It's exciting to have Red Raider football on TV even if it is only the spring game and not the real deal. The Red Raiders will hold their annual spring game tomorrow in Midland at 11am. Fox Sports Southwest will televise the game. The team will look to play 120-130 plays with the ones versus the ones and twos versus the twos.
Going 4-8 leaves room for improvement in a lot of areas, but I will be focusing on three things.
1) Mike Mitchell/Breiden Fehoko: These two guys are the only newcomers who can come in and have an immediate impact on next year's defense. From all reports, Mike Mitchell is an exceptional athlete who excelled in practices last fall while redshirting. LB is a desperate need position after graduating VJ Fehoko (Breiden's older brother), Sam Eguavoen and Chris Payne, all who saw significant playing time last season. Breiden Fehoko is a true freshman defensive lineman that arrived on campus in January. We need both playmakers and depth at DL. It would be great if he could be a playmaker right out of the box, but we should all be happy if he is just a depth guy this season. I will be watching both of these guys closely to see how they perform.
2) Turnovers/Penalties: Just this week Coach Kingsbury talked to the media specifically mentioning these two things as focal points for him during the spring game. We heard the same things throughout last season, as the Red Raiders were plagued with turnovers and penalties. We have been atrocious in the penalty category for a while now. Since 2008 our best national ranking is #96 out of #125 in penalty yards per game. Last year we were dead last in the nation. The penalty issue seems to be an institutional issue that is going to take some time to get right. I would like to start seeing some improvement in that area though. Luckily being dead last in the nation last year, there is nowhere to go but up ranking-wise.
3) WR Play: While the QB play at times wasn't stellar last season, the WR play was extremely inconsistent. Marquez played well for stretches and then disappeared. Grant played well at times, but dropped too many easy catches. Reginald Davis was MIA all last season. After being quiet early in the season, Sadler came on late, as did Lauderdale. You get the picture. We need consistency at this position. If the ball hits them in the hands, they have to catch it. If they have an opportunity to break a big one, they have to break it. If it is 3rd and 5, they have to get open at 5 yards and make the catch.
Be sure to visit us about game time, we will have an open thread talking about what we see on the field.