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BCS or Bust!
For many NCAA Division 1A football programs, getting into a bowl and having a winning season is a successful season. While this is the case for lower-tier and inconsistent BCS conference teams and major mid-level conference teams, still others need to step up their goals. Texas Tech is a perfect example of this, as Red Raider football has had twelve straight winning seasons and, best of all, has won five of the last six bowl games it has appeared in.
It’s time to heighten expectations of what these Red Raiders can do. Here is a preview of next season.
With 10 returns on the attacking side of the ball, including Graham Harrell (the nation’s top passer) and redshirt freshman Michael Crabtree (the nation’s top receiver and Bietnokiff Award winner), this group must primarily focus on not doing mental errors. Before the Gator Bowl, Graham Harrell showed his vulnerability against rated opponents by throwing 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in a miserable 1-6 record over the past two seasons. Next season, he will have to be more patient and error-free when throwing the ball in these types of games. Texas Tech’s wide receivers had many drops in the 2008 Gator Bowl, but what was most important was that Harrell didn’t make many mistakes with his throws, except for a pass that could have been caught in the second half. The entire offensive line returns next season, but Left Tackle Rylan Reed will need to fully recover from his recent broken ankle in the Gator Bowl.
DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS
On defense, 8 starters return and many more such as linebacker Brian Duncan will need to step up and fill the gaps. The most important aspect of a successful season next year will be the ability to stop, or at least contain, the run as few other Big 12 teams will be able to come through like the Tech offense. Texas Tech will need to find a replacement kicker for senior Alex Trlica, who has gone his entire career without missing an extra point. This can likely be found in junior kicker Cory Fowler.
As any Texas Tech fan will tell you, it’s not too easy to recruit good football players to come to Lubbock when they can come down to College Station or Austin. Even so, the nation’s No. 2 rookie, wide receiver Julio Jones (1,181 yards and 16 TDs as a senior), is still eyeing Tech along with other top receivers. Overall, thus far, Texas Tech has 11 committed players from the Class of 2008, including 7 defensive players – 3 of which are junior college transfers that should have an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball. Harrison Jeffers, a running back from Oklahoma ranked 11th nationally, should also have the chance to make a name for himself in the coming years as a Red Raider.
2008 is definitely the year Texas Tech football needs to make a statement at the Big 12 conference, or it might be time for a change. It’s going to be a long offseason for the Red Raiders, but this fall, it’s BCS or bust!
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