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5 bold predictions for Texas Tech football in 2022: Defense is back in Lubbock

You read that right -- the Red Raiders will turn the tide on their defensive reputation this year.

It’s an exciting time in Texas Tech football. Joey McGuire has already proved to be a catalyst on the recruiting trail, and now it’s time to see what he can do on the field. He’ll have coordinators Zach Kittley and Tim DeRuyter to help him call plays and execute the game plan. While a lot will look different, the change could bring good things to Lubbock.

Here are five bold predictions for the new look Texas Tech football team in 2022:

Texas Tech’s defense will be good

Texas Tech has finished within the top five of Big 12 teams in yards allowed per game just twice since 2008. Red Raider fans have been subject to some nasty showings in that time span, including 14 games where Texas Tech has allowed at least 60 points — the most in all of Division I. That changes this season.

There are massive questions to be asked about the linebacker position in Lubbock this coming year. It’s a weak point, and DeRuyter will need to work some magic. But outside of backer, the Red Raiders have some serious talent everywhere else on the depth chart. Look for Tyree Wilson, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Krishon Merriweather, Rayshad Williams, Reggie Pearson and Marquis Waters all to compete for All-Big 12 Honors.

Red Raiders go bowling, again

It’s been a decade since Texas Tech went to a bowl game in back-to-back seasons. Is it too ambitious to assume that first year head coach Joey McGuire will end the drought? No, and you don’t need to look further than Kliff Kingsbury for confidence.

Kingsbury took over the Red Raiders in 2013 as a first-year head coach. That team finished the year 8-5, including a win in the Holiday Bowl. Sure, there was a wealth of soon-to-be NFL talent on that roster. But McGuire is inheriting a favorable situation as well. With Zach Kittley bringing offense back to Lubbock and Tim DeRuyter plugging holes in the secondary, Texas Tech will be playing in January once again.

Tech will lead Big 12 in passing

Zach Kittley is back in Lubbock and so is the Air Raid offense. Texas Tech has three viable candidates for starting quarterback: Behren Morton, Donovan Smith and Tyler Shough. It’s an embarrassment of riches for Kittley, who must feel like a kid in a candy shop.

The Red Raiders do have two talented rushers in Sarodorick Thompson and Tahj Brooks, but they won’t be forgotten. Iowa State led the Big 12 in passing yards per game while All-American Breece Hall ran the ball 21 times per game. Balance is possible, and I expect Kittley to find it.

Wilson wins Big 12 Defensive POY

A Red Raider hasn’t been crowned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year since Dwayne Slay was given the honor in 2005. That changes in 2022. Tyree Wilson ended his 2021 campaign on a high note, tallying four tackles and two sacks against Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl. Expect him to pick up where he left off.

Listed at 6-6 and 275 pounds, Wilson is built to be a pass rush machine. With Wilson being named to the Chuck Bednarik Award preseason watch list, it’s clear his collegiate career has turned heads around the nation. Now, he’ll have his best season yet.

O-line survives some serious concerns

Linebacker and offensive line are the two big question marks when it comes to position groups for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders lost a number of veterans on the line, a position where you can’t afford inexperience. But after some shopping in the transfer portal, it looks like the offensive line will be alright.

The returning Ethan Carde, Caleb Rogers and Weston Wright will give Texas Tech a needed veteran presence on the line. Michael Shanahan, Cade Briggs and Cole Spencer all were picked up from the portal and will have an immediate impact. Look for returners Jacoby Jackson and Landon Peterson to have more prominent roles this season as well. As always, injuries will play a key part in determining how this group plays out. But things aren’t as grim as they initially seemed.

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