The Texas Tech football season is now just over a month away. So, many Red Raider fans are starting to wonder what to expect for our team this fall.
But as we begin to look ahead to the 2022 season, and the Big 12 in particular, we have to admit that the once-most explosive league in the country has seen a bit of an evolution.
The only way to survive in this conference is not to win shootouts. In fact, defense and football management have come to Addis Ababa between Tech League rivals.
No Big 12 team finished in the top 10 in the nation in points per game last season. This is the first time since TeamRankings.com began tracking such statistics in 2003.
Moreover, four teams in the conference (TCU, Kansas State, West Virginia, Kansas) were under 30 points per game. It’s a year after 2020, when five Big 12 teams averaged less than 30 ppg.
Also, no Big 12 team has averaged more than 40 ppg in 2021, leading OU with 39. That’s a stark contrast to 2015, when four teams made that mark. What’s more, it’s the first time since 2013 that no Big 12 team has topped 40 ppg.
Statistically speaking, running the ball was more prevalent in 2021 than it has been in this conference in recent years. Last fall, five Big 12 teams averaged more than 185 yards a game. A year ago, only three gained that many yards on the ground. The 2021 total was the most since 2016 when six Big 12 programs put up more than 200 yards per game.
But the Big 12 seems to be undergoing a bit of a metamorphosis. Not that playing defense in this league will be any easier than it already is. Fortunately, Tech has one of the brightest defensive minds in the college game now leading the way on the football side.
Tim DeRuyter arrives to coordinate the Red Raider defense after one season as defensive coordinator at Oregon. He was previously the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2010 and 2011, so he’s a familiar name to many Red Raider fans.
In all, DeRuyter has been a defensive coordinator or head coach for the past 20 seasons. That includes stints at Oregon, Cal, Air Force, A&M, and Ohio as defensive coordinator and as head coach at Fresno State from 2012-16.
The defensive unit is particularly known for picking up the football. Last season. Oregon was 22nd nationally in turnovers with 22.
This year, DeRuyter inherits a veteran defense that features nine returners who started multiple games from a season ago. But that team will be sorely tested in the Big 12, as the individual offensive talent in this conference is still as elite as ever.
So let’s take a look at the top offensive stars Tech will face this season. And while we’ll be focusing mostly on Big 12 players, we should start by looking at two outstanding QBs from outside the league.