Texas Tech held their spring game on Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland. We’ve got 10 strong things from the scrimmage.
- The quarterback situation looks to be pretty settled, at least for me. Patrick Mahomes looked terrific and Nic Shimonek looked really rough. Shimonek was dealing with a less than stellar offensive line, but I’d still say that aside from the pressure, he looked like he still needs a season of work before he’s really ready. I suppose this is a good reason to think that Davis Webb would, at least in my mind, a pretty significant improvement over Shimonek. I think the hardest thing to do with Webb is to get those biases out of your head and consider that without Webb, Texas Tech is a Vinny Testaverde, Jr. away from not being able to do much. I love Mahomes and hope he starts, but teams need a couple of competent quarterbacks. That’s totally cool. As far as Mahomes’ performance, I thought he hasn’t missed a beat since the Baylor game and he would have had even better stats had Dylan Cantrell not pushed off for that one deep pass (Cantrell probably didn’t need to push off).
- The right tackle spot looked pretty well set and it looks like it will be Justin Murphy. I always thought that when I first watched his high school tape that he had the pass blocking part down pretty pat and had terrific footwork for that. I still think that’s true, but he has added some strength and he doesn’t look like he’s out of place at right tackle at all. I think I enjoyed watching him block on that short-yardage touchdown where Tyler Scalzi blocked inside. Murphy had engaged and taken his defender completely out of the play, I want to say that Murphy turned him outside.
- We were all watching that defensive line and I was impressed. Sometimes when I try to be positive about the line or the defense in general that I’m believing in fool’s gold, but there were some good things with that defensive line. The defensive line looked like they were doing a much better job of engaging the offensive line and winning battles. Rika Levi looked so much better. What a difference 30 pounds makes. He looked quick and agile and that’s a great thing. I thought the back-ups looked like they were giving the offensive line fits.
- Kingsbury wasn’t lying when he said that Mike Mitchell was still pretty raw. He is still pretty raw, but he’s got the goods. He’s big and fast and fast. I loved his range and that was, without a doubt, the most impressive thing about him. So, maybe he’s not going to be a savior and that’s okay. Don’t be upset about that. He’s still really good and Mitchell’s story hasn’t been written yet. There’s still many chapters to write, so a summer of work and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Mitchell be part of that starting linebacker unit.
- Josh Outlaw looks legitimate. And just in case you’re keeping score at home, Kingsbury said that Outlaw was the most improved and he tempered expectations on Mitchell. Outlaw didn’t just look serviceable, but he looked like what I always thought Michael Starts was supposed to look like at 6-5/310. He was really athletic and active and that’s just flipping awesome.
- The secondary looked as sure of themselves as I can remember. Yes, there was that one long pass play where Dylan Cantrell pushed off and Justis Nelson didn’t look back, but when the ball was in front of them, they looked as good as I can recall. Nigel Bethel, II was jumping routes and looked like a legitimate defensive back, while there were other times where I was impressed at the hits that the secondary was laying on the receivers.
- I’ve already written my five thoughts about the running backs, but one of those thoughts is that I’d love it if we could embrace the running back because I think they are going to be that good. DeAndre Washington will not miss a bit, but goodness gracious, Texas Tech has a multitude of running backs to choose from. I can promise you this, Demarcus Felton will pick up right where Washington leaves off and Stockton will be a Reggie Bush type of back, a player that will make huge plays, while Felton churns out yards. And Quinton White didn’t looked terrific, and thick. Texas Tech has generally used a fullback that’s not much of a threat offensively, but that’s not the case with White.
- The defense wasn’t perfect and at this point, you don’t have those sorts of expectations and you don’t think that’s really necessary. but generally speaking, just from the eye test, it does look improved. I know, don’t get those hopes up only to be disappointed later, but I’m generally really happy with how the defense looks. I’d say that of all of the things that transpired on Saturday, having a defense that looks like it can force some three-and-outs makes me happy. I also thought that the tackling looked much improved. Talk about baby-steps, but the way that this team generally wrapped up on Saturday was encouraging.
- I thought that the receivers were pretty good, but this was a feast or famine sort of thing. With the first team, I thought everyone looked really terrific, while the second team struggled to do much of anything. I think that’s partly quarterback and offensive line driven. With Kingsbury being accurate about Mitchell and Outlaw, my hope is that he’s right about Reginald Davis as well, that he’s going to be much improved as a receiver. We didn’t get to see much of that on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean much other than I would probably bet on Davis moving forward.
- This scrimmage was weird from a production standpoint. I was expecting more. That’s probably putting it lightly. I was expecting better quarterback play from Shimonek and anyone else, but that didn’t happen. I was expecting 120 plays and I don’t feel like we got 120 plays. The first thirty minutes felt like an advertisement for ProPetro and the television production company, but if the question to me is, “Do you want to see this thing on television?” and if my answer is yes, yes, I do, then the response will be, “Then you will sit through some advertisements.”I thought that sticking Chris Level and Robert Giovenetti in bad spots made their lives incredibly difficult and hard to call the game, see numbers or really any part of the action other than when the offense was at their end of the field. I’d love to know why this happened, because that wasn’t fair to them at all.As an aside, the spokesman for ProPetro had a strong, and I mean strong, chest-hair game and he wasn’t at all afraid to let it see the light of the sun. Salute good sir. Salute.
I’ve listed my ten and I’m sure I’ve missed more than a couple thoughts, so let’s hear it in the comments.