The first glimpses of Kliff Kingsbury's Red Raiders will be seen at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland on Saturday. Given the closed nature of the practices and the tight lipped comments from the coaches, I wouldn't expect Kliff to empty out the playbook and divulge every trick to the Texas Tech faithful, but I think the Red Raiders will show fans that things are definitely changing.
Pace of the offense – One player said earlier this spring, " If we ran NASCAR last year, this is in overdrive." Kingsbury has said repeatedly that Texas Tech will move very quickly offensively. Kingsbury expects to run about 100 plays, "plus or minus 20" so it will be a full scrimmage, but expect the offense to move rapidly.
WR Routes – Gone are a lot of the timing routes of the Neal Brown offense, welcome back to the routes that allow a receiver to find the open space and catch the ball. The six routes and nine routes will be featured in this offense prominently, especially for the quicker, shiftier receivers like Jakeem Grant and Bradley Marquez.
Screens – Many folks cringed the last couple of years when screen passes were thrown to big, physical receivers like Darrin Moore. The screen game will be a key part of the Kingsbury offense, but they will be tailored much differently. Remember Nehemiah Glover? Again, Grant will figure in here as well, but also guys like Dominique Wheeler and Eric Ward to be in the mix as well. Amaro is key in the screen game as well for his blocking ability.
Front 7 – This group will be the key piece of the puzzle in 2013. The defensive front 7 is the most experienced but they also have the most to prove. Watch where and how they line up. Kerry Hyder is listed at defensive tackle, but will line up at end in a 3 man front. Delvon Simmons is also listed at end, which will be a good matchup against an OT to create a pass rush lane.Also pay attention to the two outside linebackers. Similar to the boundary and field defensive backs, that's how the outside backers will line up. The "Bandit" is the position that could have his hand on the ground in a 4 man front, blitz off the edge in a 3-4 look play run support. Brandon Jackson and Pete Robertson are listed 1-2 at bandit. On the other side, the "Raider" OLB will have a a little more ground to cover, but from what's been said by Terrence Bullitt, will be very involved in the blitz packages as well.
RB and IR – Some personnel in this group will be interchangeable. Sadale Foster will probably get snaps all over the place. Deandre Washington could be used in several different roles as well. Washington and Grant are the two in this group with the most speed (until Middleton arrives). Kenny Williams appears to be the inside/tough yardage back and is the leading returning rusher. Watch how these guys are used and the personnel groups that are used in different formations.
QB – The Johnny Manziel comparisons will be inevitable for Michael Brewer, but that isn't a bad thing given Manziel's resume. Brewer to me always had a quicker release than Seth Doege. That will help the screen plays develop more quickly. Brewer is also more mobile, both in the pocket and on the run. We'll see how that is implemented into the offense, as it could be the biggest wildcard in the offense.