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:
Player: Joe Garcia
Garcia is the glue. He is absolutely the quarterback for this defense and probably the most important player in terms of directing this defense. At this point in the countdown I thought that Darcel McBath should deserve this spot. But I decided to go with the more veteran player in Garcia. Not because I think that McBath is a better player, but because I believe it is so incredibly vital that this Texas Tech defense begins making big plays this year and I think it starts with Garcia.
I believe that Garcia isn't just another player, I think he's the defenses' team captain. Garcia was hand-picked by Leach to go to the Big 12 Media Day and although I've never had the pleasure to meet Joe, I'd imagine he's not only an upstanding citizen, but an excellent representative of our university.
Garcia finished last year with 87 tackles. In fact, Garcia's tackles were fairly consistent last year with 8 or more tackles in 7 different games. The problem of course isn't the tackles it's the other stuff. Only 3 tackles for a loss, 1 interception and 1 fumble recover with 2 forced fumbles. I'm not complaining, I'm really not. But for Garcia and his Red Raider defense to take the next step, he needs to be a difference maker.
I'm not putting all of the blame for Joe's lack of play-making on him, I think that Setencich coaches a little too close to the vest, perhaps more accurately a bend-but-don't-break system. But Setencich needs to let Garcia go a little bit. Allow him to blitz occasionally in an attempt to keep defenses on their toes. Simply, I want Garcia to have the opportunity to start making some game-changing plays more than anything else.
During the Big 12 Media day Garcia was asked if he took exception to the media picking Texas Tech 5th in their preseason poll. Naturally, Joe felt that Texas Tech has deserved a little more latitude and took the comments personally:
That's what I needed to hear. I need for Joe to come into this season with a chip on his shoulder, to quietly, yet confidently, show the rest of the conference that Texas Tech is not going to go quietly at any point this season. I need a kid who is going to compete the entire game and I think Garcia is my man.