Texas Tech Spring Game: Rapid Reaction

Spread the love

Just like that, Red Raider fans will now have to wait 18 weeks for their next game action. Spring football concluded Saturday with head coach Joey Mcguire leading his team for the first time in front of the fans. The Texas Tech Spring game resulted in Team Matadors securing a 24-6 victory over Team Red Raiders on a beautiful Lubbock Saturday afternoon at Jones AT&T Stadium. Here are the key takeaways from everyone’s first look at the new Red Raiders.

Scrimmage Structure Stunk

This more so was how the team was divided up. All of the defense players wore black jerseys. All of the offensive players wore red jerseys. Quarterbacks and anyone else not allowed to be touched wore white jerseys. It made sense for the quarterbacks simply to rotate on each change of possession. Even though each team had something to play for. But from a pure fan watching standpoint, it was hard to follow. Why not actually divide up the offensive and defensive personnel to wear the same color jersey? After all, each team had the starters for one unit and the backups for the other. Fans watching on the broadcast never knew which team had the ball in this Texas Tech Spring game.

Texas Tech Spring Game Revealed Fast Tempo

New offensive coordinator Zach Kittley gave Texas Tech fans a taste of the speed at which this offensive will operate. This comes as no surprise as Western Kentucky ranked 14th highest in player per game last season with Kittley calling the offense. It was still a welcome return to “normalcy” for many Red Raider fans to see the offensive play with urgency, even in a scrimmage.

Take Three University

While the tempo was a welcome back to the norm in the Texas Tech Spring game, the offense took a back seat to the defense today. Defensive coordinator Tim Deruyter has to be thrilled with the play from the entire defensive unit. The defense had a pick-six on the second play of the game. It also added a forced fumble and one more interception before halftime. McGuire had the following to say after the game (via Texastech.com)

“If you are plus-three (in turnovers) in a game, you are going to win 93 percent of those games, so to get to ‘take three,’ you have to take three…We talk about it every day, and it’s No. 3 on the Plan to Win. I thought the guys did a phenomenal job attacking the ball.”

McGuire also talked about getting those three turnovers during his halftime interview. During the interview, he referenced the new definition of TTU, Take Three University. Not only did the defense create multiple turnovers, but the tackling was sound throughout. Both the No. 1’s and No. 2’s were flying around to the ball. They kept the offense from getting into any sort of rhythm from start to finish.

Quarterback Position Undecided

Because of the structure of the scrimmage, no quarterback stood a very good chance of getting into a good game flow having to sit out two possessions before going back onto the field. However, Mcguire knows that nothing will help set this team for success quicker than getting the quarterback position right in his first season. It is noteworthy that Tyler Shough did start with the first-team offense out of the game. It is also telling when you compare the actual workload of each quarterback in this game. Shough went 22-of-32 passes for 164 yards. Behren Morton only went 8-of-13 overall for 95 yards (did have one touchdown run) and Donovan Smith was 3-of-7 for 49 yards and a touchdown.

While Shough did get the most passing work through the air, 7.45 yards per completion in a scrimmage isn’t anything to write home about. For context, Mississippi State’s quarterback Will Rogers ranked dead last nationally in yards per completion last year at 9.38. And that was while leading the country in total completions at 505. Shough did not look particularly sharp for much of the game. And it wasn’t as if he was under constant duress all day. Smith also had a very “meh” day with nothing jumping off the page. Morton was the only one that had big splash plays during the game. Much of the fan base never has seen the highly ranked recruit from Eastland play. The former four-star recruit displayed flashes of dynamic playmaking. The Spring game isn’t going to be the deciding factor in who gets the job in week one against Murray State, but it is clear the quarterback race is far from being decided.

Offensive Line Grade: Incomplete

Regardless of who takes snaps for the Red Raiders, they are going to struggle if this offensive line can’t block anyone. The offensive line is getting bolsters with help in the transfer portal. But a few of those key additions were not playing on Saturday. As far as the units that did play, there was a lack of physicality on the line of scrimmage. Trying to evaluate pass protection in a game where the pass rush is going to ease up around the quarterback isn’t going to yield an accurate picture. But the offensive line was just ok protecting their quarterbacks. For most of the rushing attempts in the game, the offensive line failed to reset the line of scrimmage. So while the offensive line left much to be desired, they were playing without all of the pieces they will for the 2022 season.

Biggest Texas Tech Spring Game Victory? No One Hurt

Spring games are purposely kept pretty vanilla. After all, it is a scrimmage. That said, for the team to reach 0:00 on the clock at the end of the Spring game and everyone healthy is a victory for all. And while some celebrated with prime rib (Team Matador) and others with hot dogs (Team Red Raider), the players and coaches will enter the off-season with a good taste in their mouths knowing they will be at full strength when camp opens in August.