2008 Texas Tech Red Raiders Football Preview
Texas Tech 2007 Record: (9-4, 4-4 Big 12)
2007 Bowl: Gator Bowl vs. Virginia (W 31-28)
Texas Tech Head Coach: Mike Leach (65-37 at Texas Tech, 65-37 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: none
Defensive Coordinator: Ruffin McNeill
Texas Tech's Returning Leaders:
Other Key Returnees: WR Edward Britton, LB Brian Duncan, DT Rajon Henley, S Darcel McBath, WR Eric Morris, DE Jake Ratliff, G Louis Vasquez, DT Colby Whitlock
Key Losses: WR Danny Amendola, S Joe Garcia, CB Chris Parker, LB Kellen Tillman, K Alex Trlica, LB Paul Williams
With ten starters returning to the nation’s second most prolific offense, Texas Tech hopes to be able to outscore anybody they play. And it all starts with quarterback Graham Harrell. As a junior Harrell threw for 5,705 yards and 48 touchdowns. Say what you will about him being a system quarterback, but the fact is that Harrell fits well into the system and he makes the system even more successful.
Texas Tech's Strengths:
The only loss on the offensive side of the ball is wide receiver Danny Amendola. But with sophomore Michael Crabtree, who caught 134 passes for 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns as a freshman, Eric Morris and Edward Britton returning, finding targets will not be a problem for Harrell. The running game often gets overlooked in Lubbock, but having an experienced back like Shannon Woods at least gives the Red Raiders some more options. Led by Louis Vasquez, the offensive line returns all five starters and Harrell and the rest of the offense can pick apart any defense when the line gives them time.
Texas Tech's Weaknesses:
The defense does not get as much credit as they deserve. Last year Texas Tech ranked third in the conference in total defense and they have plenty of quality players to improve on that ranking this year. However, the rush defense definitely has room to improve after giving up 177 yards per game last season. The front four have returned, but they will have to continue where they left off at the end of last season instead of starting over. When Ruffin McNeill took over the defensive coordinator duties during the last eight games of the season, the defensive line flourished. With an entire offseason to work with, the unit could become a strength very quickly. They will need some help stopping the run from the linebackers. Despite losing two starters, the Red Raiders linebacker corps is deeper and more athletic than it has been in years.
The Bottom Line for the Red Raiders:
The Red Raiders have the potential to win the Big XII and reach a BCS Bowl. The offense can put up more points than anybody, but the defense will have to continue to develop and take a big step forward if Texas Tech hopes to be able to beat Texas and Oklahoma and make it through the conference without a loss or two. The absence of kicker Alex Trlica might just be the biggest loss to the team and finding a steady kicker like Trlica is not as easy as it sounds.
2007 Texas Tech Red Raiders Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 59.31 (119th in nation, 12th in conference)
Passing Offense: 470.31 (1, 1)
Total Offense: 529.62 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 40.92 (7, 3)
Rushing Defense: 177.00 (82, 10)
Pass Defense: 188.38 (12, 1)
Total Defense: 365.38 (45, 3)
Scoring Defense: 25.92 (49, 5)
Turnover Margin: -.38 (87, 9)
Sacks: 2.00 (64, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (22, 5)
By Joel Welser
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