2022 Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview

by Matt Fargo

Texas Tech Red Raiders

2021-22 Season Record 7-6 (3-6 Big 12) - 7-5-1 ATS - 5-8-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 6
Defense - 6

Overview

Not since the days of Mike Leach has Texas Tech been prominent in the Big 12 Conference, let alone nationally. The last winning record in the conference came in 2009 which was his last year on the sidelines and the Red Raiders have maxed out at four wins, which they have done three times, over the past 12 seasons. Tommy Tuberville got them to two bowl games in three years, Kliff Kingsbury got them to three bowl games in six years and most recently, Matt Wells was partially responsible for one bowl game in just over two and a half seasons before leaving after eight games last year. Joey McGuire takes over this season after spending the last two years at Baylor working with the defense and this is his first crack as a collegiate head coach and first time being higher than a position coach. He was a renowned high school coach in Texas so he will be able to recruit but will that be enough? 

Offense

The offense slipped in all three years under Wells and last season, the Red Raiders finished No. 61 in total offense and No. 53 in scoring offense and they need to get some of that offensive groove back. McGuire hired Zach Kittley as offensive coordinator, the same position he held at Western Kentucky last season and he was a GA for three seasons at Texas Tech under Kingsbury so he knows his offense and the culture here. The quarterback situation remains unclear but it is not a bad situation as Tyler Shough, Donovan Smith and Behren Morton are all fighting for the spot and all are capable of running this offense. The two top receivers are gone but there is depth from a group that will make plays. Running backs SaRodorick Thompson and Tajh Brooksrushed for over 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns so they will get theirs. Only two starters are back on the offensive line where pass protection will be key.

Defense

Unlike the offense, the defense improved over the last two seasons but it was certainly nothing special as last year, Texas Tech finished No. 91 in total defense and No. 104 in scoring defense. McGuire brought in Tim DeRuyter to run the unit where he has had some success in his previous stops and they will be a lot more aggressive. The defensive line was good at getting to the quarterback as Tyree Wilson, Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford, Jr. combined for 14 sacks and all three are back to anchor the front. The linebackers took a hit losing two of the top four tacklers on the team and they are going to rely upon veterans Krishon Merriweather and Jesiah Pierre while bringing in transfer help. Four seniors will start in the secondary led by safeties Dadrion Taylor-Demerson and Reggie Pearson, Jr. who combined for 116 tackles but corners Rayshad Williams and Adrian Frye need to make plays.

2022 Season Outlook

This will be an interesting season in Lubbock as the program hired a defensive coach, a position that is not uttered around there often, to lead the team to take pressure off of the offense that will be learning a brand new system but one that has the potential to explode. On paper, both units should be a lot better but it could take some time and the early part of the schedule does not give them a lot of leeway. The Red Raiders host Murray St. in the opener which is a good game to get the feet wet but then they host Houston, are at NC State and then welcome Texas for the Big 12 opener and if things do not gel quick, a 1-3 start is very possible. The remainder of the conference slate has four games both at home and on the road, each dotted with tough matchups in a wide open Big 12. The O/U win total is set at 5.5 and this looks to be a pass with too many new parts to decipher so early. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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