Pat Mahomes Is Great, But Texas Tech’s Receivers Are Also Incredible

first_imgIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! The 2016 Cowboy team will play its final home game this Saturday when the 4-5 (2-3 in Big 12 play) Texas Tech Red Raiders line up for a 2:30pm kickoff at the Boone. The Red Raiders have been on an uptick since being routed by West Virginia on October 15th beating a tough TCU team in Fort Worth and losing to OU and Texas by only a score.Head Coach Ryan Gosling Kliff Kingsbury has repeatedly called this his best team in year four of his tenure in Lubbock and while the Red Raiders haven’t won in Stillwater since Kingsbury was slinging the rock to Wes Welker back in 2001, let’s take a look at the squad looking to right the ship on Saturday.Tech On OffenseWhat former coach Mike Leach laid the foundation for, Kliff Kingsbury has built off of offensively as Tech thrives offensively in the air raid system. The Raiders throw the ball on average 57.2 times per game (88 passes against OU on October 24!) and run 31.4 times each game, roughly a 65/35 pass-run split. A major strength of the Tech offense is fantastic third down conversion percentages (2nd in FBS with 55.1 percent), extending drives is a high probability with this team. The result is that this Tech offense is on the field a ton, on average 88.7 plays per game-Glenn Spencer’s unit hasn’t seen more than 86 plays all season. The Cowboys have done a good job of using their depth this season but fatigue could be an issue as we dip into November. Quarterback PlayThe offense leans on all-conference talent Patrick Mahomes II about as much as the OKC Thunder lean on Russell Westbrook. The team runs on average 88.7 plays per game with him accounting for nearly 63 of those plays each game (50.9 passes and 12.2 runs) and 78 percent of Texas Tech’s total yards. Mahomes has thrown for more than anybody in the country (by nearly 650 yards) and has three 500-yard outings already this season. He’s the burning hot center of the Red Raider offense for what he can do with his arms and legs, a gunslinger that extends plays and makes good things happen. Running BacksReminiscent of the Oklahoma State running game circa 2015 (OSU went for 3.58 yards per carry and 126.85 yards per game, Tech is currently at 3.31 yards per carry, 104.11 yards per game). Kingsbury opened up the starting running back job after a brutal loss to West Virginia at home, and 5’11”, 180 pound freshman Da’Leon Ward entered and invigorated the ground attack over the last three games. He averaged 74 yards per game to go with a couple of scores. Ward does a solid job of hitting the hole hard and falling forward for extra yardage. He’s done a good job of relieving some offensive pressure from Mahomes the last couple of weeks as they’ve put the fall in his hands 20+ times each game. Behind Ward is a scatback-type in junior Justin Stockton who has been explosive when he gets some space but hasn’t been able to handle the pressure as effectively as Ward. He’ll get some carries and has made some big plays in the past and would be worth keeping an eye on catching a pass out of the backfield.  ReceiversThe Red Raiders have a glut of talent at the wideout that would make any conference foe outside of Payne County green with jealousy. Sophomore Jonathan Giles leads the bunch with a Big 12-leading 12 touchdowns, good for fourth in the country.  Pick your poison behind Giles, junior Dylan Cantrell is a bigger (6’3”, 210 pounds) David Glidden/Josh Cooper type that will line up on the outside and bring down whatever comes his way while junior Cameron Batson is second on the team with 51 catches. Batson, a Millwood (OKC) wide receiver that apparently the Woods brothers forgot to tell Gundy about, teams with sophomore Keke Coutee (pronounced cue-tee I believe) for a tandem of shifty inside receivers. Coach Kingsbury isn’t tempering expectations for highly touted junior college transfer Derrick Willies who just returned last week after missing time with a knee injury, saying “.. He plays fast. I think he’s going to be one of those guys, very similar to (Dede) Westbrook at OU, where that second year transitioning from junior college, you really see that next step.” He leads the team with 19.25 yards per catch and is a handful to bring down if he gets going in space.The Tech passing game/offense is polar opposite to what you saw from K-State in Manhattan, leaning heavily on the passing game with more complex route trees and four or five receivers on the field at a time. They love some quick-hitters, letting their speedy pass catchers pick up yards after catch and make defenders miss in space, but aren’t afraid to let Mahomes rip it on the deep ball.  In the red zone, look for them to run some quick passes where receivers will set picks for each other.WATCH: Jonathan Giles escapes tacklers and performs a balancing act on the sideline to give Tech the lead! #WreckEm— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) November 5, 2016Offensive LinesWhat college football expert Phil Steele called “the biggest question mark on the offense” coming into the year hasn’t panned out very well so far in 2016. In this week’s press conference, Kingsbury talked about how the underclassmen left tackle (redshirt freshman Terence Steele) and the right guard (sophomore Paul Stawarz) haven’t developed as quickly as hoped, setting back the unit. With that being said, senior center Tony Morales (who will get a seventh year!) made the preseason watch list for the Rimington award (best center) and senior left guard Baylen Brown was named a team captain and preseason All-Big 12 according to some publications, so there’s some strength in the middle. The Red Raiders lost a ton of talent off of last year’s line and are definitely in the middle of a rebuild up front, often leaning on the mobility of Mahomes. Worth noting: Texas Tech did have an extra point blocked last week by Texas, hopefully Vincent Taylor has been working on his pitch game.last_img

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