Five questions to ask Texas Tech football coach Joey McGuire
ARLINGTON — There are plenty of questions for coaches and players to ask throughout the Big 12 football media days scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday inside AT&T Stadium.
Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire, entering his first season in charge of the Red Raiders, will answer many questions from regional and national media when he takes the podium on Thursday.
Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia are the first schools to open Wednesday, with Oklahoma joining Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and Texas State. ‘Iowa on Thursday’s second and final day.
Texas Tech will be represented by McGuire, defensive end Tyree Wilson, safety Dadrion Taylor-Dererson, offensive tackle Caleb Rogers and inside receiver Myles Price.
Here are five Avalanche-Journal staff members the head of the Red Raider football program will be looking to answer when pre-season training begins in August.
1. Who will be the starting quarterback for the Red Raiders?
Carlos Silva Jr.: During spring training, McGuire admitted he had no qualms about naming a starter under center. But, the trio of Tyler Shough, Donovan Smith and Behren Morton – showed their unique talents and kept the competition closer than expected according to the head coach.
The result means McGuire — along with his three-quarterback squad — has a few more weeks to determine who will start the regular-season home opener at 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 against Murray State.
My thoughts are that Shough will be the person to get the call with Smith, who showed he could lead a team to victory in the Liberty Bowl against Mississippi State to end last season, getting a few chances to show his ability to double threat in certain situations. to keep opposing defenses honest. Morton can use this season to learn Zach Kittley’s playbook and strengthen his 6-foot-2, 207-pound frame and be ready to be a game-changer at his dream school.
Don Williams: Tyler Shough is the favorite. He had the lead in the spring due to how quickly he took the offense. Donovan Smith and Behren Morton were behind him in that regard, although Joey McGuire told us recently that there would be one or more forfeits for Smith each week due to his height (6ft 5in, 245lbs) and his running ability. He had some issues with interceptions in the spring, so he will have to overcome that.
Morton will have an opportunity at some point. Is it this year? No way to know. But he’s going to be too good not to get shot eventually.
2. What are the expectations of the football team?
Charles: The Red Raiders have a lot of positive momentum, especially after Texas Tech Athletics announced a $200 million investment in soccer facility upgrades, including the Jones AT&T Stadium South Area and the Womble Football Center. The scope of the projects ensures that Texas Tech will stay in the news and at the top of the current Big 12 conference and whatever league it should be in with the ever-changing rosters.
As for the football product in the fall? It’ll be a mixed bag — but that’s not a bad thing when you look at some of the changes happening with other teams in the conference.
Oklahoma will introduce a new head coach, who has brought in new coordinators and a quarterback, while Texas looks to rebound from a sluggish, devilishly terrible season after a bit of preseason hype – a common trend during the last years.
The Red Raiders have a chance to make some noise, winning four to seven games depending on how they perform after a tough non-conference roster that includes Murray State at home, on the road against likely nationally ranked North Carolina State. and a home game against Houston.
Put on: Joey McGuire has impressed most people over the past eight months with his boundless energy, connections and recruiting success. This portends a brighter future for the Red Raiders.
But a big step forward this season? It will be harder to take. There are big question marks over the offensive line, the pass rush and a linebacking unit that lost Colin Schooler and Riko Jeffers. Big 12 media ranked Tech ninth in the preseason poll, and most projections have the Red Raiders in the five-to-seven win range, battling for bowl eligibility. That’s probably about it.
3. Who will join Myles Price as the Red Raiders’ top receiver?
Put on: Outside of Price, Tech fires several receivers who have played a bit, but none who have really established themselves and posted significant numbers. So there are many possible answers to the question.
But Jerand Bradley is certainly looking up to the role, and he followed up his big game in the Liberty Bowl with some solid work in the spring. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound redshirt freshman enters preseason practice as a starter and is a good bet to succeed Erik Ezukanma as the top option on the outside.
Also keep an eye out for Loic Fouonji, the Midland Lee graduate who is 6-4 with more speed. Fouonji has missed most of the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery, but he’s looked good in the limited field work the NCAA allows in the summer. He will begin pre-season training as a first-team player at the other outside receiver position.
Charles: Texas Tech is a very young team, especially when it comes to their wide releases.
This scenario means one of two things: the running game will be invoked until wide receivers get into a rhythm, or a new crop of wide outs will intensify in Zach Kittley’s offense. Email me for the latter.
I feel like Fouonji has a lot to prove and show after missing most of the spring following shoulder surgery. His speed and size will be needed for the Red Raiders to stretch the field, at some point, especially when Big 12 Conference play begins.
Bradley would be the other easy mention, but I’ve heard good things about JJ Sparkman and what he could add to the receiving corps if he can stay healthy and improve his consistency.
4. What is the most interesting positional battle, other than quarterback?
Put on: Interestingly enough, I think the starting 11 in defense is pretty much set. Barring injuries by Sept. 3, I expect little change on that side from the two depths Joey McGuire revealed a few weeks ago.
This means that the most interesting positional battles will be those on the offensive line. As we detailed, the Red Raiders entered the summer with a few unexpected starters up front: walk-on Dennis Wilburn at center and inbound transfer Monroe Mills, who played little at Oklahoma State, at tackle. right. McGuire raves about Wilburn’s toughness and care factor, noting that the toughness element is key when dealing with Big 12 defensive tackles. He seems sufficiently impressed with Wilburn in that I don’t think that’s a given that New Mexico transfer Cade Briggs knocks him down, at least not at first. Wilburn gained a significant advantage being available and in the new offense all spring while Briggs was limited to non-contact one-on-one work while recovering from wrist surgery.
An even better battle could be brewing at the right tackle, where Mills looked comfortable as a first team for much of the spring. But the staff have high expectations for redshirt freshman Ty Buchanan, a former Texas State top-100 rookie who signed with Southern California and then left the Trojans after the 2021 season.
Charles: I disagree with Don — which makes my answer easier and shorter — but the offensive line stands out based on the amount of uncertainty at each starting point. The offensive line will be key, especially considering that one of the most valuable players will need to be protected by several new faces up front.
McGuire and his coaching staff have done a good job trying to plug the holes through the transfer portal and other means, but will that be enough? This will be answered in the season opener.
5. Who will be the best offensive and defensive players in the team?
Put on: Tyler Shough has a lot of doubts, but he has all the tools and the approach to go with it. And the sky is the limit for experienced quarterbacks in a Zach Kittley offense.
Tech fans saw Tyree Wilson look like a man among the boys in the first game of his tech career, against Texas in the 2020 conference opener, and they saw him dominate again in the final game of the 2021 season when he was named the Red Raiders’ Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game. They just need to see dominance week after week.
NFL scouts will be paying close attention to Wilson this year, his fourth season in college, so this should be the year he puts it all together. No reason he shouldn’t be the first Tech player with double-digit sacks since Pete Robertson in 2014.
Charles: The easy answer would be Shough – given that he would be the player who would get the most attention in attack and touch the ball with every snap. But, I’m going to step outside the box a bit – if you will – and say it will be SaRodorick Thompson.
The running game, I think, is going to be a key part of helping the opportunistic defense rest and wear down opposing teams throughout a contest. More so, Thompson and the rest of the tailbacks will be called upon to put the icing on the wins if McGuire needs to milk the clock in late game situations.
This will be the X factor for Texas Tech, which will likely find itself in some hotly contested games throughout the season.