Using the word certainty when describing a future event can be a ludicrous exercise. At this point last year, I was certain Davis Webb was going to have a huge 2014 season, we had our QB of the future committed in Stidham and Defensive Coordinator Matt Wallerstedt's defense would be better in his second season. I wasn't the only Red Raider fan wrong about those "certainties." There were other things I was certain about as well that didn't relate to Tech. I was certain I didn't want to face Trevor Knight at OU for the next few years and TCU was a lower rung Big 12 team. But sports happen, certainties become wrong predictions and we do it all over again next season. That's where we are at today.....am I certain about anything heading into this season? Having thought about it for awhile, I think there are a few things I am certain about with this team for next season.
First off, I am certain Le'Raven Clark is the best player on the team. Based on all of his accolades, the stats and the NFL draft projections, it is pretty clear he is the best. After Clark the second best player on the roster could be debated. DeAndre Washington, Pete Robertson and Pat Mahomes are some names that would probably be mentioned as the second best player on the team but #1 is not debatable to me.
Secondly, offensive or defensive lines are the two position groups that we can least afford an injury. I wrote an article last week which spoke to the inexperience on the second team of each line. Yikes! Nothing like a trial by fire which the backups will have to go through if an injury occurs to a starter. Injuries are a part of college football, but hopefully we can avoid any devastating ones this season.
Lastly, I am certain we will know a lot more about this coaching staff once this season is over. That seems obvious but this coaching staff is very young and is still finding their way. At some point, they have to find it and quit being young because this is a results based business that expects those results quickly. I can't think of another coaching staff in the Big 12 that has more to prove, although Texas fans may argue for Strong. I think there will be a couple of areas to judge the coaching beyond just the record. Coach Kingsbury has repeatedly spoken about penalties and turnovers being a big emphasis for the team this season. I think that is the first area to look for improvement. If the team doesn't improve in these areas that means the coaches aren't getting through to them which would be a huge reason for concern. The other area is the fight of the team. I don't care about the record nearly as much as I care about seeing this team compete each and every game and not getting 82 hung on them. I don't want to see Arkansas run through us in the second half like we aren't fielding a defense. We saw too much of that last season and are honestly talented enough to not see that happen this season.
As with any prediction, there is never 100% accuracy. If I hit on two out of three these, I will be happy. Just like I will be happy if we win two out of every three games next season. I think that is a good compromise.