Texas Tech Shows Individual Promise But Ranks 9th in Big 12 Preseason Poll
There's a disconnect somewhere with Texas Tech football. If Tyler Shough can elevate the quarterback position and the offensive line improves with TJ Storment manning the blindside Texas Tech's offense should improve. That's with repeat efforts from SaRodorick Thompson, Erik Ezukanma and Dawson Deaton controlling the interior of the offensive line.
Those aren't outrageous expectations either. Every one of those players is listed on numerous preseason All-Big 12 teams. Add in Special Teams weapon Austin McNamara and the offense and special teams look like a credible Big 12 team.
So why are the Red Raiders ranked 9th in the preseason Big 12 poll?
I don't think the defense will be bad. Colin Schooler, Riko Jeffers, and Krishon Merriweather make up a veteran linebacker unit that's gotten some preseason love. Tony Bradford Jr is moving inside to anchor the defensive line and DaMarcus Fields is going to lead an underrated secondary into 2021. I don't think the defense will be 9th place bad.
The 11 Red Raiders mentioned are on at least one publication's All-Big 12 team.
There are more that will certainly make an impact. Eric Monroe improved significantly over the final stretch of the season and excelled playing in the box. Marquis Waters and Reggie Pearson Jr could be credible Big 12 starters. Add in Malik Dunlap and Rayshad Williams and the transfer class could be really impactful as far as snap counts go.
On the offensive side, Sonny Cumbie unleashing the big wide receivers downfield could be a game-changer for the Red Raider offense that has performed but been inconsistent under Matt Wells. Trey Cleveland and JJ Sparkman could turn in monster seasons. The inside receiver position is intriguing with Kaylon Geiger transferring in and McLane Mannix returning from an injury.
That's just too much talent to be 9th in the Big 12. Of course, the obvious disconnect is the Big 12 media's lack of faith in the coaching staff led by Matt Wells. Nationally and around the Big 12 the expectations for this team couldn't be lower. The futures for Texas Tech in Vegas are set at 2.5 wins in conference and less than bowl contention.
With the 11 players getting preseason recognition and the rest of the returners on the roster, I'd hammer both of those overs.