Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Texas Tech Red Raiders season recap
By David Ubben
Mike Leach and Tommy Tuberville are both winning head coaches. Anybody can see they did it in different ways. The transition from a decade of Leach to Tuberville had the looks of a rocky one from the beginning, hence the reason I picked the Red Raiders to finish last in a brutal Big 12 South division that looked likely to land all six teams in bowl games back in August.
Tuberville's offense never established the running game Leach's offenses usually lacked, but the Red Raiders still stuck pretty close to Tuberville's declaration of a 60-40 pass/run ratio, with 561 passes (61.7%) and 408 runs (39.3 %), though that number was the fewest attempts in the Big 12.
Coordinator James Willis' aggressive, high-risk/high-reward defense was more often the former. Texas Tech ranked seventh in the Big 12 in turnovers forced (22), while giving up over 30 points a game to rank 10th in the Big 12 and dead last in total defense by more than 22 yards a game.
Texas Tech's 7-5 record is its worst since 2006, but if the Red Raiders get some consistent play out of a new quarterback, it's easy to see them improving on that record next season.
Offensive MVP: Lyle Leong, receiver. The senior didn't have the most catches on the team, but his 17 touchdowns rank second nationally. He offered Taylor Potts a reliable option in the red zone, and had three games with three touchdowns, and another two with a pair of touchdowns.
Defensive MVP: Brian Duncan, linebacker. Duncan finished with seven sacks, four more than any other player on the team, and made 12 tackles for loss, also the most on the team. His 58 tackles were just fourth on the team, and you could make an argument for Cody Davis, Colby Whitlock or even Bront Bird in this spot.
Turning point: The Red Raiders' 52-38 loss at Iowa State on Oct. 2. A week earlier, it had failed to beat the undefeated Longhorns at home, but allowed just 24 points and looked pretty solid on defense against what ended up being a pretty poor offense. The loss to the Cyclones made it evident that this wasn't the Texas Tech team we were used to seeing, and giving up 52 points to the Cyclones made it clear that the defense would be a liability for most of the season.
What's next: Just like last offseason, there's another quarterback derby on tap for the Red Raiders. This won't feature two seniors, but a pair of guys will battle during bowl practices, spring and fall. I wouldn't expect a starter between Jacob Karam and Seth Doege to be named before the fall. Doege has a bit of an edge with some experience during the 2009 season, but it'll be close. The Red Raiders have a solid recruiting class full of defensive talent headed to Lubbock next fall. They lose a lot of experience on defense in seniors Bird, Whitlock and Duncan, but young talent in the secondary like freshmen Tre' Porter and Jarvis Phillips, and sophomore Davis, looks ready to make a lot of noise in the Big 12. I'd expect the Red Raiders to take a slight step back on offense, but be more sound defensively, and less susceptible to big plays.