A Spring Look At Texas Tech Football
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 05/10/2012
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big 12 Sports.com Correspondent

2011: 5-7 overall, 2-7 in Big 12.
Starters returning: Offense 9, defense 10.

Overview
Texas Tech lost five of its last six games and that skid resulted in the team's losing record. That ended the Red Raiders' impressive streak of 16 consecutive seasons with a winning record.

After a 4-1 start and a stunning upset victory at Oklahoma, Texas Tech's collapse could be attributed to a defensive collapse.

"It's not a secret we were bad on defense last year," Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said, "and we've got to get a lot better or it's not going to get any better in the win column. You can't win on offense. You've got to play defense."

Art Kaufman will be Texas Tech's fourth defensive coordinator in the last four years. He replaces Chad Glasgow, whose 4-2-5 scheme, a rash of injuries and a lack of fundamentals made the Red Raiders' defense vulnerable. Tubrerville hopes that Kaufman will get the defense back to basics.

If the defense can show improvement, Tuberville is confident that the offense can again be potent. In his first season as a starter in 2011, Doege continued the Texas Tech trend of productive quarterback play.

"We'll be a better team than we were last year overall," Tuberville said. "We have the same quarterback. That's the No. 1 thing, if you've got an experienced quarterback. Seth threw for 4,000 yards. There aren't many quarterbacks in the country that threw for 4,000 yards, and that was his first year to play in five to six years. We'll hang our hat on him."

Doege has a large group of receivers, led by Eric Ward. Last season, he caught 84 passes for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns. Darrin Moore, Alex Torres, Austin Zouzalik and Bradley Marquez are all capable and productive receivers.

Who's missing
Defensive end Scott Smith, tight end Adam Ames, defensive back Brett Dewhurst, quarterback Jacob Karam, quarterback Scotty Young.

The replacements
Running back SaDale Foster, linebacker Will Smith, wide receiver Shawn Corker, kicker Ryan Bustin.

Spring buzz
You hear the name "Will Smith" and you think of the rapper/actor. This season, Texas Tech hopes that Will Smith becomes well known as the team's middle linebacker. The coaching staff was recruiting SaDale Foster in California and discovered Smith at Riverside Community College. Smith was dominant in spring practice and it's hoped he'll shore up a defense that needs improvement. "There's no doubt he's going to be one of our better linebackers, maybe the best," Tuberville said.

With Seth Doege back for his senior season, Texas Tech needs to decide who might be its quarterback in 2013. Plus, the Red Raiders need a reliable backup for Doege. Redshirt freshman Michael Brewer might be the guy. In the spring game, he completed 21-of-28 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. "My goal when we kick off against Texas State is to have 100 percent confidence in Michael Brewer," offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. "If something happened to Seth Doege, Michael Brewer comes in and we don't change anything."

Texas Tech hopes that Terrance Bullitt and Cornelius Douglas will help boost the defense. Douglas was a two-way player last season who had 15 tackles on defense and 25 receptions on offense. He'll concentrate on playing corner back this season. Bullitt made starts at safety but has moved to strong side linebacker. "Last year, our defense was bad," Bullitt said. "That's just how it is. We have to do something. Our attitude has to be different."

Audibles
"We hung everything on Eric Stephens, because to throw the ball like we want to, you've got to be able to run it to keep them off the quarterback. We were 4-1 before he got hurt. After that, we pretty much had to go all passing game. We weren't good enough on defense in this league to say, 'OK, we've got to win by throwing it 70 times.' When he went down, boy, that just put us in a tailspin."
- Tuberville on running back Eric Stephens

"We hung everything on Eric Stephens, because to throw the ball like we want to, you've got to be able to run it to keep them off the quarterback. We were 4-1 before he got hurt. After that, we pretty much had to go all passing game. We weren't good enough on defense in this league to say, 'OK, we've got to win by throwing it 70 times.' When he went down, boy, that just put us in a tailspin."
- Tuberville on running back Eric Stephens

"I'm in this for the long haul. The thing you don't want to do is start changing coaches. I told them when I came here, 'It's a change in philosophy. It's not going to happen overnight.' It's just one of those things. We've all got to understand what we're trying to do, where we're at and where we're trying to get to."
- Tuberville on his time at Texas Tech

2012 Schedule

Sept. 1 Northwestern State
Sept. 8 at Texas State
Sept. 15 New Mexico
Sept. 29 at Iowa State*
Oct. 6 Oklahoma*
Oct. 13 West Virginia*
Oct. 20 at TCU*
Oct. 27 at Kansas State*
Nov. 3 Texas*
Nov. 10 Kansas*
Nov. 17 at Oklahoma State*
Nov. 24 Baylor* (at Arlington, Texas)
* - Big 12 Conference game.

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