When you think of Texas Tech Football, you don’t tend to think of defense. Hell you might even try to forget about defense at times, and really who could blame you?
Remember the 2016 season? Tech really didn’t even have a defense, giving up 68 points to Arizona State, 44 to Kansas State, 48 to West Virginia, 66 to OU, 45 to UT and Oklahoma State, and a whopping 66 to Iowa State.
But that is all a thing of the past.
At least it should be.
This season, the Texas Tech defense should be one of the best we have seen since the Mike Leach era, and yes I understand what that means.
Keith Patterson has been a solid coordinator in the Matt Wells era, and I think KP has the best defense at Tech since 2009.
If you look at this defense by groups, you have what is possibly the best linebacking group in the conference with talent and depth, as well as talent and depth in the secondary, too. The line will be the biggest question mark, if you want to call it that.
Led by returners Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford Jr. grouped with Nelson Mbanasor, Tyree Wilson, Devin Drew, Gilbert Ibeneme, and newcomer Robert Wooten, the d-line could really surprise a few folks, so watch out.
I might shock a few folks here but here goes nothing: Texas Tech has the best linebackers in the Big 12.
Yes you read that correctly.
Riko Jeffers, Colin Schooler, Krishon Merriweather, Jacob Morgenstern, Brandon Bouyer-Randle, Jesiah Pierre, and Kosi Eldridge among others make the rotation solid and competitive throughout and I believe all of those guys could start at the D1 level.
Jeffers, Schooler, Merriweather, Morganstern, and Bouyer-Randle combined for 261 total tackles last season, which comes out to about 35% of the tackles for the defense that were made by these five players. I don’t think much more needs to be said about their importance.
The secondary will feature a lot of transfers from all over the country whether it be Marquis ‘Muddy’ Waters from Duke, Malik Dunlap from NC State, Reggie Pearson Jr. from Wisconsin, or Rayshad Williams from UCLA. All of these transfers will look to mesh and fill the hole left by Zech McPherson at corner. Pearson Jr. and Waters will be more of the safety type, whereas Williams and Dunlap could slide in at corner.
Tech also has a solid core of returning players. DaMarcus Fields will be a starter at one of the corner positions after leading the Big 12 in pass break-ups last season, and Adrian Frye will no doubt see some significant playing time as well. Dadrion Taylor-Demerson will see the field as well as the junior from OKC had an impressive off-season.
At safety, Eric Monroe will return after having the third most tackles on the team last year. The senior transfer from LSU came to Tech prior to last year and had an instant impact finishing with 60 tackles.
Bottom line folks: Get excited for both sides of the ball.
This defense could be in the top 3 or 4 in the conference.
When people think of Tech, they think of offense. This year, the defense will give them a run for their money.