Texas Tech football: What we need to see over the final two games

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LUBBOCK, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 12: Offensive Coordinator David Yost arrives at the stadium before the college football game against the Houston Baptist Huskies on September 12, 2020 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

The Texas Tech football team has only two games left on the 2020 schedule so let’s look at what we need to see to feel better as we head into the offseason.

The shortest Texas Tech football season in any of our lifetimes is rapidly approaching its conclusion.  With only two games remaining and no guarantee of postseason play, the final bow on the 2020 Red Raiders could be tied in less than three weeks.

So far, most would rate this season a major disappointment.  A 3-5 overall record and a 2-5 mark in Big 12 play is far from what anyone wanted to see in the second year of the Matt Wells era.

But what makes the final two games of this season worth paying attention to is the fact that they present this team with an opportunity to show tangible progress.  Of course, to do that will be difficult.

If Tech can win out, just about everyone will feel differently about this year than we do now.  That’s because it would mean that the Red Raiders would have scored a huge upset over no. 14 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, a victory that would be the most impressive of Wells’ career as a head coach.

Of course, ESPN.com’s matchup predictor gives the Red Raiders only a 15.8% chance at actually managing to escape Boone Pickens Stadium with a “W”.  But in the ever uncertain world of college football, stranger occurrences have taken place.

Thus, a 2-0 end to the season with wins over the Cowboys and the Jayhawks is at least somewhat plausible, even if it is not very likely.  But regardless of how the final two games of the year play out (assuming that Tech doesn’t lose to lowly Kansas in Lubbock in the season finale of course), there are developments that could occur that might make us feel better about the direction of this program.  So let’s take a look at what we need to see over the next two games in order to feel better about 2020 as a whole.

Offensive creativity

Most people assume that offensive coordinator David Yost will be replaced after this year.  But don’t be so certain about that.  He’s been with Wells since 2017 and though Red Raider fans haven’t seen his offense operate at its best, Wells has.

In fact, in 2018, Yost was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.  In other words, there’s reason to believe that Wells has more faith in Yost than the average fan does.  So don’t simply assume that there will be a new OC in 2021.

What then, could we see from Yost that might make us feel better about the possibility of his return (outside of 50 points per game of course)?  How about some offensive creativity?

Specifically, it would be fantastic to see the Red Raiders show a little bit of variation in their offensive sets.  That might be an indication that Yost is willing to adapt to his personnel.

Throughout his time as Tech’s coordinator, Yost has had a religious devotion to 11 personnel, which means there is one running back and one tight end on the field at all times.  The problem is that there might be better options for the Red Raiders given that both Myles Price and KeSean Carter (each of whom plays inside receiver) are two of the roster’s most electric athletes and most explosive weapons.

Thus far in 2020, we’ve seen enough to know that Tech’s current tight ends, specifically Travis Koontz and John Holcomb, are just not the type of weapons that are going to threaten defenses.  So why not mix it up and take them off the field to put another playmaker in the formation.

The good news is that Yost did just that on Tech’s final drive of the game on Saturday when the Red Raiders needed points in the final two minutes to overtake Baylor.  He should continue to do more of that moving forward in order to get more weapons into the mix.

Also, it would be fantastic to see this offense utilize some pre-snap motion and misdirection instead of simply lining up and playing it straight with 11-personnel pieces that don’t move around the formation.

This is a bye week and a perfect time to cook up some new wrinkles in the offense.  And if Yost can show over the next two weeks that he’s got more up his sleeve than what he’s shown over the last two years, it might make reasonable fans feel somewhat more at peace over the thought of his return next fall, which is entirely possible.

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