5 key storylines for Texas Tech in 2018, including offensive uncertainty and Kliff Kingsbury’s job status

Texas Tech will open its football season in less than a month against Ole Miss on Sept. 1. After a 6-7 finish last season and a lot of turnover on the roster, the Red Raiders will have to answer plenty of questions on and off the field.

Here are five key storylines to watch for during the 2018 season.

Will Texas Tech make it back to
a bowl game (and win)?

Texas Tech barely earned bowl eligibility last year and this season could be a little more difficult with a roster that’s undergone a lot of turnover. In their past five seasons, the Red Raiders have made three bowl games, but haven’t won one since the Holiday Bowl in 2013 vs. Arizona State. Texas Tech needs to win six games to be bowl eligible, which is doable, but the Red Raiders will have to sift through a tough Big 12 schedule, including three straight games against Oklahoma State, West Virginia and TCU and three straight against Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas State. Texas Tech will likely have to steal one of those matchups to make it back to a bowl game. 

Can the Red Raiders maintain their offensive
production despite losing key starters?

Last season, Texas Tech had the fourth-ranked scoring offense in the Big 12, averaging 34.3 points per game. However, the Red Raiders are losing a wave of offensive starters including quarterback Nic Shimonek, two of the top five receivers in the conference in Keke Coutee and Dylan Cantrell as well as starting running back Justin Stockton. There are a lot of unanswered questions about this team, including who will start at quarterback in the season opener. How the offense performs will be the biggest difference between Texas Tech contending for a bowl game or slipping to the bottom of the conference standings.

How much pressure will Kliff Kingsbury be under?

Kingsbury is entering his sixth season as Texas Tech’s head coach and hasn’t been able to replicate the success from his first season in 2013, when the Red Raiders went 8-5 and won the Holiday Bowl. Since then, Texas Tech has finished with records of 4-8, 7-6, 5-7 and 6-7 and made two bowl appearances, both losses. If Kingsbury gets off to a slow start this season or can’t reach bowl eligibility, don’t be surprised if he finds himself in the hot seat. 

Will Jett Duffey morph into Texas Tech’s QB
of the future this season?

If this question was based purely on talent, the answer would be closer to a yes than a no. However, Duffey’s run-in with the law over the offseason leaves that more in question. He’s also in a tight race for this season’s starting quarterback spot with junior McLane Carter. As a sophomore, Duffey will likely be a part of the Red Raiders’ future at QB, but is the future now for him? Based on talent alone, Duffey appears to be the frontrunner for the job, but there’s no telling if he will be involved in more off-the-field antics.

Who will step up at
wide receiver?

Texas Tech needs to replace a lot firepower at wide receiver. On top of losing its top two receivers in Coutee and Cantrell, junior Quan Shorts was dismissed from the team in June after he was involved in a second offseason arrest (the first, in March, involved three other players, including Duffey). The most obvious choice to step up as the No. 1 receiver is T.J. Vasher, who finished his freshman season with 545 receiving yards and six touchdowns, but who will step up behind him? Could freshman Erik Ezukanma work his way into the mix? Only time, and whoever is named the starting quarterback, will tell.

Source of this (above) article: https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/college-sports/texastechredraiders/2018/08/10/5-key-storylines-fortexas-tech-2018-another-losing-season-put-kliff-kingsbury-hot-seat

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