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2011 Texas Tech Football Preview

Additional Previews | Pre-Snap Read's Paul Myerberg #45 | Rivals #32

2010 Record | 8-5 (3-5 in Big 12)

Returning Starters | 13 (7 on offense, 5 on defense).  Give the issues with injuries last year, it's tough to figure out who was considered a starter for this team and am considering Porter, Johnson, Davis, Mays and Hubert as returning starts, but it's understandable to think that this is stretching the term "returning starter" a bit.  It's almost an entirely new defense because of a handful of position changes, injuries, etc.

Key Losses | DT Colby Whitlock, DE/LB Brian Duncan, LB Bront Bird, LB Julius Howard, S Franklin Mitchem, QB Taylor Potts, RB Baron Batch, WR Detron Lewis, and WR Lyle Leong.

"We saw a lot of improvement from our defenses in the first half today. We still gave up too many big plays and that is something that we have to correct. But, I was pleased with their performance and the way they have improved. After seven days, I think we have made some headway but it is going to be important for us to develop some leadership."
- Texas Tech Head Coach Tommy Tuberville
During spring practice.

Key Additions | DT Leon Mackey should be a starter from day one. He's a big defensive end or defensive tackle that I think will give DC Chad Glasgow some options along the defensive line. Mackey was a highly rated player coming out of high school, but spent time at a prep school and junior college before making his way to Texas Tech. Freshman RB Ronnie Daniels was one of the stars of spring practices and I do think OC Neal Brown wants to work in New Mexico's all-time leading rusher. Fellow freshman, TE Jace Amaro, was one of the more highly rated tight ends in the country and he's not just your average blocking tight end. Amaro is a big (6-5/246) mature high school player with a lot of athleticism that can add another dimension to the Texas Tech passing game.

Impact Offensive Player | Call me crazy, but I think that QB Seth Doege will be just fine. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to think that Doege will throw for 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns this year and be one of the better quarterbacks in a conference with some talented signal callers. Doege has waited patiently for his chance and I don't think he'll disappoint.

Impact Defensive Player | I've said it before and I'll say it again, but CB Tre Porter should have a significant impact this year. Last year, Porter flipped between cornerback and safety and I like the fact that Porter will be a full-time cornerback this year. As a true freshman last year, Porter was third on the team with 76 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1 interception and 6 passes broken up. It wouldn't surprise me to see Porter be mentioned for all-conference honors this year. He just might be the team's best overall athlete and he's on defense. Red Raider fans, please rejoice.

The Offense

This is a public service announcement to other folks writing previews of the Texas Tech offense: Texas Tech will continue to run the spread offense and will not be switching to a heavily dominated run-based offense. I know that the tendency is to think that Tuberville will switch to an offense that doesn't fit the personnel, but the problem is that he doesn't have the pieces, even with the incoming freshmen, or the offensive coordinator to run that type of offense. I do think that Texas Tech will continue to throw the ball about 60% of the time and run the ball about 40% of the time, which is what OC Brown did last year.

More after the jump.

The success of the Texas Tech offense begins with the offensive line, which returns all five starters (LT LaAdrian Waddle, LG Lonnie Edwards, C Justin Keown, RG Deveric Gallington, and RT Mickey Okafor) and the one swing guy, Terry McDaniel, who could play right guard or left tackle. There is a lot of talent on the offensive line and with a year under their belt I think the offensive line will be better than they were last year, where as a team, the line gave up 1.62 sacks/game and still helped an offense that was #15 in the country in total offense, with 460.23 yards/game. RB Eric Stephens is the clear-cut starter and he's waited behind Baron Batch for two years to have his chance to start. I've already mentioned Daniels, but you'll also see RB Harrison Jeffers and RB Aaron Crawford see time at running back. RB Ben McRoy will also be a guy that probably swings between running back and inside receiver.

Texas Tech loses their top two outside receivers, Detron Lewis and Lyle Leong. This is where it gets a little dicey in the sense that Lewis and Leong accounted for a big part of the touchdown production from the receiving corps. Sophomore WR Eric Ward, senior WR Tramain Swindall, JUCO WR Marcus Kennard and a JUCO transfer WR Darrin Moore are the options right now at outside receiver and I think it might take a couple of games for the Kennard to make an impact, but Moore is probably a player that's going to make an immediate impact on the conference.

The Defense

The biggest change is who is in charge, and it's defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow, the secondary coach from TCU, who will be switching from the 3-4 to the 4-2-5. Most Red Raider fans know that this is probably a welcome change considering former DC James Willis probably asked too much of the personnel last year, especially the secondary. There will be a learning curve and the question remains how much of an improvement, if any, can Glasgow make in one year, considering Texas Tech fielded one of the worst defenses in the country last year.

One thing is certain, there will be more speed on the defense and I think this will be notable. The Texas Tech defense won't be as big as it was last year, especially at linebacker, but they will be much faster. It starts with Daniel Cobb now assuming one of the linebacker spots. Cobb, initially a defensive back, is converting to linebacker and the other linebacker spot will most likely be manned by sophomore Cqulin Hubert with senior Sam Fehoko, sophomore Zach Winbush and freshman Black Dees seeing time at linebacker.

With all of the injuries the secondary faced last year, the familiar faces that struggled a bit last year in exclusive man coverage, should be better. I've already mentioned Porter, but sophomore Derrick Mays should be improved after initially arriving at Texas Tech as a receiver and switching to cornerback late last year, showed excellent athleticism and speed. Jarvis Phillips and Eugene Neboh also return and expect newcomers JUCO Junior Osunde and freshman Jeremy Reynolds to see some time at cornerback as well. Weak safeties Cody Davis and Brett Dewhurst should be better than they were last year and they were already one of the more solid players on the team. I expect Terrance Bullitt to have a significant impact this year at the strong safety spot and D.J. Johnson will not be asked to be a cornerback this year, another position change that will improve the team, and I think he fits more naturally as a free safety spot, which is where he's slotted to play.

The big question is how good will the defensive line be considering the graduation of stalwart, Colby Whitlock. I like the talent available at defensive line, sophomore Pearlie Graves, senior Donald Langley and sophomore Kerry Hyder should all be improved. I think that Hyder is a player to watch as he has a nice combination of athleticism at the defensive tackle spot and could also rotate at defensive end. Sophomore DT Dennell Wesley, a JUCO transfer that will have three years to play, could see time at the inside defensivspot and he's by far the biggest defensive lineman on the team (6-2/317). Other than Mackey, Dartwan Bush may be the best pass rusher at defensive end. Once Scott Smith serves the remainder of his four game suspension he'll have an immediate impact. Sophomore Jackson Richards was named one of the starters after spring practice and would love to see a rotation of Richards and Mackey with Bush and Smith being the other set of defensive ends. Aundrey Barr should also see time at defensive end, although I think he's the furthest behind the other players mentioned.