Offensive position group grades for 2020

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Nov 16, 2019; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders running back SaRodorick Thompson (28) follows the block of offensive center Dawson Deaton (73) in the first half during the game against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

When we take a look at the offensive position group grades for the 2020 Texas Tech football team, it becomes clear that this season’s attack was lacking in quite a few areas.

Texas Tech football has been known for its offense for the last 20 years.  It’s been the identity of the program and the pride of the fan base.

But in 2020, Tech had arguably the worst offense it has featured in the two decades since the Spike Dykes era.

For instance, Tech ranked just 39th in the nation in total offense by putting up 429.5 yards per game.  The only other year that compares in terms of futility has to be 2000 when Tech averaged just 362.6 yards per game, which was good for only 62nd nationally.

However, that year, Tech had a legitimate reason to be pedestrian on offense.  Learning the radical new “Air Raid” offense of first-year head coach Mike Leach and breaking in a first-time starting QB in Kliff Kingsbury, the Red Raiders were truly a work in progress that season.

That year, Tech put up just 25.3 points per game.  But this year’s team wasn’t much better in that regard as it managed only 29.1 and that was in year-two under now-former OC David Yost.

Three times this season, Tech failed to score at least 20 points.  That was 30% of the schedule, which made the scoring futility all the more unprecedented.

So let’s break down this year’s offensive showing by handing out grades to each offensive position group.  And we will begin by looking at the struggles of the big guys upfront.

Offensive Line: D-

When you look at the Texas Tech offensive line’s performance in 2020, you would have no choice but to deem it less than acceptable.  In fact, that position group was the worst unit on the field for the offense this year.

That was surprising given as many thought the line would be a positive given that it returned three starters along the interior.  However, the play of the tackles was so poor that it brought the entire offense to its knees at points.

What’s more, this position group seemed to get worse as the season progressed despite the fact that it remained remarkably healthy. Over the final five games of 2020, the line allowed 11 total sacks.  That included five against TCU.

While it might seem unfair to criticize a line that gave up just an average of 1.6 sacks per game, don’t forget that Tech often kept a tight end from running routes to help one of the tackles.  Also, the offense Tech ran called for the QBs to get rid of the ball within the first two seconds after the snap (in part to help protect the injury-prone Alan Bowman).

Moving into the offseason, one of Tech’s top priorities has to be upgrading the talent at this position and that’s going to be difficult given that the Red Raiders best lineman, Jack Anderson, is headed to the NFL.  But if there aren’t improvements made up front, Tech is going to struggle again in 2021.

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