What an ending. What a season. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that Joey McGuire exceeded all expectations of a first year coach with the fifth toughest strength of schedule in the country. Not conference. Country.
This season had highs and lows no doubt. But I think you can characterize this team as gritty.
There were multiple games throughout the year that I firmly believe would have been blowouts under previous coaching staffs. North Carolina State, Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma jump out to me. thats almost half the schedule, and while Tech ended 2-3 in those games, I think 0-5 would’ve been more likely in past years.
Texas Tech also managed to beat Texas and Oklahoma for the first time in the same season in program history. Both in almost identical situations.
The truth is this: you were in every single game this year. The Baylor score, while lopsided, was within a single score going into the fourth quarter. You massacred a bad West Virginia team, you beat a third place Texas team and kept them out of the Big 12 Championship. You were a win in Manhattan away from the Big 12 Championship, in a year you were picked to finish 9th. All of the aforementioned things happened with three different starting quarterbacks, starting four games each. Absolutely wild.
Joey McGuire deserves all the praise. He likely won’t get coach of the year because of what Sonny Dykes is doing in Fort Worth, but the sentiment is there.
Another person who deserves a lot of credit is Zach Kittley.
A lot of people have torched this site on Twitter for the takes with Kittley. That’s fair. It comes with the territory. But I do not run the twitter account, and I think that Kittley is learning on the job. Yes he has been touted as this wunderkind genius play-caller, and I definitely think you saw it at times. There were also times that left you scratching your head asking “what the hell was that?” That is what comes with the territory. You get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to coach football, you are open to criticism. These coaches know that. They know how passionate this fanbase is, and they know what that means. But, in the end, this was his first year calling plays at the Power 5 level.
I do think Zach Kittley had his best game in the finale against OU. He came out with a gameplan that was executed poorly and flat out didn’t work. He made some very good adjustments at the end of the first quarter, and the Red Raiders were on their way, Sometimes that is all you need right? Kittley is learning and if the finale was any indicator, I think he will only get better in his role as more of his recruits come in and get on the field. As I mentioned earlier, this was all done with three different starting quarterbacks, a young receiving corps and a pieced-together offensive line.
Two guys who deserve all the praise as well are our two running backs SaRodorick Thompson, and Tahj Brooks.
Thompson and Brooks are both studs that in all honesty should’ve gotten the ball more. They are power five starters at any University minus 1 or 2 schools here and there, and they open up the passing game that much more because of how successful they are on the ground. Thompson finished the year averaging 5 yards per carry on 133 attempts, while Brooks also got 133 attempts and finished with 4.5 yards per carry. Having two backs averaging over 4.5 ypc is any OCs dream and we were lucky to have them both together for as long as we did.
With Joey McGuire and Co. Expecting Thompson to declare for the Draft, It looks to be Brooks, and Cam’ron Valdez in the backfield next season, but we can’t say enough about SaRodorick and what he has done for Texas Tech. We wish him nothing but the best.
As we prepare for bowl season and all likelihood points to the Cheeze-It Bowl in Orlando against a top 2 ACC opponent, I think this offense can stay potent, and with almost a month to prepare for our bowl game, I like our chances.
Things are looking up in Lubbock for the first time in probably close to ten years.
And it feels great.