Monday, April 22, 2013
Big 12 spring game review: Texas Tech
By David Ubben
Texas Tech played the first spring game of the Kliff Kingsbury era on Saturday. Here's a closer look:
Michael Brewer completed 26-of-43 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Davis Webb completed 17-of-30 passes for 224 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Brewer took two sacks but had 15 yards rushing on five carries.
It's still Brewer's job to lose. Kingsbury has been slowplaying who his starting quarterback will be in the fall, but the long-held assumption by most is that Brewer would easily win the job on a roster with not much competition. Davis Webb has made things interesting, but Brewer's performance on Saturday -- just the third open practice of the entire spring -- made it look like it's hard to believe he won't be the guy come fall. Kingsbury, though, says the competition is "close." "It’s good competition and I think that’s good for everybody,” Kingsbury told reporters. “We’ll go through the summer, go into fall camp and get a starter named." I do think it's closer than most people realized, but I don't buy the prospect of Brewer legitimately not winning this job just yet. It might be "close," but there's a clear frontrunner. Webb did have a huge play on an 83-yard score to Dereck Edwards, but also threw an ugly interception after being flushed from the pocket.
The defensive progress looked like it's continuing. I expect Texas Tech's offense to still be stellar next fall, but the defense opened up a 23-0 lead early on. That's got to be encouraging, even though it's still just one practice. There's a lot of firepower on Tech's offense, but this is the same team who was -13 in turnover margin last season, the worst mark of any Big 12 team in the last three years. The defense forced three turnovers on Saturday, and Kingsbury's been continually encouraged. It did all of that despite playing a pretty vanilla defense. "We addressed that going into this game," DC Matt Wallerstedt told reporters. "We just wanted to see guys run and hit, play your assignment, be aggressive, play with emotion and take the football away. I think we accomplished those things." Will Smith led the defense with 10 tackles and Branden Jackson made three tackles for loss, with a sack. Pete Robertson also had six tackles and a sack.
The receivers are who we thought they were.Eric Ward sat out for good reason (he's got nothing to prove), but Amaro showed up big and Tech got some nice showings from unheralded receivers like Brent Mitcham (8 rec. 98 yards, TD) and Brad Pearson (six rec, 60 yards), while Jakeem Grant had a somewhat quiet day. He hauled in a short touchdown pass and a 22-yard grab.
Tech is serious about The King. Only about 16,000 fans showed up on Saturday, but no autograph line in the Red Raiders' postgame meet-and-greet was longer than Kingsbury's. You don't have to look long for more evidence that he's got the people's vote in Lubbock these days. That was just another reminder.