Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
There's a reason why Mike Leach has had a sly smile on his face every time I saw him this summer.
After unprecedented attention last season, most pundits are wondering if Tech crawls in a hole after losing Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell.
Leach isn't worried about 2009 as you might think. Incoming quarterback Taylor Potts has won the job sooner than any other first-season Texas Tech quarterback in recent memory. The Tech defense has lost top pass rushers like McKinner Dixon and Brandon Williams from last season. But Leach likes his collection of talent that's on hand.
It might not be good enough to keep the Red Raiders in Big 12 South title contention in November, but the Red Raiders will still be a tough game to make them a challenging opponent for the expected gauntlet of opponents in the division.
1. Leach will wonder why he moved the Texas game ahead to Sept. 19. The Red Raiders were going to have trouble winning in Texas no matter when the game was scheduled -- especially considering the Longhorns' memories of last season's gut-wrenching loss in Lubbock. But the Red Raiders' hopes would have been a lot better in November when the game was originally scheduled than moving it to the third week of the season. It will be Potts' first road game and Leach likely would prefer a test run before throwing him to the wolves -- especially more than 100,000 people at Royal Memorial Stadium. Baron Batch's condition might be iffy, depending on how serious his arm injury is. It won't be a pleasant experience and Leach will wonder if playing the game as scheduled would have worked out better for his team.
2. Taylor Potts will have first-season statistics equal to, if not better, than any of Leach's other quarterbacks. Recall those one-season quarterbacks who lit up the Big 12 in their short stints as Tech's quarterbacks? You remember them, Sonny Cumbie, B.J. Symons and Cody Hodges. Those three quarterbacks averaged nearly 4,900 passing yards and 38.3 touchdown passes in their season as a starter. And Potts will be right in that same ballpark when the 2009 season is over.
3. Texas Tech's stretch of winning seasons will continue for another season. The Red Raiders are the only team in the Big 12 to post a winning record in every season. That streak will stretch for one more year as the Red Raiders win seven or eight games, make a bowl trip and pull off an upset victory or two. No, it won't be as successful as last season, but the Red Raiders will still roll up a slew of yards and score a bunch of points as their coach fills up reporters' notebooks everywhere. In other words, a normal season for Leach and his program -- even without Harrell and Crabtree.