The Rob Breaux Show’s Big 12 Preview: Texas Tech
HC: Matt Wells OC: David Yost DC: Keith Patterson
2018 RECORD - 5-7
Most Likely 2019 Record - 7-5
Texas Tech got a brand new coaching staff this offseason. It was the scarlet wedding in Lubbock with Coach Wells not retaining any assistant coaches from the Kingsbury regime. Wells instead opted to bring the bulk of his crew down from Logan, Utah before filling out the staff with an ex-Red Raider and defensive coaches that had run in the same circles as DC Keith Patterson.
After floundering two straight seasons taking an 8 or 9 win roster and turning in 6 and 5 win seasons 2019 is a brand new start. It’s not, however, a brand new roster. Alan Bowman and Jett Duffey remain behind center, the only offensive lineman starter being replaced. The offense also brings back starters TJ Vasher, Kesean Carter and Seth Collins at WR and impressive true sophomore Ta'Zhawn Henry.
Add in Utah Transfer Armand Shyne, Redshirt Freshmen Erik Ezukanma and SaRodorick Thompson and Nevada transfer McLane Mannix you seemingly have a pretty potent offensive attack. Can that cast of characters mesh with the 11 personnel heavy scheme of OC Davis Yost? That remains to be seen.
Defensively Texas Tech returns even more than on the offensive side with the biggest losses at Linebacker and Safety. Jah’Shawn Johnson and Dakota Allen were going to leave eventually and after putting in some long hard years at Texas Tech they are both trying to make an NFL roster now. Justus Parker is gone too but for other reasons. Beyond those three and Vaughnte Dorsey, most of the 2018 “production” returns.
Jordyn Brooks and Riko Jeffers are All-Big 12 caliber Linebackers. There is intriguing depth along the defensive line starting with Eli Howard and Broderick Washington. The defensive backfield has an All-Big 12 player in Adrian Frye and several more guys with Big 12 experience coming back.
The talent won’t be the issue. The real issue is can Matt Wells be the first coach since Spike Dykes to care at all about the defense and put time and effort into building that side of the ball. The defense at Texas Tech has been a total afterthought, can Wells and new DC Keith Patterson change that tune?
Step one is to radically change the Red Raiders scheme away from the Gibbs era bull riding philosophy of hanging on for dear life and trying not to get stepped on. There were too many metaphorical broken ribs and concussions to make that philosophy sustainable. Patterson’s defense, in theory, is more bullfighter in scheme. Texas Tech is the Matadors after all. Patterson will be proactive, taunting the bull into making mistakes instead of reacting to the bull, the 2019 Texas Tech defense will wave a red cape and bend the opponents to their will.
That’s the theory anyway, and it’s not like Matadors never get gored or stomped on.
Best Offensive Returners
QB Alan Bowman, OG Jack Anderson, OT Terrance Steele, WR TJ Vasher, RB Ta’Zhawn Henry
Best Defensive Returners
LB Jordyn Brooks, CB Adrian Frye, LB Riko Jeffers, DT Broderick Washington, DE Eli Howard
Shyne (Utah), McLane Mannix (Nevada), Evan Rambo (Cal), Travis Koontz (JUCO), Reginald Turner (ULM)
Erik Ezukanma, Ta’Zhawn Henry, Xavier Benson, Nelson Mbanasor, Kesean Carter