Monday, December 19, 2011
Season report card: Texas Tech
By David Ubben
We'll take a look back at each team's season in the coming weeks, beginning with the squads who won't be in the postseason. First up: the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Offense: Seth Doege started hot. He was among the nation's best quarterbacks early in the season and broke the NCAA record for completion percentage by hitting 40 of 44 passes in a win over New Mexico. However, he threw just one touchdown and five interceptions in losses to Kansas State and Iowa State. Those games sandwiched his best night of the season, a 441-yard, four-touchdown outing, in a win over Oklahoma. Running back Eric Stephens was on track to easily become the program's first 1,000-yard rusher since 1998, but dislocated a knee against Texas A&M. After the team surpassed 130 yards in every game before that loss, it topped the mark just once over the final seven games. The Red Raiders were 1-6 in those games. Darrin Moore showed potential with a strong start and finish, but injuries muddled most of his season. Seven of his eight scoring catches came in the first two and final two games. They were also his four highest receiving totals of the year.
Alex Torres is capable of catching more than 51 passes for 616 yards and four scores, though Eric Ward had a nice season after emerging as the team's top target once Moore went down.
The Red Raiders threw a touchdown pass in 69 consecutive games dating back to 2006. Twice in losses this season, Doege failed to throw a touchdown pass. Grade: C
Defense: Injuries were a theme on defense for a second consecutive season. Star juco transfer Leon Mackey suffered a lung injury and missed time early, and the secondary thinned out more and more as the season progressed. Late in the year, receiver Cornelius Douglas was forced into the starting lineup at cornerback. Still, the numbers told the story for a defense that gave up at least 31 points in every conference game and averaged more than 51 points allowed in the five-game losing streak that ended the season.
Texas Tech's 46 points allowed per game in conference play was the worst mark in the conference, even worse than 2-10 Kansas. The injuries hurt, but they didn't hurt that bad. Unacceptable. Grade: D-
Overall: Yes, injuries probably hurt Texas Tech more than any other team in the Big 12 this season. Even still, this team had a lot more potential, and had no excuses for a 5-7 campaign, the first losing season since 1992. The Red Raiders have issues. They bring back a lot of talent next season, but there are clearly issues in transitioning from Mike Leach to Tommy Tuberville. The defense has dealt with two coordinators in two years, but this was a disaster. The offense took a slight step back with a first-year starter at quarterback once conference play hit, but it was still good enough to compete. The defense didn't give the Red Raiders a chance.
Final grade: C-