Like any football team, good, mediocre or bad, Texas Tech
has several players whose play will be particularly critical to the squad’s
success. These players, whether by virtue experience, leadership ability, importance
of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially
crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be
very conspicuous were they to be absent for any reason. In fact, that may be
the best way to conceive of the critical players—they are the performers
the team could least afford to lose.
With this series, we will take a reverse order look at the
Red Raider football players we consider most invaluable.
6’ 3” 215
Very few players on the Texas Tech roster have the respect
from coaches and fellow players alike that Terrance Bullitt does. And it is not
because of national accolades that Bullitt enjoys this esteem. On the contrary,
the junior from Garland remains a fairly low-profile player outside the Red
Raider football camp.
No, Tech players and coaches respect Bullitt because of the
intangibles he brings to the table.
To begin with, Bullitt is as tough as they come. At the
outset of the 2011 season Bullitt suffered a painful shoulder injury that
forced him to exit the field. But only temporarily.
Bullitt returned to the fray quickly and played the remainder of the season in
a great deal of pain. That sort of commitment and toughness will win a football
player respect every time.
Bullitt is also a no-nonsense, businesslike performer. In an
era where players often go to absurd lengths and engage in idiotic antics to
draw attention to themselves, Bullitt simply puts his
head down and chops wood. He is a worker in a sport all too often dominated by
clowns. This too scores points with coaches and teammates.
But Bullitt is certainly about more than character and glue.
He’s a skilled linebacker who needs merely one injury free season to become a
water cooler name in Big 12 country.
Playing at perhaps 80 percent of full health in 2011,
Bullitt nevertheless was fourth on the team in tackles with 56. He also
registered 9.5 tackles for loss, four pass break ups
and four passes defended. On a defense that was a disaster wrapped inside a
catastrophe surrounded by a cataclysm, Bullitt was a ray of light.
At 215 pounds, Bullitt is on the small side for a Big 12
linebacker, but he plays bigger than his measurements. Bullitt delivers the
blow to blockers and is able to shed them and make the tackle. And unlike
others on last year’s defense, Bullitt rarely gets collapsed or blown out of
Another positive is Bullitt’s skill in pass defense. A
safety in high school, Bullitt is comfortable playing in space and has the
ability to created big plays against the pass. If Tech’s defense is as improved
as some people think it is, look for Bullitt to snag a few interceptions in
2012. And he should combine with Sam Eguavoen to form
one of the Big 12’s better pass covering linebacker duos.