2011 Record: (5-7, 2-7 in Big 12)
Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville (13-12 at Texas Tech, 5-12 in Big 12, 123-72 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 2010 TicketCity Bowl: beat Northwestern 45-38
New Big 12 Foes: 10/13 vs West Virginia, 10/20 at TCU
Revenge: 9/29 at Iowa St, 10/27 at Kansas St, 11/3 vs Texas, 11/17 at Oklahoma St, 11/24 vs Baylor
Stat to Cheer: converted on 48.17% of third downs (2nd in Big 12, 10th in Nation)
Stats to Fear: only had 16 sacks in 2011 (9th in Big 12, 102nd in Nation); allowed opponents to score TDs on 72.88% of red zone trips (last in Big 12, 111th in Nation)
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: (Offense: 8; Defense: 9; Specialists: 1)
Key Defensive Returnees: S Cody Davis (93 tackles), S DJ Johnson (83 tackles, 2 INT)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Seth Doege (4004 yards passing, 28 TD, 10 INT), WR Eric Ward (84 rec, 11 TD), RB Eric Stephens (565 yards rush, 8 TD), WR Alex Torres, (51 rec, 4 TD), OL LaAdrian Waddle
Inside Scoop with Double T Nation:
CFBZ: In our 2011 preview you said you thought Tommy Tuberville was doing a good job. After going 5-7 what are your thoughts and what does he need to do better?
Double T Nation: Yes, and it starts by winning at home in Lubbock. Really though, it's just winning overall. Texas Tech fans are used to a lot of things, but not having a winning record at the end of the year isn't one of them and after the Oklahoma win, things just fell apart. Some folks blame the large number of injuries, some folks blame the coaching efforts (see one of the worst defenses in the country) and some folks (namely me) think there is a relative lack of talent (only one NFL draft choice over the course of the last two drafts) and I'd tend to think that it was a combination of the three. Not exclusively one or the other, but there were problems. Ideally, the thought is that by firing the defensive coordinator from last year, Chad Glasgow, is a good start and hiring a veteran defensive staff will help with the defense and if the defense can be marginally better, then the hope is that the offense can help turn some of those games around.
CFBZ: Most college football fans have heard of Seth Doege. Who are the other primary weapons on the Red Raiders offense?
Double T Nation: If Eric Stephens is healthy, then he's the best player on the team, but he's coming back from a nasty knee injury and he's allegedly ahead of schedule and will be ready in September. WR Eric Ward is also a fantastic player and didn't get the credit that he deserves. He's a fantastic talent. Some familiar faces also include WR Alexander Torres and WR Darrin Moore (although it was recently reported that Moore was arrested for DWI in April, is suspended indefinitely, but still on the team). There are also a couple of transfers that should receive some playing time this year, including IR Tyson Williams (West Texas A&M), IR Javares McRoy and OG Brian Thomas (Texas A&M) that will hopefully make a significant impact as well as some redshirt freshmen, such as IR Jakeem Grant and WR Derek Edwards.
CFBZ: The defense was awful last year. Who needs to step up on that side of the football to help Texas Tech be more competitive?
Double T Nation: Everyone. That's a really general answer, but there wasn't really anyone on the defense that was acceptable last year. The defensive line was in shambles, mainly because of a handful of transfers that left the line incredibly thin and inexperienced, and schematically, there were players out of position and young players playing at critical spots like linebacker that just weren't quite ready for prime time. Tuberville went pretty heavy on JUCO players in the 2012 recruiting class on the defensive side of the ball and the hope is that LB Will Smith, DE Lee Adams, CB Bruce Jones, CB Olaoluwa Falemi and S Austin Stewart can make an impact as well as some improvement from some of the young players like DE Jackson Richards, DE Branden Jackson, DT Delvon Simmons, LB Sam Eguovoen, LB Blake Dees. The key to the whole season may be converted receiver, CB Cornelius Douglas and his ability to blanket one side of the field.
CFBZ: What is your gut feeling on the final record for 2012 and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
Double T Nation: My definition of success would be 8 wins, but I have a feeling that 7 wins seems about right and I think there's a good chance that Tuberville keeps his job if he can get to 7 wins. The 3 non-conference game should be easy, but with a fourth defensive coordinator in four years, that's going to be problematic and the offense cannot get shut-out like it did so many times during the last half of the year.
When the administration parted ways with Mike Leach I don't think they thought it would be this hard. Leach won at least eight games in all of his seasons except the first two. In only two seasons, Tuberville has gone 13-12 and the Red Raiders had their first losing season since 1992. The big question is if Tech is on the downslope or if it's just a valley before Tuberville picks the team up again.
There is no question that the Red Raiders have the offensive skill position players to win in the Big 12. They return a 4000 yard passer, a tandem of receivers that combined for 135 receptions, over 1000 yards and 15 TDs and they have a RB that has a career rushing average of over 5 ypc. The Red Raiders might not be putting up as many points as they did in Leach's final years but 33 points per game is nothing to sneeze at and should be enough to win big in college football.
Defense wins championships and it also wins regular season games. Tech's defense gave up a whopping 39 points per game in 2011. That's not going to win much of anything. They also gave up 485 yards of total offense per game, had trouble getting off the field on third down and struggled to stop teams in the red zone. Not exactly a winning combination. Art Kaufman has been brought over from UNC to run the defense and he's moving to the 4-3 defense (which is what they ran in 2009). How quickly Tech can adapt to yet another change in defensive philosophies will have a lot to say about how successful they are this season.
On a positive note, Tech's out of conference schedule might be the easiest in the entire Nation. Last year the Red Raiders started out 4-0 before dropping seven of eight games to close the season. This season, 3-0 seems like a piece of cake and 4-0 is possible. Then comes the gauntlet as they face OU and WVU at home and then travel to TCU and Kansas State before hosting Texas. Most likely, they will be facing five straight ranked teams. Last year Tech pulled off a shocker against OU. This year they will need to beat somebody that the odds-makers says they shouldn't. Texas Tech is one of the more interesting teams in a very interesting Big 12. Tuberville is going to be in trouble if he doesn't win this year and the Big 12 looks like a monster. Teams differ a lot from year to year but it's really hard to forget about a 34 point loss to Iowa State. The Red Raiders and Tommy Tuberville don't have a lot of good will built up right now and they are a team that needs to show me what they can do before I believe they are on the track back to the top of the Big 12.
2012 Prediction: 5-7
Previous 2012 Previews:
Big 12: Kansas