Texas Tech Wide ReceiversThere was incredible expectation with the Texas Tech wide receiver corp, with the return of 3 of the top 4 returning receivers from last year. Some lived up to those expectations and others did not.
There's really no question that the biggest disappointment was Hicks. The NCAA suspension and subsequent injury has been a real dissapointment. I thought that Leach wouldn't be able to drag Hicks off of the field because I truly believed that Hicks was auditioning to play on Sundays and now I have to wonder whether or not he thought the same thing. Hicks was supposed to be the game-breaker, the guy who could stretch the field and go up and over a defense. Hicks has effectively ended his career at Texas Tech, as he will not play in the upcoming Insight Bowl game.
It turned out that Joel Filani was the most consistent receiver for Texas Tech. It seemed like that early in the year, he dropped quite a few passes (especially in the TCU game, but what receiver didn't drop passes that game) and at times was able to break games wide open.
Robert Johnson was more like a running back on various wide receiver screen passes and crossing routes over the middle of the field. He really showed his athletic ability in the Texas A&M game in his game winning touchdown catch.
Leach has often said that at least 3 wide receivers need to be involved in the offense in order for the team to really get rolling. Just looking at the stats, it's easy to see how there is a significant drop-off in production from Johnson to Amendola. The key of course is to find that 3rd wide-out against Minnesota, and it can potentially be a number of options. Personally, I would love to see L.A. Reed be that option since Hicks won't be playing a final game as a Red Raider.
Minnesota Defensive Backs
Minnesota ranks 98th in the nation in passing efficiency defense and 9th in the Big Ten, giving up 8.03 pards per passing attempt and allowing 61.73% of passes completed. The most interesting stat is that Minnesota is #1 in the nation in turnover margin, but other than turnovers, Minnesota gave up 3,042 yards in the air this year.
Without sounding like a complete shill for Texas Tech, I just can't imagine that with the passing attack that Tech has, that Minnesota will be able to stop Harrell & Co.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech