The Texas Tech Red Raiders might be taking the field in a few short weeks against Houston Baptist. While HBU will likely provide no resistance, there are a lot of questions for this year’s team over the course of the season. Three areas in particular stand out, and they will probably decide whether head coach Matt Wells and the gang triumph or flop in Year 2.
The secondary’s improvement from last season
Last year’s pass defense, using the term defense lightly, was about as bad as could be. Teams attacking through the air found copious amounts of success, leading Tech to be dead last in pass defense in the Big 12 and were nearly dead last in the nation. This still rung true despite Douglas Coleman racking up a ton of early season interceptions and competition against three awful passing opponents to start the year.
This team is not going to succeed if the secondary repeats that performance. Adrian Frye moving back to his natural corner position will help, but there is still a lack of talented depth on the back-end. Keith Patterson is probably going to have to scheme to protect this vulnerable secondary, but even just being mediocre against the pass would be a godsend.
Alan Bowman’s development and health
I am #TeamBowman, the kid physically has the tools to be a great quarterback. Not an overwhelming thrower, but has a strong, accurate arm capable of making the throws to succeed at the college level and beyond. However, there is little evidence on how Bowman looks against quality defenses.
He torched Houston, but floundered against West Virginia before being knocked out of the game. He was dealing against Oklahoma, but could not crack Iowa State’s scheme. Bowman’s health is a major concern, but his development as a passer is just as critical. He needs to be more confident in the pocket and make the easy throws look easy.
His tools did not seem that well suited for Yost’s offense, but he flashed greatness despite that. Bowman may not be your starter by year’s end if he cannot develop into a consistent quarterback. If his inconsistency continues, this year’s team will take some major lumps.
The team’s mental fortitude
Last year’s team made mental mistakes and compounded that by not being mentally tough. The stupid penalties that killed numerous drives were bad enough, but if the game started to get away from Tech, the team just seemed to quit.
Both the Oklahoma and Texas games are great examples of this. Once the tide turned in the opponents’ favor there was no fight in Tech’s tank. Wells preached discipline and mental toughness but there was little seen last year. Eliminating the mental mistakes is the difference between six wins and two this year with the reduced schedule.