Offensive production has been synonymous with the Big-12 for decades now and continues to be the staple of the conference.
Texas Tech vs Oklahoma in 2016 is a key example of that, with barely any defense being played in a 66-59 Oklahoma win. Last years heartbreaking 63-56 loss to Texas was more proof that you can even lose games in which you put up 40+ points in this league.
The two times that Tech did that last year both resulted in close losses. That just goes to show you that one turnover or even a drive that ends up in a field goal could be the difference no matter how many points you score.
This season Techs offense will look to have less than 3 games where they put up less than 20 points, especially when going up against the better teams in the conference. They put up over 30 points in just four games last season, which even in a shortened season is the lowest amount of games in quite a long time.
After letting former offensive coordinator David Yost go after the season ended, Tech signed a former Red Raider player and coach in Sonny Cumbie. He was the offensive coordinator at TCU from 2013 until last season and was key in developing guys like Trevone Boykin and Kenny Hill into the guys that they were during their time at TCU. His offenses were usually within the top 3-5 in the Big-12, but tailed off with lack of talent in their skill positions.
So what exactly is there to look forward to this season? Oregon transfer Tyler Shough started the hype train early on in the offseason and is looking to win the starting quarterback job for Tech. Henry Colombi played in 6 games for Tech last season and ended up as an All-Big 12 honorable mention.
Whichever quarterback wins the job will have a bevy of weapons at their disposal. Handing the ball off to guys like Sarodorick Thompson, Chadarius Townsend, Tahj Brooks and Xavier White is going to help this offense open up the passing game. Thompson is one of the best running backs not only in the league but the nation as well, and he can take it to the house on any given play. Townsend is a transfer from Alabama that helped in the return game as well. White is one of the most diverse players in the nation, and he’ll be lining up in the slot as well to help strengthen Techs passing game as well.
The strength of this team has been and continues to be the receivers. Erik Ezukanma was a first team All-Big 12 receiver and returns to the team after breaking his arm right before the spring game. Kaylon Geiger transferred in from Troy and was an electric playmaker with the ball in his hands, so he’ll look to be a big part of Techs passing game as well. A few other guys that will make an impact this season will be Myles Price, Mclane Mannix, Trey Cleveland and Loic Fouonji. Given the depth they had, maybe a few other guys could see some time out there as the season goes on.
The tight end position hasn’t been utilized all that much since Jace Amaro was one of the best in the nation in 2013. Travis Koontz is entering his third season as a Red Raider and will look to make a bigger impact this season with the change in offense. Mason Tharp and Jed Castles look to back him up and provide 6”7 frames that any quarterback would love to take advantage of.
As for the offensive line, they have three guys who are captains in Josh Burger, Dawson Deaton and Caleb Rogers. Burger and Rogers will be on the right side of the line, and Deaton will be the man in the middle. The left tackle spot will be manned by T.J Storment, a TCU transfer that was second team All-Big 12. Left guard will be Weston Wright who has been starting for two seasons and provides experience for the offensive line that could make them one of the best in the conference.
Techs offense will be the key to their success this season. Even with their defense looking to make a statement, there’s only so much they can do in this conference.
My prediction is that Shough will take over the starting quarterback job and provide the best option for the offense to be as successful as it can possibly be. The ceiling here could be a top-5 offense in the nation and a shot at competing amongst the best in the league. Would I love for this team to be undefeated and win it all? Of course. However a record that is well above a winning record is very likely for this team with the weapons they have.
Get ready for some fireworks from this team, and to be excited about a successful football team again.