I'll admit it, I'm feeling pretty confident as the SMU game approaches, but part of me thinks that this feeling of confidence is a good thing, but I'm a worrier by nature. But this, coupled with the incredible upset of Michigan, should Texas Tech be worried about SMU? I hate to undersell any opponent, but what should be the Red Raiders' concerns:
- Justin Willis does his best Chase Daniel impression and runs roughshod over the Red Raiders? This is perhaps my biggest worry, I think Willis is a good talent, but should I be concerned that he might do to Texas Tech what other mobile quarterbacks have done in the past? Much of my concern is that the starting linebackers (Hill, Williams and Tillman) are not as physically gifted as their back-ups (M. Williams, Hunter, Howard, and Duncan). Luckily for the starting linebackers, the defensive line is supposed to be much more athletic that their predecessors so perhaps its a good balance. If the Texas Tech defense allows Willis to garner any confidence as the game progresses then I get a little more nervous.
- Emmanuel Sanders will get deep on the secondary and score long touchdowns. Much has been made of the talented secondary, but Sanders is awfully talented. I love our safeties, but last year I thought this secondary gave up too many big plays. There's not much offense that SMU can offer other than what Willis and Sanders as the running game is seriously lacking. I realize that lots of folks have to do their job in order for the secondary to do well, including the defensive line getting some pressure on Willis, but it's Sanders that I worry about as this game approaches.
- Shannon Woods will not effectively run the ball. This proposition is just silly, right? I mean, Woods led the Big 12 in all-purpose yards last year, he's going to be awesome right? Here's what I worry about, I worry about Leach fiddling too much with a good thing (Woods) and letting some other guys get a handful of carries (Lewis and Batch) won't allow Woods to get into a rhythm. Woods only averaged 11.69 attempts per game. Getting Woods on track after the tumultuous offseason is one of the bigger goals for me for this SMU game, I just need Leach to let Woods be the man.
- Michael Crabtree won't perform to my incredibly high expectations. This expectation is my own doing, but I think Crabtree is going to be a star, but what if he disappoints this first game? I don't think that his confidence will be shaken, he seems like a fairly confident kid, but I feel like Red Raider fans have built Crabtree up so much that those expectations will be hard to meet. I'm probably more guilty than most, but I really just want Crabtree to just go out there and let the game come to him. Results will follow.
- The defensive line is a complete unknown. Once again, I'm probably making a mountain out of a mole-hill, but my need to obsess about how this group will perform is beginning to bother me. Will Whitlock be able to handle his own against Division I athletes? Will Stoeffels be overwhelmed physically? Will Henley be a playmaker? There's a ton of questions going into this game and not near enough answers. The litmus test for this game will be domination. I know that's a high expectation to have, but I need for these guys to dominate a SMU offense and SMU offensive line that was horrible rushing the ball last year.