Indispensable: absolutely necessary.
This is not a team's most valuable player or a team's most important player, but players on a team that we can't live without. We're going to run through the top 10 most indispensable Texas Tech Red Raiders. Here's the countdown:
- Michael Crabtree
- Alex Trlica
- Joe Garcia
- Edward Britton
- Jonathan LaCour
- Jake Ratliff
- Shannon Woods
Player: Michael Crabtree
What's the best part about Michael Crabtree being the 4th most indispensible player? He's only a freshman. That alone makes me giddy, but considering he's uber-talented makes me even giddierer.
I think that most Texas Tech fans have been waiting on that special receiver that could change the course of a game. There was a possibility that this game-changing receiver was Jarrett Hicks, Joel Filani, or Wes Welker, but none of those receivers, as talented as they were, had the potential take over a game and be such a great player that other kids want to come play at Texas Tech. I think Michael Crabtree is that player.
I know, that's a lot of pressure to put on a kid who's never even seen a snap for the Red Raiders, but I have a ton of faith in Crabtree. From all accounts, Michael's a great kid and is willing to work hard (lost 15 pounds or so between the spring game and the fall). But what separates Crabtree from the rest of the crowd. When I asked before, you guys predicted that Crabtree would be in the vicinity of 80 receptions, 900 yards and 9 touchdown. However, what's to stop Crabtree from putting up ridiculous numbers?
Last year, Joel Filani led the team in receiving yards two years in a row. Last year he finished the year with 91 receptions, 1,300 yards and 13 touchdown and the year before he caught 65 passes for 1,048 yards and 8 touchdowns (in 2004 Filani only had 18 receptions). Surely Crabtree's stats will fall somewhere in the middle. I honestly believe that he'll exceed Filani's first true starting year, but won't surpass Filani's production last year. Crabtree has a couple of things working for him to gather similar numbers. First, he's got a little more speed than Filani, and the advantages there would appear to be obvious. Next, Crabtree has decent size or size similar to Filani, which means that he's a decent target for Harrell.
Of course, there's a few things working against Crabtree as well. The first being that this is the first year in the Air-Raid offense. Personally, I don't put much stock into that argument when Crabtree has already spent a year practicing with the team. He probably has a pretty good handle on the offense. The next argument might be that Crabtree doesn't have familiarity with Harrell. This I understand and I think could be a valid reason why Crabtree would fail to reach lofty expectations. That being said, there are few players like Crabtree who have the potential to immediately impact a team.
There is talent around Crabtree, in fact I believe that the current crop of receivers may be the most talented, as a group, that I can remember. Although we may not see all of the young guys on the field, this current receiving corp has a little bit of everything and I still think that Crabtree can be game-changing good.
Michael Crabtree is indispensable because he has the opportunity to change the program.