Oklahoma will enjoy an off week following their trip out west to wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule, but they’ll step right back into the thick of it a week later by closing out September with a Big 12 opener against Texas Tech.
The Sooners will be the first conference team to get a look at the Red Raiders under new head coach Matt Wells, who moved over from Utah State. The Red Raiders have long been one of the more potent offensive teams in the Big 12, and I wouldn’t expect that to change with Wells. He took the Aggies to five bowl games during his six seasons and left Logan, Utah as the second-winningest coach in program history.
Wells is one of four new coaches debuting in the Big 12 in 2019 and while the Red Raiders return a lot of talent, a new coaching staff always brings about questions. Here’s our three most pressing questions about Texas Tech as the season approaches.
How Long Will It Take Matt Wells To Duplicate His Success In Lubbock?
I don’t believe it is a question of, can he? It’s a question of when will he? In a stark contrast to the success Wells experienced at Utah State, the Red Raiders parted ways with Kliff Kingsbury after posting four losing seasons in five years.
Texas Tech’s new coach knows how to build a winning program and he inherits a good amount of offensive talent. Like most of the Big 12, it’s strengthening the defensive side of the ball that will be biggest key to success. Last season Tech (5-7) lost three games by eight points or less, including Oklahoma (51-46) and Texas (41-34). This is a team that is very close to competing in the Big 12.
Where Will A Healthy Alan Bowman Rank Among Big 12 Quarterbacks?
A lot of people forgot just how good of a season Alan Bowman was having before a collapsed lung cost him four games in 2018. His 69.4 completion percentage was the best among Texas Tech quarterbacks since 2012, and his near 2,700 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in the seven and a half games played show that the Red Raiders have themselves a pretty talented, and young, gunslinger.
With so much turnover in at the quarterback position in the Big 12 this year, Bowman has the opportunity to become on of the marquee signal callers in a conference that notoriously has the best quarterbacks in the nation.
Seth Collins and T.J. Vasher both return as top targets as well in 2019. Vasher caught seven touchdown passes last season and finished with 687 yards on 54 receptions.
Can The Red Raiders Turn Up The Pressure On Defense?
New defensive coordinator Keith Patterson is a, “get the ball back at all costs” type of coach. Last season his schemes helped Utah State to a share of the FBS lead with 32 takeaways.
Patterson will inherit a defense that allowed opponents an average of 448.9 yards per game last season, but did manage to record 1.5 takeaways per game. They’ll need to replace Dakota Allen in the middle of the defensive line but Jordyn Brooks and Riko Jeffers both look fit to take over.
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