheduled for Thursday.