I know I've done this before, maybe last year, but I wanted to take a good look at what we could expect from the Texas Tech running game, especially because last year was, well, turrible. It just wasn't good on a lot of levels. This post isn't about blame, it's about expectation moving forward.
Before the year started, I am sure that I took a look at the overall rushing from Kliff Kingsbury's teams as an offensive coordinator, but that was somewhat skewed because Manziel gonna Manziel and run all over the place. It made things difficult to figure out because Kingsbury did what he should have done, which is let Manziel run all over the place. Even then, I somewhat thought that Texas Tech would be close to the running backs from Texas A&M last year and it really wasn't all that close at all.
I'd also add that in addition to just figuring out how off the running backs where, I've been trying to think about what would be realistic expectations for incoming freshmen, Justin Stockton and Demarcus Felton. Assuming they could be the 2nd or 3rd backs, I was curious to think about what was realistic for either or one of them. So, let's tackle the table first and then get to some thoughts.
|Kliff Kingsbury's Running Backs|
|1st Leading Running Back||Rushing Attempts||Rushing Yards||Receptions||Receiving Yards|
|2013 (Kenny Williams)||125||497||30||264|
|2012 (Ben Malena)||138||808||18||111|
|2011 (Charles Sims)||110||821||51||575|
|2010 (Bryce Beall)||163||870||12||90|
|2nd Leading Running Back||Rushing Attempts||Rushing Yards||Receptions||Receiving Yards|
|2013 (DeAndre Washington)||107||450||34||269|
|2012 (Christine Michael)||88||417||8||48|
|2011 (Michael Hayes)||138||727||44||483|
|2010 (Michael Hayes)||150||629||30||327|
|3rd Leading Running Back||Rushing Attempts||Rushing Yards||Receptions||Receiving Yards|
|2013 (Sadale Foster)||29||191||18||165|
|2012 (Trey Williams)||65||376||12||171|
|2011 (Bryce Beall)||53||311||9||107|
|2010 (Chris Wilson)||24||122||1||4|
As far as the 1st leading running back, last year just has to be the exception rather than the rule. Quite literally 300 yards less than any other of the leading running back. The carries are pretty much the average, but the production just isn't there. I think part of this is that the passing game was in a bit of a bad situation so opposing defenses maybe didn't have to respect the air attack as much and could quite literally ignore Webb or Mayfield or anyone else. There was just so much that they could do as true freshmen.
Thus, the expectation is that this year, whoever starts needs to get 800 yards rushing. That just needs to happen. It happened in College Station and in Houston and that's just the way it should be. Assuming that it is DeAndre Washington, and I have no reason to believe that it won't be him, 800 yards is the minimum, and Kingsbury has been pretty consistent with that leading rusher and his attempts. And there's no reason to think that Washington couldn't be a similar threat to what Sims did at Houston. Woof. Sims is really great at what he does, but Washington can do similar things.
As far as the second running back, it's a bit more varied, but I think the average is actually pretty good and Washington was a few carries and yards below the average. I'm guessing, the thought process was that although Washington was much better, let's not bang our head against the wall. I'm thinking that Quinton White is the second guy here as he is a change of pace from Washington and Stockton. Really though, he is the only change of pace as he's a bigger back, or he's a bowling ball, one of the two. And I'll readily admit, that I'm pretty much in love with White and I think he's going to be fantastic given an opportunity.
As far as the third running back, one of those freshmen is going to fill this role. The fourth running back was largely a bit player, so this is pretty much it. It is interesting to see the bookend of 25 or so carries by Foster and Wison, with almost a double the number of carries between the two. If, and this is a big if, Webb is better, and reading defenses on a second level and truly sharing the rock, then those carries could get towards the 50 range and I'd be completely happy with that.
Alright, you have the figures, tell me what you think. Let's do this.