Though there is plenty of hope for a turnaround under Matt Wells, the Texas Tech football has some flaws that give Red Raider fans a reason to worry.
One of the beautiful aspects of August is the hope that comes with a new season. As the Texas Tech football team and their opponents slog their way through fall camp, fans around the nation are hoping for a special 2019 regardless of what happened last fall.
But there’s no doubt that this Red Raider team is far from perfect. We saw that in 2019 when Tech finished the season on a five-game losing streak after starting 5-2.
During that time, Tech’s QB play fell off when Alan Bowman was lost for the season with his second occurrence of a collapsed lung in the span of just over a month. That’s when all of the roster’s flaws came to light.
The lack of quality depth at QB was evident as Tech’s passing output dropped from 352.6 yards per game to 280.3 in the final three contests. That drop illustrated how impactful Kilff Kingsbury’s previous misses on the recruiting trail at QB turned out to be.
In 2015 he did not sign a QB, in 2016 he brought in Jett Duffey who has proved to be nothing more than a turnover-prone backup, and in 2017 he signed Xavier Martin who was immediately moved to inside receiver. Though Kingsbury proved to be one of the best QB developers in the nation, his inability to recruit a solid player at that position between Pat Mahomes in 2014 and Alan Bowman in 2018 is what proved to be the final nail in his coffin as Red Raider head coach.
With Bowman sidelined, another flaw was brought to light. Tech’s lack of elite talent at running back kept the offense from being able to function without its starting QB. Most people don’t appreciate how important the RB position is in the “Air Raid” offense but when we saw how futile, Tech’s attempts at running the ball in the final month of November proved to be, it became obvious that the program had failed to properly stock that position with difference-makers having not had a true lead RB since DeAndre Washington in 2015.
In the final five games of last season, Tech’s running backs averaged just 62 combined yards per game on the ground. What’s more, in none of those games did any Tech player rush for more than the 81 yards Duffey amassed against Texas.
Of course, the failings of last year’s running game do not fall solely on the shoulders of the running backs. The 2018 offensive line also must take responsibility for how poorly the reason finished on the ground.
A unit that featured five returners who were all multi-year starters should have been able to open more holes in opposing defenses than last year’s line was able to. Thus, the 2018 o-line coach, Brandon Jones, and the players that made up Tech’s line last fall do no escape criticism when we look at why the season flammed out after such a promising first half.
Of course, the other side of the ball was not free from blame. The secondary was repeatedly victimized through the air as Tech allowed the second-most passing yards per game in the NCAA. However, Tech did rank third in the Big 12 with 12 team interceptions, five coming from DB Adrian Frye.
So while we are hopeful for a better season this fall, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. This is not a perfect roster and each of the following flaws could be stumbling blocks for Matt Wells in his first season.