The offensive line
Now that the quarterback race has been awarded to Tyler Shough, much of the offseason focus has turned to the group of players that will be protecting him this fall. While that picture is also starting to come into focus, no matter how it ultimately develops, there will be a reason to worry about this position on the field until it proves that it can handle the rigors of life in the Big 12.
According to Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the starters up front are going to be Dennis Wilburn at center, Weston Wright at left guard, Landon Peterson at right guard, Caleb Rogers at left tackle, and Monroe Mills at right tackle.
That’s a lineup that features a ton of unproven players in key roles. Wilburn is a walk-on who played last year at Hutchinson Community College and who’s never played a game at the Power 5 level of college football. But he has impressed during the offseason and his 320-pound frame is built to stand up to the talented defensive tackles that the Big 12 will throw his way.
Peterson has also never made a start at this level of the sport. He played only 51 snaps last season and has appeared in just ten games in three years with the program.
As for Mills, he’s another key player on the o-line who’s got no career starts to his name. In fact, in two years at Oklahoma State, he played only 24 snaps total.
Adding to the concerns about Tech’s o-line is the news that Williams shared about Western Kentucky transfer Cole Spencer. Once thought to be a walk-in starter at guard, the senior is yet to practice this offseason after knee surgery following the 2021 season and Joey McGuire said on Tuesday that Spencer could miss the entire season (McGuire said an official decision on Spencer will come by August 31st.)
That leaves Tech woefully thin along the line though the addition of New Mexico transfer Cade Briggs helps. The former starter at tackle for the Lobos, Briggs is working at both center and guard this offseason and he could step in if injury or poor play dictates.
Still, anytime a team enters a season with three starters who have never started one game at the Big 12 level, it is a definite concern. And given how daunting the early portion of the 2022 season will be, there’s going to be little time for this group to gel.