The old saying is that defenses win championships. While it is true that having a stout defense can carry you to the heights that you want to reach, you also have to be able to score points. Since Mike Leach took over as head coach of the Red Raiders, in 2000, Tech has been among the top offenses in the nation. This stayed true in the Tommy Tuberville era, and, thus far, Kliff Kingsbury has done nothing that would make me believe that the Air Raid is a thing of the past. As great as the Red Raider offenses have been, the defense has not always carried its weight. Tyler Noland started a Tech Position preview two weeks ago. However, he is no longer writing for Viva The Matadors, and I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to take over the series! I am going to keep his Monday schedule and for the next 8 weeks will be previewing a position each week. The order, starting with today, will be as follows: Linebackers, Defensive Line, Special Teams, Offensive Line, Running Backs, Wide Receivers, Quarterbacks, and ending with Coaches. Enough house keeping, let’s get to business!
When I begun to research for this article, I came across one factoid that I really like. This linebacking core has experience. Of the 14 linebackers that are currently on the roster, 7 of them are at least juniors. I am also a big fan of a man who is making a run at the starting middle linebacker position, Micah Awe. For those of you who did not have a chance to watch the spring game, you missed a heck of a performance by Mr. Awe. He was everywhere; stopping runs behind or at the line of scrimmage and he even picked off Patrick Mahomes.
According to the Texas Tech depth chart provided to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal the pre-spring game depth chart is as follows:
Strong-side linebacker: Sam Atoe, Jacarthy Mack, Collin Bowen.
Middle linebacker: Micah Awe, Dakota Allen, Kahlee Woods.
Weak-side linebacker: Mike Mitchell, Malik Jenkins, Bobby Esiaba, Grant Bouma.
I can’t wait to see what Mike Mitchell can do. He is the linebacker that transferred from Ohio State before the 2014 season to join the Red Raiders. As is NCAA transfer rules, he sat out this past season. The only linebacker recruited in the 2015 class is three-star recruit, D’Vonta Hinton.
For the most part, the players that will make the biggest impact are an experienced bunch. In a conference that has many of the country's best offenses, the defense needs to step up. The linebackers will be the defensive crew that leads the charge.
With this being my first positional preview, I would love some feedback from you the readers. What would you like to see in the position previews in the future? What would you not like to see? Either comment below or tweet me @ConnerCrisp. Also, I need to make a special shout out to Chancellor Photography for the picture of the scoreboard they allowed me to use at the top of the article. If you are interested in anymore of their images from the spring game, check out their Facebook page. I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed our baseball team’s series win over Kansas! Thanks for reading and GUNS UP!