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Should Texas Tech Ever Punt?

It's been a common argument amongst many fans and even some coaches. Most schools don't have a valid argument for going for it on 4th down, but I think it's safe to say Texas Tech is different than most schools.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There's many college football debates going on including banning kickoffs, player discipline, satellite camps, and Big 12 expansion. But I believe there is one more that at least Texas Tech should start having. The following statement is going to seem way outside the box crazy to some and possibly genius to others. Texas Tech should consider getting rid of punting and go for it on 4th down! This isn't necessarily a new conversation but it's one that could seriously be relevant to Tech and here are some reasons why:

1. Texas Tech's Defense

As of late Texas Tech's defense has been just plain awful. There's simply no way of denying it because the numbers don't lie. Last year Tech ranked 126th in total defense. Just in case you were wandering that's really bad and nearly the absolute worst in college football, but thanks to Kansas, Tech was only 2nd to last in total defense. So take that Kansas! The reason this matters is because if Tech's defense is as bad as it has been then why not try to keep them off the field as much as possible? Last year Tech gave up 44 points per game, which was 124th in the nation. Call me crazy but if we're giving up this many points per game then it seems logical to just risk going for it on 4th down because worst case scenario the opposing team scores a touchdown which they were likely to do anyways!

Also a positive point from a defensive perspective is that Tech was ranked in the top 25 in terms of defensive takeaways. Tech plays aggressive style defense, which is also a huge benefit to going for it on 4th down because even if Tech does fail then there's still a decent possibility the defense comes up with a turnover.

Another part of the defense point is that if Tech's defense were to become incredibly great then it would also apply because then there's really not a good chance of the opposing team scoring period. Just saying!

2. Texas Tech's Offense

Now clearly this doesn't work without a crazy good offense. Thankfully Tech has one of those that is arguably the best. Last year Tech was 2nd in the nation in scoring offense with 45 points per game. Tech's fast-paced tempo is another perk because it allows the offense to control the tempo on the field. This could definitely be the case given the no-punt because it's either likely to give the opposing team a short field to work with or Tech will have a chance to continue their drive, thus wearing out the defense. Last year Tech converted about 48 percent of their 4th down conversions (11 for 23). Not necessarily great, but definitely not bad either. The reason there were only 23 attempts is because Tech was also the best 3rd down offense in the nation. If this trend can continue then the Red Raider offense is fully capable of carrying the load a little more and staying on the field one more down.

3. Punt Return Defense

This isn't a stat that most people look at or let alone care about, but it adds to my argument. Last year Tech was ranked 108th in punt return defense allowing nearly 13 yards every punt, which isn't good. Once again Tech can prevent a bad punt return defense from taking the field by keeping their great offense on the field.

4. Game Psychology

It's safe to say that any team that is frequently attempting 4th down conversions is going to impact an opposing team in a psychological way. Especially against a Texas Tech offense that already puts extreme stress on any defense. Imagine stopping Texas Tech on 3rd down realizing that you're pretty tired and grateful for the drive to be over, but then you realize that Patrick Mahomes is lining up for another play? Yeah it'd be a little mentally disturbing.

The argument has been made. There are pros and cons for this style of play and it's really only necessary to ignore the cons and focus on the pros. It may seem crazy and that's because it probably is. It works great in Madden, which could be a correlation. One coach that does pull it off is Kevin Kelley, who never punts and always goes for the onside kick. It worked so well for him that it was banned by the National Federation of High School Association. I don't realistically expect Tech to start attempting 4th down plays every time, but I don't see much wrong with going for it on your own 40 yard line or beyond. Especially when you have an offense as capable as Tech's. It's all about risk and reward and I think the reward in this situation outweigh's the risks. The defense will likely be better in the coming years thanks to Gibbs and the young talent he is developing. So hopefully soon there is no longer a great argument to make for this style of play besides having a spectacular offense.

There is a lot of progressive movement taking place in college football, and it may not be long until attempting plays on 4th down doesn't sound too crazy. But until then, just think about it.