We’ve made it! It’s officially game week for the Texas Tech football team!
This weekend, the Joey McGuire era begins when the Red Raiders host Murray State of the FCS in what should be a bloodletting. After all, the Racers were just 6-5 last season and lost their only two games against FBS opponents by a combined score of 69-17.
Of course, all eyes will be on head coach Joey McGuire as he makes his Red Raider and collegiate head coaching debut. When he does, he’ll become the 17th man to lead the Red Raiders into battle.
Of that group, 10 (Grady Higginbotham, Dell Morgan, DeWitt Weaver, Jim Carlen, Steve Sloan, David McWilliams, Mike Leach, Tommy Tuberville, Kliff Kingsbury, and Matt Wells) have won their Red Raider debuts. In fact, it’s been since 1987 and Spike Dykes that a Tech head coach has lost his first game with the program.
What’s more, E.Y. Freeland, Morgan, Weaver, Carlen, Sloan, Rex Dockery, McWilliams, Dykes, Leach, Tuberville, and Kingsbury produced winning seasons in their first go-round with Tech. But with six opponents ranked in the 2022 Preseason Coaches Poll, it will be difficult for McGuire to join that club.
While this year is certain to be full of ups and downs as well as unpredictable moments, let’s take a stab at trying to predict what we will see in the upcoming months. Here are ten predictions for the 2022 Texas Tech football season.
No. 1: Tech will have a 1,000-yard receiver
There was a time when the Texas Tech football program churned out 1,000-yard pass catchers on an annual basis. For instance, from 2002-2018, the Red Raiders had a thousand-yard receiver in all but four seasons.
However, the last time this program had a receiver hit that milestone was 2018 when Antoine Wesley had his huge 1,410-yard, 9-TD breakout season. Since then, Tech has not had a player go for more than the 748 yards that Erik Ezukanma put up in 2020.
But that will change this year as Tech will have at least one receiver go for a thousand yards. There are a number of reasons to believe that will be the case.
First of all, new offensive coordinator Zach Kittley has a history of designing offenses that put up prodigious passing numbers. Last year, he had two receivers at Western Kentucky top the 1,402-yard mark.
Second, Tech is far better at the QB spot than it has been since the end of the Pat Mahomes era (2016). With Tyler Shough, Donovan Smith, and Behren Morton all on the roster, this year’s team should be more insulated from the quarterback injuries that have befallen Tech football in three of the past four seasons. No more will Tech have to turn to an incapable backup should the starter, Shough, go down for an extended period of time and that will help keep the offense on track.
On the other hand, though, no current Red Raider has even come anywhere close to a thousand-yard season in their careers. Still, one Red Raider seems poised for a huge season in 2022; Myles Price.
After putting up 523 yards and two TDs on 38 catches last year, the junior inside receiver is everyone’s pick to lead Tech in receiving this fall. That’s because, in each of the past three seasons, Kittley’s offense has been led in receiving by an inside receiver, which is what Price plays.
Last season, WKU inside receiver Jerreth Sterns had a whopping 1,902-yard season as he hauled in 150 passes. So don’t be shocked to see Price, Tech’s top inside target, go wild this year too. Though he likely won’t approach what Sterns did last year, he will certainly top the 1,000-yard mark and that will be a sight that Red Raider fans will welcome.