With spring football now in the books for the Red Raiders, the RedRaiderSports.com staff answers this question in this week's edition of the Roundtable:
What's your one biggest takeaway from spring football for the Red Raiders?
Chris Level: To me it would have to be that you didn't really get many answers on the offensive line or running game.
I do think Travis Bruffy clearly established himself as a potential starter for Brandon Jones' group. I also think Jack Anderson came in and showed that he's ready to play and contribute as a true freshman. But, past that what was really learned elsewhere on the offensive line or at running back? The fact that I'm asking that question is the huge takeaway to me.
Will McKay: For me, it has to be what I saw the defensive line do, and that is make plays. The Red Raiders have had a few good defensive linemen come through over the last half decade, but other than that handful it's mostly been a mess. This group is clearly different.
Whether it was Broderick Washington, Joe Wallace, Lonzell Gilmore, Eli Howard, Kolin Hill, Mych Thomas, Nick McCann, or others, I saw guys at all four positions in the D-line make impacts, which just flat out hasn't been happening across the board for years.
Now, the offensive line is clearly a work in progress, undoubtedly. It has a long way to go. But I've seen bad Tech O-lines handle mediocre Tech D-lines in the past.
This is a group that can make some real progress in run and pass defense if they keep growing, progressing and prove to be more than spring ball heroes in the fall.
Drew Kohnle: The depth along the defensive line and the perceived ability of said players was a big takeaway for me. I think for the first time in a long time you feel confident about a real two-deep across the board at DE and DT while also feeling good about the talent-level as well.
The usual suspects made their mark this spring (and looked quite good doing it) such as Joe Wallace, Broderick Washington, Mych Thomas, and even Eli Howard. That's not including veteran players such as Kolin Hill, Zach Barnes, and Talor Nunez who also made some noise at various times. The real eye-opener that makes you sip the kool-aid a bit more is the emergence of Nick McCann and Lonzell Gilmore, too. Add those guys to the group of veterans and the DL is on their way to being less bad this year. Throw in guys like Noah Jones, Houston Miller, Nelson Mbanasor, and Clarence Henderson, too, and Tech has a nice mixture of depth and talent that they haven't had in quite some time.
Kyle Jacobson: My biggest takeaway from spring practice is that the offensive line and the run game still need some serious work before fall rolls around. Those areas were by far the greatest concern on the offensive side of the ball going in to spring ball, and for me those concerns weren't alleviated. Akamnonu's return will help, and the first team offensive line might end up decent, but overall depth and production in the run game will be key for fall camp.
Maitland Rutledge: I think my biggest takeaway from spring football would have to be how good this defense has looked. I know it’s very early, but when you had the 128th ranked defense in the country last year, you’re looking for almost anything positive. In past springs, the offense outplayed the defense and when fall came it showed that Tech’s defense had many weaknesses.
I think some of the improvement to the defense can be credited to the arrival of new talent such as JUCO transfers Octavious Morgan and Jaylon Lane. Both players, as well as the rest of the secondary, have been flying to ball and making big plays. The same can be said for the defensive line and the linebackers. That’s something this defense was lacking last year. I think this defense will be better this year than it was last year.
Kolt Rogers: My one biggest takeaway from Spring ball is the immediate improvement to the secondary. Texas Tech was not very good in the secondary last year, ranking in the bottom of the country in pass defense. To counteract this, the Red Raiders turned to the JUCO ranks and added 3 key defenders. These JUCO guys have helped solidify the secondary and add some much needed competition. The secondary covered pretty well for the most part this spring, and we're able to make some good plays against a very talented receiving corps.