Texas Tech football: What went right for the Red Raiders in 2023

UCF v Texas Tech
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Texas Tech found an offensive identity

One of the problems that plagued this team in September when the Red Raiders got off to a woeful 1-3 start was the fact that the offense seemed to lack an identity. When games were on the line and critical situations arose, it felt as if Tech was searching for answers as to where to turn to pick up critical yards.

However, as we enter 2024, there is no doubt how this team's bread is buttered...it's Tahj Brooks. That's a great development because we will start next fall with no question as to who will drive this offense and who the coaching staff will build each game plan around.

Tech is going to be a run-first team next year from the opening kickoff of week one. Fortuantely, there will be no need to rely on the QB run game as was the case early in 2023 when this coaching staff only gave Brooks 18 total carries in the first two games. There will be few questions as to who will carry the water when the house is on fire. It will be Tahj Brooks who keeps this offense headed in the right direction and who offensive coordinator Zach Kittley leans on.

Speaking of Kittley, he also deserves to be mentioned in this piece about what went right in 2023. That's because the young pass-happy coordinator displayed a willingness to change his offensive philosophy mid-stream and start to center his entire attack on the ground game, something he's never done before as a coordinator.

It did seem like he was reluctant to do so initially, especially when Tyler Shough was still healthy. In fact, most fans appeared to recognize that Brooks was this offense's best player long before Kittley either recognized or admitted that to be true and that's why so many people were frustrated with Kittley early in the season.

However, he did show maturity as a coordinator by turning away from his preferred way of calling a game and giving the ball to Brooks 25-30 times per game after Shough went down. Now, in a way, his hand was forced due to the injuries to Shough and Behren Morton but still, he did make the adjustment when it was needed. That will only help to make him a more well-rounded playcaller moving forward.

Every team needs an identity on offense. You have to know who you are going to turn to when it hits the fan. In 2023, Tech discovered that Brooks is a game-changing player and now, this team has an offensive identity. Even better is the fact that said identity is one built around physicality, something this program has lacked on that side of the ball for ages.