Nov 24, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders wide receiver Eric Ward (18) catches a touchdown pass while defended by Baylor Bears linebacker Branden Jackson (9) during the game at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech returns to "Air Raid" in 2013


Before Mike Leach arrived at Texas Tech, few around the country rarely paid attention to the west Texas school. That changed when Leach became head coach and brought with him his version of the famed spread offense. The “Air Raid” as it was later known by fans, put Tech on the map and frequently put Red Raider Quarterbacks on NCAA record lists. Then after one of the most successful seasons in Tech history, Leach was fired by the administration in a scandal that still today hasn’t been settled. His replacement brought a more conservative approach and lowered hype.

The days of high-octane offense seemed to have vanished and the Red Raiders lost their identity under Head Coach Tommy Tuberville. It seemed to have gotten worse after he decided to resign after only three mediocre years on the job.  Then the light shined and the second coming of Leach appeared and seemed poised to return Tech to its glory days. It was Kliff Kingsbury, a former Red Raider quarterback, the new head coach of the Red Raiders. His secret weapon? The Air Raid offense 2.0.

Already, the new coach is shaking up the Tech football with his new additions to his staff. It may be a reunion of sorts, since he has gathered former great Red Raiders like Eric Morris, Kevin Curtis, and even fellow quarterback Sonny Cumbie.  He even has a clause in his contract that gives him power of how the uniforms are going to look. However, the biggest shakeup is something that isn’t new to the school, his offense.  Kingsbury will run the Air Raid offense that helped him become a star in Lubbock.

The only difference is that his offense is a tad bit different from the one Leach used to run. This new variation is much more aggressive and can adapt too tougher defenses as seen in the SEC.  Also, it can be used with a dual threat quarterback, which helped with Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M.  The offense is so potent that it put up 29 points against one of the toughest defenses in the country in Alabama.  It might even be more dangerous than Leach’s version.

One problem is if the talent at Tech can match up to what A&M had last year. Fortunately for Tech, the offense has always produced with whatever talent they had. The good news is that this is one of the more talented teams that the Red Raiders have put out.

Nov 3, 2012; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders wide receiver Eric Ward (18) catches a pass against Texas Longhorns corner back Carrington Byndom (23) in the first half at Jones AT

The team is led on offense with top receiver Eric Ward and a deep receiving corps and is poised to get a 1,000 yard season under his belt with Michael Brewer throwing the ball. Brewer, who has similar skill sets that Manziel has, could help make Tech the number one offense in the country again. The Brewer/Ward connection could remind fans of the Harrell/Crabtree connection. We know how that duo turned out. If that duo wasn’t enough to make Kingsbury lick his chops, having Jace Amaro return from injury will make him drool.

The junior tight end was finding his groove before he got injured, and with a healthy season under the air raid, he could break out as major weapon in 2013.  At 6 foot 5 and weighing 257 lbs, this guy is a match up nightmare for defenses and should help open up room for Ward and the other receivers. The only problem is on defense. Traditionally, Tech has never had a great defense, even under Tuberville. Recruiting on defense must be a top priority for this Tech team if it wants to find itself one of the top teams in the Big 12 again.

It is a little poetic justice that the man to return Tech to its glory days is the man who first took the reins of Leach’s offense. Some fans might even say this is the reincarnation of the Mad Scientist, but don’t mistake the two. Kingsbury is his own man and will leave his own unique mark on the Red Raider nation. Time will tell if this man brings Texas Tech to the Promised Land, but we already know he has brought the excitement back.

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Tags: Air Raid Offense Big 12 Football Kliff Kingsbury Mike Leach Texas Tech Red Raiders Tommy Tuberville