In the two years that Tommy Tuberville and Neal Brown have helmed the Texas Tech offense, the Red Raiders have remained among the nation's aerial elite. In 2011 Tech was No. 7 nationally in passing offense, and in 2010 they were No. 7 as well.
Despite those impressive credentials, however, it is obvious that the Red Raider passing attack the last two seasons was not quite the same beast that Mike Leach conjured. Leach's best offenses were basically unstoppable when hitting on all cylinders. The execution, borne of endless repetition in practice, was flawless.
We have not seen that sort of execution in the passing game the past two seasons. The Red Raider air show just has not caught fire and incinerated the opposition.
But that's not to say it cannot happen in the future. Tech should have its best combination of quarterback and receivers since 2008. Perhaps 2012 will be the season the Red Raider passing attack once again instills real fear in opposing defenses.
Will Seth Doege throw for more or less than 4,600 yards in 2012?
In 2011 Seth Doege passed for 4,004 yards. In order to reach the 4,600-yard plateau, he would have to pass for 50 yards more per game than he did a year ago.
If reaching 4,600 yards were up to Doege alone, it is likely he would reach that milestone. The senior is now a veteran quarterback and his command of Neal Brown's offense is near total.
What's more, Doege showed improvement this past spring. He was very aggressive with his passes, yet seemed to throw fewer interceptions than in the past despite facing a better Tech defense. In short, his judgment and ball speed are the areas in which he's made the most obvious progress.
Doege will also have a top-flight group of receivers catching his passes. Sure-handed thoroughbreds such as Eric Ward, Darrin Moore, Bradley Marquez, Alex Torres, Javon Bell, Marcus Kennard and Jakeem Grant will provide Doege with more than enough firepower to do the job.
Buy there are a few factors militating against Doege having a monster season.
First are questions along the offensive line. Right tackle, where freshman Le'Ravin Clark currently holds sway, could be a trouble spot. He's currently not what you want as a starter in the Big 12 at that position, and if Clark or somebody else does not solidify the spot, Doege will be harassed.
The coaches have said positive things about Deveric Gallington at center, but until he proves he can handle that position week in, week out, there will be concerns. And if Gallington doesn't pan out, there are no obvious good options to replace him.
Another concern is the running back position. With injuries clouding the future of top two backs Eric Stephens and DeAndre Washington, the effectiveness of Tech's ground game is in doubt. And without a credible ground game to keep defenses off balance, passing the ball effectively becomes much more difficult. What's more, weakness at running back compromises pass protection.
And finally, Tommy Tuberville's repeatedly stated commitment to enhancing the ground game calls into the question the possibility of putting up really colossal passing numbers.
All in all, therefore, it is likely that Texas Tech will have a more proficient passing game without Seth Doege throwing for 4,600 yards. Let's take the under on this one.