#46 Texas Tech Football 2014 Preview

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Overall Rank: #46
#7 Big 12

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Coach Kliff Kingsbury brought excitement to the Texas Tech football program and brought quite a few wins with him too. The Red Raiders won their first seven games of the season before the heart of the Big 12 schedule caught up to them. They lost their last five regular season games, but got back into the swing of things with a 37-23 win over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

2013 Record: 8-5, 4-5
2013 Bowl: Holiday Bowl vs. Arizona State (W 37-23)
Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (8-5 at Texas Tech, 8-5 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Eric Morris
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Wallerstedt

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Kenny Williams, RB, 497 yards
Passing: Davis Webb, QB, 2,718 yards
Receiving: Jakeem Grant, WR, 796 yards
Tackles: Sam Eguavoen, LB, 70
Sacks: Pete Robertson, LB, 2.5
Interceptions: Pete Robertson, LB, 2; J.J. Gaines, S, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB DeAndre Washington, WR Bradley Marquez, OL Le’Raven Clark, LB Micah Awe, K Ryan Bustin

Key Losses: TE Jace Amaro, WR Eric Ward, LB Will Smith, S Tre Porter, DE Kenny Hyder

Nobody gained more momentum in the Holiday Bowl than quarterback Davis Webb. He finished up his freshman season by passing for 403 yards and four touchdowns against the Sun Devils. On the year he threw for 2,718 yards and 20 touchdowns as a part-time starter. With his bowl performance, there is no doubt that he is the starting quarterback in 2014. Webb will have to work without tight end Jace Amaro and receiver Eric Ward, but there is plenty of talent ready to step up. Jakeem Grant caught 65 passes for 796 yards and seven touchdowns, while Bradley Marquez added 49 receptions for 633 yards and six scores. Those two will be the inside receivers, with speedsters Reginald Davis and D.J. Polite-Bray stretching the field on the outside. Former running back Kenny Williams has moved to the defensive side of the ball, leaving DeAndre Washington as the main back. He rushed for 450 yards on 107 carries in 2013. He had a very impressive spring and is a shifty back that fits great into the pass first TTU offense.

The Red Raiders defense has a lot of rebuilding to do. Linebacker is easily the most experienced group on that side of the ball, led by junior Pete Robertson and senior Sam Eguavoen. Robertson is a versatile playmaker who tallied 9.0 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2013. Eguavoen is the team’s top returning tackler with 70. The secondary has young talent, most notably junior safety J.J. Gaines and sophomore cornerback Justis Nelson. The biggest concern is on the line where a bevy of junior college transfers will have to play right away. Branden Jackson will have to hold down the line while the newcomers get in form. Coach Kingsbury is bringing in some decent talent on defense, but inexperience is never a good thing in the potent Big 12. The team ranked 87th in the nation and 7th in the conference in scoring defense and it is hard to see any improvement on those numbers.

The Bottom Line:
For the first time in a while, Texas Tech is heading into a season with the main talk being about what is happening on the field. That is a very good sign for the future of the program. Home games against West Virginia and Kansas in mid-October are very winnable, but there will not be any other easy games in the Big 12 for the Red Raiders. But this is an offense that will lead Texas Tech to their third straight bowl game. If this young team can seriously compete for a conference title this year, the expectations will be huge in 2015.

Projected Bowl: Heart of Dallas Bowl

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 118.2 (111th in nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 392.8 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 511.0 (8, 2)
Scoring Offense: 35.8 (23, 3)
Rushing Defense: 201.5 (98, 9)
Pass Defense: 217.1 (39, 3)
Total Defense: 418.5 (84, 7)
Scoring Defense: 30.5 (87, 7)
Turnover Margin: -1.1 (121, 10)
Sacks:  1.85 (77, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.54 (96, 9)


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