The five biggest questions for Texas Tech's offense heading into Kliff Kingsbury's first spring.
With only a week or so heading into the spring, it's high time to figure out things to be worried about. To be completely honest, I'm not all that worried about most things, but there are some things that I think we can think we can discuss about this team. I'll be honest, I'll be really glad when this team has some real news on the field to discuss.
1. Who Replaces the Three Starters on the Offensive Line? I'm not sure about this one because I'm not sure how the offensive line is going to play out in terms of the type of player and how things will be run. Le'Raven Clark is at left tackle and Beau Carpenter should maybe be competing for one other spot, maybe at right tackle, but I could also see him remain inside. I definitely think that we can get Jared Kaster at the center spot. At least that's where he was last year and I was happy with what he did as a true freshman (that's right, he's not a redshirt) and it would be tough to imagine someone else there, but Alfredo Morales played at left guard last year, but Tony was the higher rated of the Morales brothers. I think they are both projected to play inside, so it would make sense that they can both compete for one of the two guard spots with possibly Carpenter. The right tackle spot is the wild-card for me. Rashad Fortenberry is an option and I wonder if it is time for James Polk to finally break through? Fortenberry redshirted all last year and Polk played inside, but he really always projected to be a tackle. I'm really thinking that this is the most interesting positional group that we'll see all spring.
2. Who Replaces Darrin Moore's Production? I keep thinking that Derreck Edwards will have the first opportunity. But who else do you like on the outside? Is it possibly Bradley Marquez that will step into and take the reins or do you think that Javon Bell fully recovers and eventually takes hold? The fact that Eric Ward is so talented, he's going to take some of the pressure off of the other wide receiver and maybe this will be a situation where two players will fill Moore's shoes. The wildcards are Dominique Wheeler and Reginald Davis. I'm not sure what to think about them, but it souldn't surprise me at all to think that it will take both of them one more year to figure out how to make an impact. For whatever reason, I think I trust Davis more, but I could be really wrong about that.
3. Who Replaces the Senior Leadership of Stephens, Torres, Moore, Waddle, McDaniel, Gallington and Doege? Who are the senior leaders of this team? From what I can tell, the two seniors that should expect quite a bit of time are RB/IR Sadale Foster and WR Javon Bell. The ore I think about it, the more I think that this might be the biggest issue facing this team. Is there a senior that is going to step up and if not, then what other player is going to take that role? Last year, there were a handful of seniors on the offensive side of the ball that added to the team and I think I tend to over-look the importance of senior leadership, but this offensive team is very much going to be looking for a leader as the spring progresses.
4. Can DeAndre Washington Carry the Same Load as Eric Stephens? I'm somewhat thinking that Foster is maybe going to move to an inside receiver spot, but I could be completely wrong. If Foster does move inside, then one of the good things that Tuberville did was keeping DeAndre Washington out all year last year to fully rehab this year and utilize his redshirt year. Washington wasn't really going to find a ton of carries last year, but the question in this exercise is if Washington can replicate what Stephens did last year from a production standpoint. From what we saw of Washington as a true freshman, I don't think this is a stretch at all. In fact, I think that considering the fact that Stephens was still recovering for the better part of the year I can see where Washington will far exceed Stephens production because Washington will be fully healthy and I think he's going to get a lot of opportunities, whether it be as a third-down back or as a feature back for complete series in place of Kenny Williams.
5. Who Are the Best Bets to Pick up Where Tyson Williams and Austin Zouzalik Left Off at Inside Receiver? If my thought that Foster will get an opportunity here, it seems like Foster and Jakeem Grant would make a really good combination at the two inside receiver spots. But who else do you like at the inside receiver spot? And I'm not including the tight end(s), but rather the smaller quick guys that have typically manned the inside receiver spot. Will Aaron Fisher get a look on the inside? I keep thinking that there is a reason that Colorado transfer Peyton Williams chose Texas Tech and he'll be available immediately. I wouldn't surprise me at all to see Williams be opposite of Grant. We keep hearing that Dylan Cantrell is going to receive a legitimate shot inside because of his size and catching ability, but you have to wonder if he's ready to make a significant impact. You could say the same things about newcomers and Devin Lauderdale, but I think that both of those guys will redshirt. Perhaps the wildcard is RB Tyler Middleton who could play all over the field, including a slot receiver spot.