August 9, 2007

The Storylines

It's early August, every college football team in America is undefeated, and every fan-base in the country is thinking that maybe, just maybe, this is their year. The Texas Tech football camp is no exception to the rule, and that's just as it should be.

The excitement and the optimism, however, cannot nor should not obscure the fact that the Red Raiders are a very young, inexperienced, and in many areas, unproven football team. That fact means that there are numerous question marks floating in the balmy breezes over The Jones, and concomitantly, that there are several crucial storylines developing as summer workouts commence. Below are some of the more important and fascinating of those issues.

Will Tech Really Blitz in '07? Defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich, much maligned by Raider-backers for his ultra-conservative, low-risk/low-reward play-calling, has officially served notice that the Tech defense may emerge from its shell this season. And presumably, if Setencich is to stay true to his word, we shall see evidence of it over the course of the next two to three weeks. Teams rarely deploy tactics in game situations that they do not refine in practice. But there is reason to be skeptical. Setencich has noted that safety Joe Garcia's lack of footspeed makes blitzing an even more risky strategy than usual. Every practice-field observer will doubtless be counting the blitzes, charting from whence they hail, and scrutinizing Garcia's role in what transpires.

Skinny D-Line: As many people have stated in various contexts, size is not everything. Still, given Tech's recent history of poor run defense, the lack of heft along the Red Raider starting defensive line is enough to cause a furrowed brow.

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