This is DTN's annual review of players, position-by-position, to take a look at the players that I think will be gone (graduating seniors or players possibly leaving the program), guys I know something about (these are players I've heard), guys I know nothing about (these are players that are on the roster who I have no idea who they are) and guys I think are on the way (commits to the program).
GUYS I THINK WILL BE GONE
This is quite a bit of attrition, even if Bird and Duncan weren't your favorite players. They still had a ton of production. Despite anyone's misgivings about Bird, he still had 107 tackles last year, good for 1st on the team, and Duncan had 63 tackles, while playing out of position at defensive end / outside linebacker. He never should have been moved outside. He was great coming out of the gate, but he really leveled off and became so ineffective that he was moved back inside the last two (or three) games of the year. This is where he should have been all along. And despite struggling late, Duncan still led the team with 12.0 TFL, Bird had 5.0. Duncan led the team in sacks with 7.0, while Bird had 1.0. Thus, despite how much Duncan struggled, he registered 28% of last year's sacks and the closes competitor to Duncan was Scott Smith who had 3.0 sacks. If this should tell you something about the pass rush and why the pass defense was so bad last year.
And Howard, despite starting his career at safety, play the outside linebacker spot and he got lost in the shuffle it seemed. He started at the first of the year and eventually faded. Not irreplacable.
Granted, the pass rush isn't expected to come from a converted inside linebacker and I think there are legitimate defensive end options out there so that none of the guys listed below will be asked to do something that they're not capable of doing.
The loss of Peak (and his brother, Nubian, a defensive back) is somewhat significant because I think the staff had actually planned on Tahrick getting some playing time last year, but things didn't work out and he and Nubian are gone. Tahrick would have been the prototypical outside linebacker that Tuberville likes. There are some options on the roster, but I would suspect that there was a reason why Tuberville wanted Tahrick on the roster.
I can't comment much on Aguilar. Brydon did see some fairly significant time, especially late in the season as there were just so many injuries that he had put in the time and the team needed bodies.
GUYS I KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT
|23||Dion Chidozie||RS FR||6-1/208||Linebacker|
|42||Daniel Cobb||RS FR||6-0/215||Linebacker|
So this seems like a pretty short list, right? Thankfully, we're talking about a 4-2-5, which means that there are only two linebackers and they're going to be playing in a 30 technique (just outside each guard) and when I've looked back at TCU's depth chart, they utilize a middle linebacker and a strongside linebacker (lining up to the strongside of the formation), so we'll use those terms as well. And although this probably really has very little to do with what we might see this year, both the MLB and SLB for TCU last year were about 6-3/240. My point being is that I don't think that linebacker is necessarily where TCU's Patterson has smaller players. His linebackers aren't small and I would expect that Texas Tech's linebackers maybe aren't necessarily big, but they're not going to be 6-0/200. That's going to be reserved for the safeties.
More after the jump.
What we do know is that Cqulin Hubert saw a ton of time, especially late, last year. Just based on his measurable and his ability to get to the ball, he's the type of player that would work well at middle linebacker or strongside linebacker, but I think he'll end up at SLB. I think I've read that Cobb and Winbush are also at the SLB so that means to me that the SLB is going to be the more mobile of the two linebackers. And it's incredibly difficult to talk even a little bit about Cobb or Winbush as we haven't seen much, if any of them since they've been here, but I'm not giving up on them. They've still got quite a bit of their careers in front of them. I'd also guess that if Chidozie sticks at linebacker, he'll be a strongside linebacker.
At MLB you've got Fehoko, probably Sonier, Carmical and Dees (more on him below). Fehoko is the known quantity and I've already talked a bit about how Fehoko looked over-weight playing defensive end at the end of the year. He just looked like a mess and hope that he's back around 225 or 230, which seems to fit his frame better and will make him a better middle linebacker. I think that Sonier could flip between MLB and SLB, although I think that Hubert is more talented, but it also wouldn't surprise me or disappointment if Sonier also started at linebacker. Carmical redshirted last year and if you don't remember, he was a former high school quarterback and linebacker that looked like (and probably still is) a fantastic athlete. I could see him at either position as well.
If Texas Tech were to switch back to a 4-3, I'd be a bit worried about the lack of depth at linebacker, but with only having 2 linebackers, it's not as big a worry for me right now. There appear to be options available, although the biggest worry is whether or not the available players will be able to make up for the relative lack of experience that's going to be on the field.
GUYS I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT
This is where we're going to learn a little something about the players on the roster who you may not have heard of. Rather than doing much homework, I'm going to link to their Texas Tech profile page and let each of you dig around.
The only one to discuss is Foster:
Ryan "Tanner" Foster ... born July, 21, 1989, in Hobbs, NM ... son of Larry and Jane Foster ... has an older brother, Ty ... enjoys rodeos and swimming ... majoring in Exercise and Sports Sciences.
GUYS I THINK ARE ON THE WAY
The one guy that I pegged not to do much has already proven to do a little in the scrimmage, which is Dees. As a true freshman, he's already showing an ability to make plays at the middle linebacker and he was the one guy that I just didn't project to do much of anything. Seeing him in person and on film, he's a much more fluid athlete than I expected and he's not as stocky as I expected. Those are good things. Eguavoen is incredibly raw and hasn't played much football, which is why Texas Tech was able to steal him away from fledgling football program, UTSA. Mainly a basketball player up until his senior year, you can see in his high school highlight tape that he likes to hit which is a bit rare for a guy that just doesn't have a lot of experience playing. Cooper was said to be the quarterback of the defense and seems a bit small for linebacker, although I think he played safety in high school as well. I'd guess that the coaching staff thinks that they can figure out where Cooper will play when he gets here and determine if he needs to add weight or stay about where he's at and play one of the safety positions. I'm expecting all of these guys to redshirt, even Dees, although he's doing well now.
|Sam Fehoko||Tanner Foster||Daniel Cobb||Joe Carmical|
|Tyrone Sonier||Cqulin Hubert||Blake Dees|
|Zach Winbush||Justin Cooper|
|Dion Chidozie||Sam Eguavoen|