Year Two of the Tommy Tuberville Era at Texas Tech should give Red Raiders fans a more-focused view of where the program is headed.
Last season, Texas Tech had an up-and-down season that still resulted in an 8-5 season capped by a bowl victory. Tuberville's first team in Lubbock had to overcome injuries and a lack of defensive depth.
This season, the Red Raiders will rely on a highly regarded recruiting class to add speed and depth on both sides of the ball. Junior Seth Doege takes over at quarterback while new defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow will try and remake a defense that Tuberville admits "couldn't stop anybody."
Quarterback has become a glamorous position at Texas Tech. Because of knee injuries suffered his last two seasons in high school, Doege has started just one game since 2005. In addition to a new QB, the Red Raiders must replace their top running back and top two wide receivers.
"I'm excited about him," offensive coordinator Neal Brown said of Doege. "He's ready for his opportunity. He's put in the work. He's a student of the game, he's a gym rat, throws the ball extremely well, and he's been accurate this camp. He's done a great job with leadership."
While Doege appears to have the skill set possessed by his predecessors, expect the Red Raiders' offense to continue its transition to more balance. After running the ball about 25 percent of the time in 2009, in Tuberville's first season Texas Tech ran it 42 percent.
Junior Eric Stephens and senior Aaron Crawford are listed as the team's top two running backs. Tuberville, though, is concerned about a lack of game-breaking speed on offense.
Glasgow, formerly the secondary coach at TCU, has installed a 4-2-5 defensive scheme that uses three safeties. The alignment allows the defense to use a number of coverages and blitzes.
"That's the beauty of the package," Glasgow said. "We can play zone coverage, we can zone blitz, we can play man coverage and do those things. It will also allow us to get more speed on the field."
Tuberville proved at Mississipi and Auburn that he knows how to build a winning program. While he took over a Texas Tech program that had achieved success, Tuberville is still in the process of getting things done his way.
"I think we're going to have a good team," he said. "People ask,'How many you going to win?' I have no clue. I think we're good enough this year, on both sides of the ball, to beat anybody we play.
"Guys are buying into the program. We're not there yet. We don't have the overall speed and quickness that we want to have year-in and year-out, but we're getting closer."
How close? This season will help provide at least part of that answer.
Texas Tech Schedule
|Sept. 3||Texas State|
|Sept. 17||at New Mexico|
|Oct. 1||at Kansas*|
|Oct. 8||Texas A&M*|
|Oct. 15||Kansas State*|
|Oct. 22||at Oklahoma*|
|Oct. 29||Iowa State*|
|Nov. 5||at Texas*|
|Nov. 12||Oklahoma State*|
|Nov. 19||at Missouri*|
|Nov. 26||vs. Baylor* (at Arlington, Texas)|
Coach: Tommy Tuberville, second season at Texas Tech.
2010: 8-5 overall, 3-5 in Big 12 South.
Bowl: Defeated Northwestern 45-38 in TicketCity Bowl.
Returning starters: 6 on offense, 4 on defense Top returnees: Wide receiver Tremain Swindell, Wide receiver Alex Torres, Safety Cody Davis, Safety Brett Dewhurst, Safety D.J. Johnson, Quarterback Seth Doege, Running back Eric Stephens.
Skywriters Tour History
In a tradition that harkens back to a previous era in college football, sportswriters and broadcasters would gather in a central location and go on an annual conference-wide tour, traveling from campus-to-campus to cover preseason practices. The tour provided fans with unprecedented daily coverage from each school by moving the group between campuses by charter bus or air service and thus was dubbed the Skywriters Tour.