Texas Tech football: What we learned in week one win over Montana State

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 12: Texas Tech cheerleaders perform at Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 12: Texas Tech cheerleaders perform at Jones AT /
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(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /

The secondary and offensive lines are Tech’s deepest position groups

You could have made the case last fall that the secondary and the offensive line were the Red Raiders’ two most under-performing groups.  But Saturday, we learned that those two groups are the deepest and best on the team in 2019.

The secondary has been fortified by the additions of two grad transfers, Zech McPhearson and Ja’Marcus Ingram.  McPhearson’s arrival allowed the Red Raiders to move All-Big 12 corner, Adrian Frye to safety along with Douglas Coleman, who was also a starter at corner last season, and many believe that Ingram may eventually start at safety allowing Frye to move back to his natural position.

What’s more, Tech has welcomed sophomore Adam Beck into the fold.  The Richmond, Texas native sat out last year after transferring in from Minnesota.

That trio of newcomers combined for eight tackles and each was credited with a pass defense despite the fact that the Bobcats attempted only 24 passes in the game.  In just one offseason, the Red Raiders have completely retooled a secondary that was torched for over 280 yards per game through the air in 2018 as Tech ranked second-to-last in the nation against the pass.

In all, nine members of the secondary had at least one tackle in week one.  Coleman led the way with 8 (second-most on the team) and Beck had five.  Without question, there will be greater tests ahead for this group in 2019 but the depth that DC Keith Patterson has at the back of his defense was evident Saturday.

Meanwhile, the depth of the offensive line was put to the test in the season’s first game when left tackle Terence Steele saw his streak of 37-consecutive starts come to an end because of an upper-body injury.  With the senior out of action, Travis Bruffy slid from right to left tackle (where he started last season) and sophomore Casey Verhulst made his first career start opposite him.

Additionally, sophomore Dawson Deaton made his first-ever start at center, replacing multi-year starter Paul Stawarz.  His play in the middle of the line will be a key this year and he passed his first test with ease.

This line paved the way for 255 rushing yards, the most Tech has had in a season-opener since 2000 and gave up only one sack. Attrition along the offensive line is a given every year and Tech has already had to play a game without its starting left tackle.  But this year’s roster may have the type of quality depth needed to finally overcome those inevitable setbacks.