Kliff Kingsbury and company have been able to fly under the radar this spring. With the success of the basketball and baseball teams, Texas Tech football had become an afterthought which is unusual in west Texas. This has all been to the benefit of Kingsbury, coming into his sixth and most important season. Yet the quiet spring seemed to come to a hault on March 25th, when four Texas Tech football players were arrested, thus bringing the spotlight right back onto the program. After some internal punishment and a light suspension, all four players including quarterback Jett Duffey were allowed to play in Saturday’s spring scrimmage, giving more of the public a chance to see how far the team has come.
- The main reason for Tech having this Frisco scrimmage is for the recruits and they pulled out all the stops. Four-star athletes Marvin Mims, Ja’Quinden Jackson, and Titus Swen were in attendance along with four-star Texas Tech commit Steven Parker and others. Tech started the day with an impressive graphic intro that’s sure to impress 17 year-olds, and also made sure to have Texas Tech royalty in attendance on the sideline.
- Saturday’s scrimmage at The Star in Frisco was very lightly received. Though the announced attendance was 10,000, it did not look like it. Compared to last year’s environment, not as many people showed up this year as the stadium looked only half full most of the time and even more vacant towards the end.
- This quarterback competition is becoming more frustrating than entertaining. Both McLane Carter and Jett Duffey had horrendous interceptions in the scrimmage and though Bowman made a couple impressive throws, he struggled to complete a good amount of them. Duffey has the talent and, like Mahomes, tries to make every throw imaginable but makes bad decisions. Though I had been critical before, Bowman may end up being the best quarterback out of the bunch but seems just too inexperienced at this moment. I do want to shout out Nick Gerber who actually went completed all four of his passes for 66 yards. I wouldn’t mind seeing him make more throws going forward.
- Da’Leon Ward continued his impressive spring by running, catching and even returning kicks. Ward had a 104-yard kick return touchdown which brought joy to the crowd. His competition Tre King had less than stellar day averaging 2.5 yards on 14 carries. Though King got the most carries, Ward looked like the better back for the second scrimmage in a row.
- It doesn’t seem like we’ll have the expected drop-off in talent at wide receiver. All around the field WRs were making plays. Antoine Wesley looks like he’ll be a name we hear often as he gained 64 yards off five catches. Jo Jo Robinson had 42 yards off four catches, and De’Quan Bowman only had one catch but with a nice little move and sprint, he took it to the house for a 40 yard touchdown.
- Defense as a whole played tremendously. At this point, it’s safe to say this group will have to lead in order for the team to be successful. The defense, led by Brayden Stringer, forced three turnovers on the day and made it difficult for both the passing and rushing game to get anything going.
- Red-shirt freshman Adrian Frye has a crowded secondary to break through but showed he could be this year’s Justus Parker. Frye not only got a fumble recovery, but also got a nice sideline interception.
- I don’t expect us to have the same special team snafus we had this past season. Clayton Hatfield went 4/4 on field goals in this game and has said before that he finally feels 100%. Adding to the aforementioned kickoff return, Punter Dominic Panazzolo also got some nice punt off including this one in warm-ups.
- Despite a disappointing recruiting class, the freshman and newcomers showed up and showed out in this game. Bowman and Gerber had impressive moments at QB while walk on transfer Andre Johnson used his one carry to plow into the end zone. Despite a few penalties, Donta Thompson showed his potential reeling in five catches for 33 yards, while Sterling Galban went for 24 yards off three catches. Dalton Rigdon stole the show leading all WRs with 73 yards and a wonderful 53-yard touchdown catch.
- For the second year in a row, the scrimmage ended on a make-a-wish kid running the ball in for a touchdown. This tradition should never stop, it is an absolutely awesome moment for the crowd, the team and most importantly the kids involved.