Texas Tech’s offense could see defensive relief this season

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 25: The Texas Tech Red Raiders defense recovers a fumble during the first half of the game against the Baylor Bears on November 25, 2016 at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 25: The Texas Tech Red Raiders defense recovers a fumble during the first half of the game against the Baylor Bears on November 25, 2016 at AT /

With Big 12 Media Days wrapped up for Texas Tech, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been able to discuss the operations on a large scale, and for Nic Shimonek, it looks like he might be getting some defensive relief this season.

Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek has been a major topic of discussion in terms of development and range. Shimonek is a fifth year player, but has spent four years with Tech learning the system.

If anything, that level of experience in the Texas Tech system has elevated the expectations for Nic Shimonek, but with heightened expectation, comes big time pressure. Fortunately for Texas Tech, pressure doesn’t seem to be an issue with Shimonek, who has more experience than most former backups headed into 2017.

“You don’t replace that type of talent, obviously.” Said Kingsbury at Big 12 Media Days. “But Nic is a fifth year senior going on his fourth year in our system. He knows it inside and out, and he really got a ton of reps with our ones last year. It was about a four or five week stretch that Pat didn’t practice during the week when he hurt his shoulder, and Nic got all those reps; he got some meaningful time in the games last year, and he played really well.”

Kingsbury mentioned that that Shimonek “had a tremendous Spring,” and that he’s a hard worker. This is reassuring because “work ethic” is something that’s been stressed more than any other point since the strength and conditioning department was overhauled at the beginning of 2016.

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If Shimonek or his supporting cast of receivers, running backs, and offensive linemen weren’t performing in practices to the high level expected of a Texas Tech offense, we would most certainly be hearing of position battles at this point. Likewise, if the defense wasn’t making adjustments to defend Tech’s high powered offense, we most certainly would have seen that in Spring Ball.

There’s been chatter that the defensive line has vastly improved, and if it can show that this season, we could be looking at the beginning of a very successful future for Texas Tech Football. Players like returning linebacker Dakota Allen know this year is it, in terms of solidifying a reputation worthy of NFL interest, and if accountability on defensive leadership roles reflects the offensive urgency of years past, Tech will have success this season.

Kingsbury said he doesn’t feel any more pressure this season, than any season prior, and with the stable of returners, why would he? If the defense is able to force turnovers as David Gibbs has been stressing, and prevent even a handful of touchdowns per game, the sky is the limit.

The Big 12 is a league of inches, and with dozens of conference games being decided by a touchdown or less every season, conditioning will effect how the pendulum swings. It’s just up to the players now, to decide how they’ll choose to show up and face adversity.