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Why Red Raiders Will Be Better in 2022

Five reasons Texas Tech will be an improved football team in 2022.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders are breaking in a new coaching staff in 2022 after they let go of three-year head coach Matt Wells. There is palpable excitement in Lubbock with the hire of Joey McGuire, but he has a lot to prove in his first year as a college head coach.

There is reason to believe the Red Raiders will be improved over last year’s 7-6 squad.

Wreck’Em Red released five reasons why the Red Raiders will be better in 2022.

The first reason is due to the coaching change. Matt Wells finished bottom three among past Red Raider coaches with a .433 winning percentage. If it were not for frequent questionable in-game calls by Wells, some of the losses may have been wins.

We do not know what McGuire will be as a coach on Saturdays, but as long as his decision-making does not cost his team games, he will be an upgrade.

Turnover at defensive coordinator is another reason to expect improvement. Tim DeRuyter is taking over a Keith Patterson defense that allowed 405.5 yards per game in 2021, good for 86th nationally. Patterson has only once led a defense to a top 75 finish.

DeRuyter carries with him a strong track record of calling defenses. In 2006, the Air Force Falcons were 78th in scoring defense. Once DeRuytor was hired in 2007, the Falcons finished 10th in scoring defense.

Texas A&M was 104th in scoring defense in 2010. DeRuytor took over in 2011 and improved the Aggies' scoring defense to 21st nationally.

If Texas Tech’s defense in 2022 is reminiscent of those led by DeRuyter in the past, they should field a better product.

The quarterback room is in a better place than it was a season ago.

The Red Raiders announced senior Tyler Shough as their starting quarterback following Saturday’s closed-scrimmage.

Behind Shough, there is enough talent and experience to ensure the season will not fall off the rails in case of injury.

Donovan Smith is a proven commodity under center. He threw for 1,111 yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions in the final five games last season. He will be a serviceable option for the Red Raiders if Shough were to go down. 

Behren Morton has shown much promise in his short time as a Red Raider. The highly-touted true freshman was in the thick of the quarterback battle through Sunday’s announcement.

The hire of Zach Kittley as the offensive coordinator is another reason to expect improvement.

Kittley is widely regarded as one of the fastest-rising offensive minds in the sport. He led a historic offense at Western Kentucky in 2021. Quarterback Bailey Zappe broke the NCAA records for passing yards (5,967) and touchdown passes (62). His offense ranked second nationally in total offense (535.3) and points per game (44.2).

Texas Tech’s offense should be fun to watch in the years to come with Kittley calling plays.

The fifth and final reason the Red Raiders will be better in Year 1 under McGuire is the experience on defense.

The Red Raiders are experienced and deep in all three phases of the defense.

All 11 of the projected starters on defense are either juniors or seniors. Nine of the projected second-team defensive players are upperclassmen as well.

Often when coaches find immediate success at new programs, it is because they inherited a veteran roster.

Experience on defense should allow for a relatively smooth transition under a new coaching regime.

Many are writing off the Red Raiders this season, but there is plenty of reason for optimism. Even if it does not all click in Year 1, the future remains bright with McGuire at the helm. 

You can find Michael Gresser on Twitter @gresser_michael

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