In 2019, Texas Tech was ranked 127th in total defense, allowing 480.3 total yards per game. In addition, Texas Tech finished 91st in third-down conversion percentage defense, something defensive coordinator, Keith Patterson, continues to emphasize. There’s no doubt the defense needs improvements in 2020 for Texas Tech to start winning more games. While defense looks deep heading into 2020, there are a few key losses to keep an eye on. Even with depth, Expecting a 127th ranked defense to improve to even average is a tall order.
Top defensive lineman Broderick Washington is gone but expect Eli Howard to step up. Last year, Howard totaled 21 total tackles, including six for a loss, and 1 recovered football. He was also named Second Team All-Big 12 as a defensive lineman. This year, the 6-2, 310-pound lineman will likely focus on a leadership role, leading a defensive line made up mostly of underclassmen. Howard will likely bring the rush from the edge while Jaylon Hutchings and Nick McCann will take over the trenches. This line could be the strength in Texas Tech’s defense in 2020.
After the 2019 season, stud LB Jordyn Brooks graduated from Texas Tech and was drafted by Seattle in the first round. This will undoubtedly be a big hole to fill. Between last years stand out Riko Jeffers (76 tackles last year), and fellow transfer linebackers Brandon Bouyer-Randle and Krishon Merriweather, Texas Tech will be able to mitigate any major set backs. Especially with new LBs coach Kevin Cosgrove, who comes from LSU where he was the lead defensive analyst. With some new faces and leadership, hopefully this unit will improve but the loss of Brooks will likely hinder that.
Texas Tech loses two starters in the secondary including stand out Douglas Coleman, who accounted for 63 tackles last season. Expect to see DBs Damarcus Fields and Zech McPhearson step up in in tackles. Also keep an eye on freshman All-America DB Adrian Frye, who’s moving from safety back to cornerback. This should help make up for a drop in INTs after losing Coleman, who accounted for 14 picks last year. This unit was rough last year and the loss of Coleman doesn’t necessarily inspire hope. This unit has probably the longest way to on Texas Tech’s defense, but at least there are some adjustments being made for 2020.
Texas Tech 2020 Season Wrap-up
Texas Tech has a high ceiling and low floor in 2020. This team could have a top 10 offense in the nation and a defense strong enough to hold their own, which would probably propel them to a 2020 bowl game win. The problem is, this scenario is propped up by a QB with a history of injuries, and a defense that is still finding themselves and – despite the number of returners – has to deal with a lot of moving pieces. It’s more realistic that Texas Tech maintains their offensive prowess, makes incremental improvements on defense, and end up in the middle of the pack in the Big 12. However, bowl game victories aren’t too far off with Matt Wells.