Leave No Doubt Tour 2009--Tech's Trench Warfare (2/3)

Chinese Buffets--Beware.  Its time for BON to preview the Raider's Hogs up front.  Facepaint and lawyer fees, not included. Full preview after the jump.
Not feeling creative today, so this post will just be an informative look at the depths of Tech's Offensive and Defensive Linemen and how they match-up to our guys.  Nothing special today. Sorry.



Last year in Lubbock, Tech's linemen on both sides of the ball dominated us for the first half.  Yes, holdings on Orakpo and Grag Davis' inept playcalling made our schemes less advantageous, however we still did poorly as a unit overall and lacked elite execution.  We hope that it served as a lesson to be learned and we expect much better results come Saturday. 


Breakdown of statistical analysis from last years squad:

--Last year Tech's Offensive Line created the best running attack Leach has ever had.  Not to mention they kept Graham Harrell's jersey fairly clean throughout the season as they gave up only 14 sacks.
--They were led by LT Rylan Reed and RG Louis Vasquez which helped pave the way for the best offensive season that Tech has seen in years in terms of consistency.  They were the MAIN reason why Graham Harrel was such a great system QB by leading Tech into the national picture.

The drop-off to 2009--What does the losses of Reed and Vasquez mean to this year's squad?

--First of all, we need to look at their first 2 games against N. Dakota St. and Rice.  As it shows, Tech's O-line had difficulties in opening lanes for Batch and Jeffers for the running game to develop.  In fact Tech is only averaging 46 yards a game on the ground, which is paltry compared to averaging 117/game last year.
--As with all Tech QB's in the past, Taylor Potts is not mobile.  He's Sam Bradford, pre-injury, immobile actually.  Therefore, this O-Line squad needs to maintain a quick point of attack when in pass protect, which is about 95% of the snaps.  Potts has only been sacked once this year, however it was against a very poor pass defense in N. Dakota St.  It will be interesting to see how they fare against a much stronger push from our guys.


RT: Marlon Winn: 6-6, 325 lbs SR. Tech's best O-Lineman by far.  Starter for the past 2 years, Winn is tremendous in pass blocking and has great frame.  Very athletic for his size, and should be playing at the next level soon.

RG: Brandon Carter: 6-7, 345 lbs SR. Huge by all means.  Brandon is the birth child of KISS, Sting (wrestler, not singer), and Marilyn Manson.  Very athletic for his size, and great in run blocking.  The right side of the O-Line is a tough one to crack.  Injuries have been a problem for Carter in the past, as has his consistency in pass protection.

C:Shawn Byrnes: 6-4. 290 lbs SR. Experienced, but injury plagued through his entire career thus far.  He is very strong for his size and knows the system well, but he cannot be relied upon to be a star on that line. 

LG: Lonnie Edwards: 6-5, 288 lbs SO. A backup last year in only 6 games, he has the frame for a tackle but will be in rotation in LG for now.  He may also see some action on special teams (Why?). 

LT: Chris Olson: 6-5 295 lbs JR. A much better fit a guard than tackle, the LT spot isn't the easiest filled and Leach needs someone there for size and experience.  Also having to replace Rylan Reed's big shoes is something that will be difficult to do.  He's not the greatest in run blocking, but excels at times with the pass.


-Terry McDaniel, 6-7 330 lbs. RsFR.
-Mickey Okafor, 6-7 320 lbs SO.


-Finding the right guy for the right job.  This is what Leach has been trying to do ever since Reed and Vasquez left Lubbock for good. The Right side seems to be a strength as they are all veterans with great motors and size, however the Left is much weaker in both fields of the offense. The strength of this team WILL be in Pass Protection as they all have great feet and the quickness to keep the fast DE's of the Big 12 at bay.  Their weakness will be leadership.  Who will step up and take the reins that Vasquez and Reed left? Run blocking seems to be poor this year as well, but that is only based on 2 games. 


-Our guys seem to have the upper hand in this one, based on our pure athleticism.  Obviously, this depends on any given referree's ability to call a holding penalty, but expect a big game for our DE's especially Sergio Kindle.  Our main point of attack will most likely be on the right side with strength and the left side with speed.  If we can accomplish this and outlast the O-Linemen, we're sure to rack up a few sacks.  Our D-Line play will dictate how this game unfolds. I give the Tech Offensive Line a grade of B-


--Review of statistical analysis of last year's squad:

Last year, the Tech D Line was in our backfield all over the place.  Ratliff and Williams are gone, both of which kicked our ass last year as our Offensive Line couldn't hold up. Pun Intended.  They weren't necessarily better athletes than ours, but they got the job done.  I didn't feel like watching the game again, so I dont have any stats for you.  Get over it.
--The losses of Jake Ratliff, Brandon Williams, and McKinner Dixon will be huge for the D-Line.  There's no getting around that.  The new line got 7 sacks last game against Rice, which is a sign that maybe Tech just reloads instead of rebuilding a depleted D Line.  But doubtful.


--RE: Daniel Howard. 6-3, 244 lbs SR.  Howard will be replacing Brandon Williams' spot on the rotation, and as a JUCO transfer, he is expected to carry Williams load.  Howard has a quick burst and could likely be in the backfield based on his speed alone. 

--LE: Rajon Henley. 6-3, 266 lbs SR. Henley was injured last game against Rice and because Leach doesn't give out information on injuries to the press, it is up in the air if he will play Saturday.  After a disappointing year in 2008, he is expected to surge by leaps and bounds and has done well in the 1st 2 games this year.  His injury could very well limit what Ruffin McNeil does with a pass rush.

--DT: Colby Whitlock. 6-3, 280 lbs JR. The anchor of the line this year and will be taking over the primary duties of run stoppage.  While not huge, Colby has great quickness off the block and could pose problems behind the line for TFLs.  Had a great game last year in Lubbock against Texas.

--DT: Richard Jones: 6-2 285 lbs JR. Much better against the run than making plays in the backfield.  Not very quick but has tremendous strength and can hold his own against some of the big boys on the O-Line. 

The Reserves:

-Brandon Sesay. 6-6, 275 lbs JR
-Victor Hunter, 5-11, 275 lbs SR
-Sandy Riley, 6-0, 250 lbs SR
-Ryan Halliburton, 6-4 270 lbs FR (Will replace Rajon if he can't go)
-David Neill, 6-5 280 lbs SO
-Brandon Sharpe, 6-3 255 lbs, SR

No More Safeties, Greg.  The Endzone is North, not East!


-The outlook isn't all that impressive.  You have budding stars in Whitlock and Howard, but without a pure DT, it will be hard to stop the run. Expect ALOT of teams such as ourselves to try and establish the run early, therefore keeping their safeties from playing 2 deep zone on us like last year.  Their strength will be on rotation and depth as they have a shitload of guys they can plug into any 4 line spots.  The problem lies in the skill of those players however.  Its good to have an army of 800,000; however, if neither soldier knows how to shoot, they are useless.


-I expect Texas' O-Line to fair well against these guys, but they will not donimate the LOS. Texas' O-Line is good, but far from great and we have a way to go on our left side in run blocking.  In pass situations, we should be fine as TECH lost both of their best pass rushers last year.  I grade out the Texas Tech Defensive Line at a C.

By tomorrow afternoon I should have the preview for TTU's LB corps and their secondary. Until then, Hook Em!

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