Previewing 2009 New Mexico Opponents: Texas Tech Red Raiaders
Texas Tech is going to take a step back from last year, because the lost all-everything wide out Michael Crabtree to the NFL and gun slinger Graham Harrell to the CFL.
The pirate Mike Leach historically has had little problem replacing the production at quarterback, but the only difference is that Graham Harrel is the only three year starter under Mike Leach’s offense.
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Everyone knows what to expect from the Red Raiders offense, all passing all the time. The player most likely to try to replace Michael Crabtree will be Lyle Leong who as the secondary receiver still managed 76 catches and near 1,000 yards.
His yards may not be able to improve too much but Leong will be the primary target and increase his touchdown total to around ten. Not only do the Red Raiders have to replace their play makers they only return four starters on offense; which happens to include four offensive lineman.
Even though four lineman need to be replaced that area should not see a drop off and the only problem will be how long it takes for them to gel up front.
Even though the Tech offense is known as ‘Air Raid’ they did have two backs rush for over 750 yards and a 6.7 yard per carry, and the Raiders used much more two back sets then in recent years. They also return their leading rusher from 2008 in Baron Batch who will be accompanied by redshirt freshman Harrison Jeffers who happens to be the fastest player on the team.
The offense will be fine, especially in the Big XII where there is little or no defense, and speaking of defense the Raiders must stop someone to try to break the choke-hold of Texas and Oklahoma at the top.
However this is not the year for the Red Raiders who will most likely finish fourth in the Big XII South and they should welcome the Alamo Bowl with open arms.
They do return six players on defense, but it was a mediocre defense and gave up 28 points per game which surprisingly was fourth in the Big XII. The defense main responsibility is to try to slow down which has been so-so over the years.
The star on defense Jamar Wall who plays cornerback and had seven picks and he has the ability to take away half of the field on pass defense. However the rest of the secondary is very questionable, and in a league with Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy at the quarterback the secondary will be in trouble.
The defensive line should be the strength of the defense which will be led by Colby Whitlock and Rajon Henley and are very good against the run. The rest of the line includes Brandon Sesay, Sandy Riley and then there is incoming freshman Pearlie Graves, who turned down Tennessee and Michigan to join Texas Tech so there is optimism at the end position.
The Red Raiders will definitely take a stop back but still has a solid chance at getting nine wins for the upcoming season.
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