Suffice it to say Texas Tech went through a little bit of change this offseason -- it just had to figure out how to replace a head coach, most of its offensive line, an offensive coordinator, a prolific quarterback and several other important parts. And all that change brews excitement: a large crowd is expected to check out whether the Red Raiders have made progress on, well, all of those fronts at the Red and Black Game Saturday in Lubbock.
Some things have become clear about Kliff Kingsbury since he's taken over as head coach from Tommy Tuberville. For starters, Viva The Matadors notes that people like noting that he is a coach and he is young and he is good looking. And he plans on keeping the Air Raid that was installed under Mike Leach. He himself knows how to run it -- he did run it, as Texas Tech's quarterback -- and seems to know how to develop quarterbacks -- Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel are his two most recent products.
And now he has to do just that. Seth Doege, who completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 4,205 passing yards -- third in the nation -- and 39 touchdowns -- second -- is gone. Sophomore Michael Brewer is the favorite to replace him: he actually saw playing time in 2012, generally in garbage time duty, but also tossed a touchdown when Doege's helmet came off in the team's bowl game against Minnesota. But Davis Webb, a true freshman who was a three-star recruit according to Rivals, is pushing him. In a recent open scrimmage, Brewer threw four touchdowns and an interception while Webb had three touchdowns and no picks.
The question is whether anybody will be blocking for them. Three of five offensive linemen from a unit that only allowed 19 sacks last season -- LaAdrian Waddle, Terry McDaniel, and Deveric Gallington -- are gone, and its not really clear who's going to replace them. There are a lot of underclassmen competing for spots, and when Viva The Matadors broke down spring ball, figuring out how to handle those vacancies was the biggest question. (Yes, in an offseason where their coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback left.)
The defense has its fair share of changes too -- they've emphasized their multiple fronts all spring long, and hope that Terrance Bullitt can emerge from a somewhat unheralded role last season into the team's "Raider" spot at outside linebacker. (Get it? Raider? Red Raiders? It's terminology they've used in the past.) It'll be interesting in spring ball to see how much havoc a variety of looks causes against an offensive line that isn't proven.
The game, which Texas Tech's website says is expected to be the highest attended in school history, kicks off at 1 p.m. CT at Jones AT&T Stadium. Attendance is free, and the gates open at 10 a.m. CT. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest and KTTU 104.3 in Lubbock.