The Red Raider football team will hit the road this weekend, making a trip out to DFW to play their annual spring game at the Star in Frisco, a first for the program. With that being said, this week's Roundtable question is as follows:
What would you really like to see from Tech in their second scrimmage of the spring at The Star this weekend?
Chris Level: I would love to continue to see the emergence of the new additions on defense. It is pretty clear that Octavious Morgan, Vaughnte Dorsey, Tony Jones and Jaylon Lane have all made some sort of impact on this defense in their short time here and they need to keep it up. Dorsey and Morgan may have a chance to start for this team in the fall but all four of these additions have pushed everyone around them which is why some are suggesting that DJ Bray has picked up his game in recent days and weeks. Lastly, watch Nelson Mbanasor some too ... hew makes plenty of mistakes based on youth but it is clear that he's got some juice to him which is exaclty what this defense sorely needed.
Will McKay: This Saturday at the Star will be the biggest public moment for Red Raider football this spring, and it will be by far the biggest microscope they'll be under with both 12,000 fans and several dozen prospects in attendance at the event. That being said, I want to continue to see more of the physicality and energy that the defense showed off in Midland last week.
That unit was loud, rowdy, and popped ball carriers for quite a bit of the Midland scrimmage, and it was definitely noticeable over what I've seen in the past. The offense will figure itself out, as Coach Kingsbury pointed out, so I want to see the defense continue to come on with real confidence and attitude.
Aaron Dickens: Until the Texas Tech football program gets to the point where scoring in actual, meaningful games is an issue, I am going to go into every single practice, scrimmage and game setting hoping for a plus performance from the team's defense. I don't care if the coaches put the offense behind the 8-ball in situational drills or handcuff that group with a vanilla gameplan, I'm going to savor positive showings from the defense at every opportunity.
Matt Clare: For me, I want to see continued improvement from the defense. This time of year tends to bring sensationalized headlines or story lines from spring football, but I cannot remember any RRS member getting excited about the defense over the past 2-3 years in spring football. Gibbs has been in place for two years and this is a make or break season for this defense.
They have the bodies, they have their recruits and went after several immediate impact JUCO recruits in the 2017 signing class. You could already see early returns with Tony Jones and Octavious Morgan making highlight type tackles/plays in the scrimmage last weekend. The defensive line will always be a question mark until the real games begin, but the overall depth on this defensive roster with several players at both linebacker and defensive back should give fans optimism as to what this Red Raider defense could be this season in the Big 12.
I agree with Kliff, the offense will be fine. But I would like to see this defense continue giving the offense trouble in these scrimmages, even if the results are met with skepticism and viewed under a microscope...progress is progress.
Drew Kohnle: I want to see energy from both sides of the ball on Saturday, including the coaches. Nothing will pop out more to fans than seeing two energetic sidelines of coaches and players alike. The Star is sold out and hungry fans want to see their glimpse of 2017 Tech football. A rather large number of recruits will also be in attendance. What better thing to put on display than seeing a team coming off a 5-7 season really capitalizing on the atmosphere for this spring game at The Star.
Big plays on the field will be fleeting memories soon after the game is over, but a lively and energetic Tech team will leave a lasting impression on recruits and could make lukewarm fans excited for the upcoming season.
Maitland Rutledge: I want to see the best effort on all three side of the ball. The defense clearly won the day in Midland, making stops and really doing a great job of pursuing the ball. The offense made some plays but was held in check most of the afternoon. That’s something fans are not used to in recent memory. It may have been just a scrimmage, but without Mahomes, this offense appears to have taken a minor step back.
I believe the offense will perform better, having gone through a full scrimmage. However, I believe there is more pressure on them, as well as the defense, to perform well in Frisco with all the fans and recruits coming to check out the team. It should be a great day Texas Tech this Saturday.
Kyle Jacobson: The biggest things I'll be wanting to see in Frisco on Saturday are improvement from the first scrimmage and a connection with all the recruits that are visiting. Spring ball is never perfect, but if you're taking steps in the right direction you're doing pretty well. I hope to see the offense come out with a better start and see the offensive line play better as well. And lastly, this scrimmage at the star can be a great recruiting tool. The visitor list is huge, so hopefully we see some tangible results in the form of visits to Lubbock, increased interest, offers, etc. as a result of this presence in DFW.
Kolt Rogers: I would like to see the Offense look a little crisper this weekend. I would like to see Shimonek get in a rhythm early, and for this to happen he needs the offensive line to block better. They looked a little slow out of the gates last week and the offensive line got beat by the defensive line. Hats off to the d-line for getting after the o-line, but if Tech is going to be successful this year they really need the o-line to step up and establish some sort of run game.