The Defensive Backs in 2014 were an extremely young and inexperienced group. A young group last season in 2014 will still be a young group going into the 2015 season. This time around however the young group will have a year of experience in their back pocket, which could bode well for them. Also this group is not losing any significant players from 2014. The Defensive Backs in my opinion are the most crucial piece for Texas Tech to turn things around in 2015 especially in a pass happy Big 12.
New Defensive Coordinator David Gibbs could be this position group's most valuable piece in turning things around in 2015. Coach Gibbs was a turnover artist at the University of Houston. In 2014 Coach Gibbs defense was ranked #11 in turnovers gained and was ranked # 20 in overall defense out of all FBS schools. It is no secret that Coach Gibbs will be focusing on getting turnovers in 2015 after stating that he would like to turn some of the deflected balls into interceptions. That young group of defensive backs in 2014 may have lacked the confidence it takes to go up and intercept the ball rather than being content with just a deflection. A year of experience for this young group should make for better play in 2015.
Left cornerback: Justis Nelson, Jr.; Tevin Madison, So.; Kisean Allen, Fr.
Left safety: Jalen Barnes, So.; Derrick Dixon, So.; Michael Coley, Fr.
Right safety: Keenon Ward, Jr.; Payton Hendrix, Fr.; John White, Sr.
Right cornerback: Nigel Bethel, So.; D.J. Polite-Bray, Jr.; Thierry Nguema, Jr.; La’Darius Newbold, Jr.
Injured/out for spring: S J.J. Gaines, Sr. (shoulder surgery); DB Jah’Shawn Johnson, So. (shoulder surgery); CB Joseph Clark, Fr. (knee/leg rehabilitation).
With a new coach it's not good to see Senior Safety J.J. Gaines out for the spring, but his mental reps will be valuable. Also a new defensive coordinator is nothing new for Gaines or any other Upper Classmen on the Texas Tech Defense. Look for Gaines to be the leader in the secondary this year. Also look for Nigel Bethel and Justis Nelson to make huge strides at the cornerback position for the Red Raiders in 2015.
GET YOUR GUNS UP AND KEEP'EM UP