Texas Tech will be top 5 in the nation in passing yards
Though football nerds are quick to point out that Kittley’s offense isn’t really all that close to the “Air Raid” scheme that Mike Leach made famous at Texas Tech in the 2000s, most people still associate Texas Tech with the “Air Raid”. This year, Tech will again live and die by putting the football in the air, and with Kittley having a much better bag of toys to play with, the Red Raiders will finish in the top five nationally in passing yards per game as the legend of the “Air Raid” will live on in West Texas.
Some might not consider a top-five national finish in this category to be a “bold” prediction for Texas Tech. After all, we made throwing the ball the preferred method of offense across the country. However, that would be a big step forward for the program.
Last year, Tech led the Big 12 in passing yards per game with 302 yards per game. However, that was good for only 12th nationally. Meanwhile, Washington led the country at 369.8.
The last time the program ended the season in the top five in the NCAA through the air was 2018, the final year of the Kliff Kingsbury era. That season saw Tech’s QBs throw for 352.6 yards per game, good for third overall.
This year, Kittley is going to again put the ball in the air early and often, just like his mentor, Kingsbury. And who could blame him for that?
Tech will have the best stable of wide receivers that it has had in a decade or more. Jerand Bradley is a preseason All-Big 12 honoree, Loic Fouonji and Myles Price are healthy again after dealing with nagging injuries in 2022, Mason Tharp and Baylor Cupp give Kittley two massive and athletic targets at tight end, and Jordan Brown and Drae McRay will bring some explosiveness to the mix that was missing last year.
Meanwhile, the Teh ground game will be without SaRodorick Thompson who carried the ball 139 times last fall. While Tahj Brooks is back to be the lead horse, it is tough to envision guys like Cam’Ron Valdez or Bryson Donnell getting the type of workload that Thompson received in 2022.
However, if the Red Raider defense is as good as most believe it will be, could that lessen the need for Kittley to air it out? If Tech doesn’t find itself in a handful of classic Big 12 shootouts, the game plan might be adjusted thus lessening the burden the passing game is asked to shoulder.
Still, with Shough and Behren Morton back for a second year under Kittley and with Tech having a plethora of weapons, don’t be shocked to see big numbers through the air. In fact, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see the Red Raiders lead the nation this year.