Don't look now, but Texas Tech might be one of the most balanced teams in the Big 12. They return what should be a decent defense and a very good offensive line. The Red Raiders open their season against Ole Miss in Houston Saturday morning.
McClane Carter Until Further Notice
Look like Tech will start McLane Carter at quarterback over Jett Duffey and Alan Bowman. Carter seems to be the more sensible choice if he falters Kliff Kingsbury will tap Jett Duffey to pull Tech out of the grease. Carter started the 2017 Texas game and didn't exactly set the world on fire. But this is a different Kingsbury and a different Tech offense.
The Red Raiders can pound the football and may have the mindset to do so. That shift should help ease the pressure on whoever the quarterback is.
Let's Get Defensive
For years the Tech defense has been the punch line of the Big 12. David Gibbs has slowly built the unit back up, and kudos for Kingsbury for having patience even as the results weren't exactly encouraging. This season the Tech defense should hold its own.
Ole Miss presents a real test, the Rebels have one of the more talented receiving groups in college football, and their quarterback has promise, more on that later. In years past Tech would've hoped to win a shootout, and they'd still take that, but the Red Raiders defense can get them into a better proposition. Dakota Allen and Jordyn Brooks are two of the better linebackers in the Big 12. Eli Howard and Kolin Hill give Tech two seasoned pass rushers, and the secondary is stacked.
Meet Jordan Ta'amu
Ole Miss lost Shea Patterson to transfer. Shocking development considering Patterson attended roughly every high school south of Vermont as a prep player. Jordan Ta'amu was a lightly regarded JUCO quarterback, Ole Miss saw something in him that few others did and brought him to Oxford. Once Patterson went down in week seven last season, Ta'amu picked right up, completing 67% of his attempts with eleven touchdowns and four picks.
With Patterson serving time under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, Ta'amu is the guy. He possesses all the skill requirements, good arm, he can move, he's accurate, but what coaches rave about is his unflappable demeanor. Former Sam Houston State coordinator Phil Longo run the Ole Miss offense, and if you've followed him from his time in Huntsville, you'll know he's as aggressive a play caller as they come. Ta'amu will get plenty of chances to make plays downfield.