Texas Tech Football: Red Raiders wrap up spring ball in style

Texas Tech's Kaden Carr (54) prepares to block during Spring Game, Saturday, April 22, 2023, at Lowrey Field at PlainsCapital Park.
Texas Tech's Kaden Carr (54) prepares to block during Spring Game, Saturday, April 22, 2023, at Lowrey Field at PlainsCapital Park. /

Spring football is all wrapped up for Joey McGuire and the Red Raiders. Texas Tech played their annual spring game Saturday afternoon, giving eager fans a preview of the 2023 squad. Due to ongoing construction at Jones AT&T Stadium, the game was played at Lowrey Field at PlainsCapital Park. For this year’s game, the team was divided into Team Fearless and Team Red Raiders. Team Fearless took the victory and steak dinner 26-15.

Just like last year’s game, the defense came to play early. On Tyler Shough’s first throw, C.J. Baskerville intercepted the ball on a tip. For a newcomer by way of the transfer portal, you could not ask for a better start. Baskerville spent the past two seasons at San Diego State before transferring to Tech.

For the game, the defense ended the day with three interceptions as Dadrion Taylor-Demerson and Ty Kana each picked off Behren Morton. For a unit that preaches takeaways and goes by the motto “Take 3”, defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter should feel pleased with his team’s performance to wrap up the spring. With Marquis “Muddy” Waters and Adrian Frye gone, new faces in the secondary need to step up next fall, and Saturday’s performance was a nice step in that direction.

The defensive line also got after all the quarterbacks. Myles Cole had two sacks and Syracuse transfer Steve Linton as well as L.B. Moore has one apiece. With 2022 star defensive end Tyree Wilson about to hear his name called in the first round of the NFL Draft, more will be expected of Linton and the young edge rushers this fall.

Fans should not be too concerned with the quarterbacks’ performance in this game, though. When defenses have 15 practices and have seen everything the offense runs, they know where the ball is going. Fortunately, the offense did produce plenty for fans to be excited about.

Behren Morton had the best day of all the signal-callers. He finished the game going 12 of 20 with 143 yards and a touchdown. Morton hit Loic Fouonji on a 57-yard pass down the left sideline. Shough only threw for 70 yards and true freshman Jake Strong finished with 69 in his debut as a Red Raider.


During what McGuire considered the red zone portion of the game in the fourth quarter, the running backs took over. Cam’Ron Valdez, Tahj Brooks, and Clazarion Campbell each scored a touchdown to help Team Fearless secure the win. Brooks led all running backs with 74 yards on 15 carries. Losing SaRodorick Thompson is a blow to a running game that produced over 2,000 yards last season, but Brooks appears to be up to the challenge. 2022 was the best season of his career and next year will be his first time as the feature back in this offense.

Overall the game turned out to be a defensive domination, but lately, that has been the trend for Texas Tech spring games. Like last year, the defense appears to be ahead of the offense at this point in the offseason. Still, the offense is returning plenty of starters, most notably having Shough back for another season and if he finally remains healthy for the whole season, Zach Kittley’s offense will be more explosive in 2023. Even if the injury bug bites Shough again, Morton showed plenty of confidence last year and looks eager once again to challenge for the starting job.

While a spring game result does not mean much of anything, the optimism is high for year two of “The Brand”. Fans should be very excited for the future of the McGuire era as this program looks to finally be truly competitive in the new Big 12. The Red Raiders kick off their 2023 season in Wyoming on September 2nd.