#46 Texas Tech 2018 Football Preview

Texas Tech Red Raiders
Overall Rank: #46
#8 Big 12
 Texas Tech Logo
Texas Tech has been a program that is consistently teetering on the edge of bowl eligibility. This year could be more of the same. The Red Raiders did reach a bowl last season and performed very well in a 38-34 loss to South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl. Coach Kliff Kingsbury can have some potent offenses, but in 2018 he will need his experienced defense to step up and carry much of the burden.
2017 Record: 6-7, 3-6
2017 Bowl: Birmingham Bowl vs. South Florida (L 34-38)
Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (30-33 at Texas Tech, 30-33 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Johns
Defensive Coordinator: David Gibbs
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tre King, RB, 623 yards
Passing: McLane Carter, QB, 359 yards
Receiving: TJ Vasher, WR, 545 yards
Tackles: Dakota Allen, LB, 102
Sacks: Eli Howard, DE, 5.5
Interceptions: Justus Parker, S, 4
Other Key Returnees: S Jah’Shawn Johnson, LB Jordyn Brooks, CB DeMarcus Fields, K Clayton Hatfield
Key Losses: RB Justin Stockton, QB Nic Shimonek, WR Keke Coutee, WR Dylan Cantrell
The good news is that Texas Tech returns an experienced offensive line. Just about everybody else is gone though. At quarterback the competition between Jett Duffey and McLane Carter could last all season long. Duffey has a lot of upside with a strong arm and the ability to do damage with his feet, but the sophomore is a raw talent who will make some mistakes. Carter was Nic Shimonek’s backup last year and threw for 359 yards in 2017. He is the more experienced signal caller who knows how to run the offense, but does not have the same arm strength as Duffey. Texas Tech lost most of their wide receivers to the NFL, but T.J. Vasher is back after gathering 29 passes for 545 yards and six scores. The rest of the wide receivers have questions to answer, but there is some talent like Antoine Wesley who should at least be a serviceable target. The offense may have to rely more on the running game. Sophomore De’Leon Ward has looked good in the offseason and Tre King returns after rushing for 623 yards last season.
The Red Raiders rarely have defensive expectations, but this group did well last year and now return nine starters. The run defense made a big jump last season and the hope is that they can do it again. The line returns Eli Howard and Kolin Hill on the ends, with Broderick Washington eating up space in the middle. The star of the defense is linebacker Dakota Allen, who tallied a team high 102 tackles last season. With Jordyn Brooks by his side, this team should continue to do well against the run. The secondary will continue to create turnovers. Justus Parker led the way in that department a season ago with four interceptions and senior safeties Vaughnte Dorsey and Jah’Shawn Johnson will solidify the backend of the defense.
The Bottom Line:
If Texas Tech can continue to win the turnover battle, they have a shot to win games. However, that will not be as easy with very little experience under center. But this is Texas Tech, they are going to throw the ball and do it at least somewhat effectively. If this team is going to reach a bowl, it will be important to start off fast against Mississippi, Lamar and Houston. Those are all winnable games. Just like last season, if the Red Raiders can start 3-0, they could find three more victories in conference play to finish the year with six.
Projected Bowl: None
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 140.9 (93rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 333.7 (9, 3)
Total Offense: 474.6 (16, 3)
Scoring Offense: 34.3 (23, 4)
Rushing Defense: 161.6 (62, 7)
Pass Defense: 282.2 (122, 8)
Total Defense: 443.8 (104, 7)
Scoring Defense: 32.2 (100, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.85 (13, 1)
Sacks: 1.38 (111, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (75, 7)