The Texas Tech Red Raiders won just four games and experienced their second straight losing season under head coach Matt Wells. The job now, for the Red Raiders, is to get back to a bowl game for the first time since the Kliff Kingsbury era. What does Texas Tech have to do on offense to start making things right in 2021? We break it down here.
1. The New QB
The Red Raiders have several candidates at quarterback, but let’s be honest — if Tyler Shough isn’t the starting quarterback come the season opener against Houston, then the Oregon transfer is probably injured. Shough transferred to Texas Tech after leading Oregon to a Pac-12 title during last year’s pandemic-shortened season. He threw 13 touchdown and six interceptions, along with completing more than 63 percent of his passes. He was benched in the Fiesta Bowl after a less-than-sharp outing in the Pac 12 title game (which Oregon won, by the way). His regular-season numbers at Oregon were comparable to those of USC’ Kedon Slovis. So, Tech may have lucked into a transfer that can transform their offense’s productivity and make them more competitive in the Big 12. He just has to win the job now.
2. The Steady Front Five
If there is one thing to like about this Texas Tech offense it’s that, for the most part, it’s offensive line is experience and poised to make a jump in 2021. Sure, Jack Anderson left for the NFL. But the other starters are expected back, and that includes senior center Dawson Deaton and junior guards Weston Wright and Josh Burger. To add to the depth, the Red Raiders stole a transfer from TCU, T.J. Storment, who was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection for the Horned Frogs. You can pencil Storment in as a starter, probably at left tackle this season. So, whoever wins the job at quarterback (and, again, it should be Slough), that passer should have plenty of protection. It should also help the ground game, which is returning every significant contributor from last season, led by SaRodorick Thompson.
3. Keep An Eye on the WRs
When Erik Ezukanma broke his arm during spring workouts, you couldn’t blame Red Raider Nation for holding its break. After all, he was their leading receiver last year, with 46 catches for 746 yards and six touchdowns. The Red Raiders need all of that and more this coming season, and the Red Raiders seem confident he will be back, full strength, come the opener. When you consider the hope that Slough can be a difference-maker at quarterback, he’s going to need weapons like Ezukanma at his disposal. Plus, Ezukanma is really the only receiver with significant experience from a year ago. Myles Price had 28 receptions last year behind Ezukanma and T.J. Vasher, so if any member of this group is going to make a jump, it’s him. From there, the Red Raiders are sifting through a collection of young, unproven players to fill out the roster. When projecting Texas Tech’s offense, the receivers are the X-factor to success or failure.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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