As former Tech lineman Stephen Hamby returns to Lubbock with the title of offensive line coach, one can feel nostalgic, but also a little anxious.
Hamby, one of the greatest centers in Texas Tech Football history, will have his hands full this season as he is tasked as the head man in charge of what will be the biggest question mark on this offensive unit.
This unit might be the oldest unit with the least amount of experience in the country.
Now, I’m not saying this is a BAD thing really, just a question mark. The line will be a key factor to just how wild this offense can get. If they have trouble pass blocking, then Tahj Brooks and Sarodrick Thompson might be splitting 50 carries a game.
However, if the line has trouble run blocking, but can pass block, whoever wins the QB job might be putting up 55-60 attempts per game.
There are two returners on the line in Caleb Rogers and Weston Wright, and Hamby brought Western Kentucky transfer Cole Spencer back to Lubbock as well, although due to injury, Spencer was a little late in starting to get reps in fall camp.
The one thing you can expect is for these lineman to not be ‘pigeon-holed’ at one position, meaning that they are going to put the best five guys out there that are going to give the Red Raiders the best opportunity to win.
With that being said, you can expect Rogers at left tackle and Wright at right guard-at least for now. This opens up spots at left guard, right tackle, and center, a huge hole left by Dawson Deaton, who is now with the Cleveland Browns organization.
Going into camp, Dennis Wilburn and Cade Briggs were towards the top at center, Ethan Carde, Monroe Mills, and Ty Buchanan at right tackle, and I am thinking Spencer will slot in at left guard to protect the blind side of the quarterback. There are still a lot of question marks at this point, and I’m interested to see the depth chart going into the Murray State game.
When I look at this line, I see talent-although little experience- and lack of depth, I don’t want anyone to worry, but if someone on this line goes down at any point this season, we might be taking on water so to speak, and quickly at that. What we do have is the leader of the best pass protection from last season in Hamby, and as a Tech grad, I wouldn’t want anyone else in that position.
If you are having a little bit of anxiety about the offensive line, here is your chaser, the tight ends.
This group is not lacking in anything at all, especially size. Baylor Cupp is a transfer from Texas A&M, measuring at 6’6” and 250 lbs. He is expected to split reps with returner Mason Tharp, who, if you can believe it, has actually grown some more this off-season and now measures at 6’9” and 260 lbs. Henry Teeter will also see the field as the senior is the most seasoned vet on this squad at tight end.
I’ve been reading and watching some highlights from fall camp, and if everything I’m seeing about this group is accurate, I would put them up against any room in the Big 12, and possibly the country.
Josh Cochran is the new tight ends coach under Joey McGuire, he was a grad assistant at Baylor from 2017-19 and coached at Austin Peay as the offensive line and co-offensive coordinator the past two seasons. On July 12, 2022, Cochran was named to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ list.
This season the big men up front have a lot to prove, and a whole hell of a lot is riding on this group. With the size at tight end, along with a couple of returners, and a transfer with experience in Zach Kittley’s system, they have the ingredients for a good season, but can they put them together?
Only time will tell.