WR Nehemiah Glover (PHOTO CREDIT - L. Scott Mann/Texas Tech Athletics)

2003 Statistics

Coach: Mike Leach
31-21, 4 years
2003 Record: 8-5
at North Carolina State LOST 21-49
at Mississippi WON 49-45
at Oklahoma State LOST 49-51
at Missouri LOST 31-62
at Baylor WON 62-14
at Texas LOST 40-43
Navy WON 38-14

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

We have pointed this fact out in many unit breakdowns, so we cannot overstate how all facets, both offensive and defensive, will change without Symons. Head coach Mike Leach is also the team's QB coach and offensive coordinator, making effortless the accelerated learning of the system in real-game scenarios for new starting hurler Cumbie. Ball-control and risk management will be all the rage in Lubbock. Expect the offense to balance itself with at least 40% running plays. Better defenses kept play in front of them to win against TT, but the running dimension's expanded role this time would pull defenders in to allow the multi-receiver sets to do their damages.

Leach had a drop off within the defensive efforts of '03 - a freshman interior and quick-strike offense made for extra work every week. This side of the ball will return Tech to a balanced team approach as coaches see the learning curve make past pains into future achievements. What the secondary couldn't stop will be manageable with the experienced LBs, as long as the line can hold its own. More time on the bench (due to an effective running game and experienced depth) will make it all happen this way, as the defensive big men trickle what needs the rest will have to finish.

Too many expectations led to disappointments in '03, forcing an over-matched team to excessively lean on their signal caller and not individually excel. This formula will now differ, with circumstances forcing all to step into their potentials. Often, when the recognized star departs, the supplemental parts kick in - to this ends, Red Raider necessities will be the mother of better football being invented. SMU and Baylor are the only easy tests for '04. Every other game is a possible loss, unless Tech does something about it. Now, with realistic expectations (little to none), the Red Raiders can grow at the rate they need for genuine, incremental advancements and overall better play. Hmm…which major Big XII program will fail to see Tech coming together and lose to these talented upstarts?

Projected 2004 record: 5-6
LB Brock Stratton (PHOTO CREDIT - L. Scott Mann/Texas Tech Athletics)
QB - 3 DL - 3
RB - 3.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 3 DB - 2
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Sonny Cumbie, 56-35-1, 340 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Taurean Henderson, 134 att., 736 yds., 10 TD

Receiving: Nehemiah Glover, 77 rec., 1081 yds., 9 TD

Scoring: Taurean Henderson, 16 TD, 96 pts.

Punting: Alex Reyes, 28 punts, 43.0 avg.

Kicking: Keith Toogood, 8-13 FG, 66-70 PAT, 47 long

Tackles: Brock Stratton, 95 tot., 61 solo, 5 TFL

Sacks: Adell Duckett, 14 sacks

Interceptions: Vincent Meeks, 4 for 87 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Johnnie Mack, 22 ret., 24.8 avg.

Punt Returns: Nehemiah Glover, 1 ret., 0 yds.


OFFENSE: Toby Cecil-C, Casey Keck-OT, B.J. Symons-QB, Wes Welker-H, Mickey Peters-Y, Carlos Francis-Z
DEFENSE: Gathan McGinnis-DE, Ryan Aycock-SS, Byron Johnson-FS, Marcus Boyd-CB

The B.J. Symons era is now officially over, in case you live under a rock. What is most significant will be the fact that Texas Tech will not be the number one offense in the land any more. But the ability(ies) of senior statue Sonny Cumbie will finally be on display, and his arm strength should help any Red Raider fans still weaning off of Symons. Cumbie is a former baseball pitcher with a classic form and the leadership qualities needed to be the field general his team now craves. The offense is just as safe when Cody Hodges is under center. The junior will surely see some real-game reps, as he is the 2005 starter, most likely. With either, not much really changes from '03, except for the 460 guaranteed yards B.J. provided. While neither will come close to such numbers, look for offensive efficiency to suffer only marginally.

Running Back
Taurean Henderson will pickup where he left off, averaging almost six per carry and leading the rushing attack with durability and speed. Henderson, a junior, is a quick, small lightning bolt to a hole as he emerges from Tech's one-back sets. Henderson only had 124 rushes in '03, a far cry from the 386 he had his senior season of prep, so he can become a workhorse if the passing game struggles early. Little Johnnie Mack (5'7") runs a 4.35-40 to justify his 7.3 per carry rate, so either of these cats is going to scat as needed. Little exists for depth as of now, but spring will produce a few candidates to be part of this mix - a larger, short yardage type has to be found for such occasions. This unit, in the three-, four-, and five-receiver schemes Tech employs, will be an asset upon which the new QB(s) will increasingly rely.

Wide Receiver
The receiving slots are going to be well manned, even though Tech's top two from '03 are gone. Nehemiah Glover is the senior leader of this crew. The returning starter's deceptive route running and compact frame make tracking and tackling him difficult, at best. Joey Hawkins is going to be a huge target at 6'9" as an inside receiver, and, along with junior Cody Fuller, will make Red Raider fans forget the departees. Senior H-back Clay McGuire, from Crane, Texas, is an all-around athlete (walked on and played DE first) who can block in front of other backfield mates or split the defensive seems for mid- to deep-level receptions. He is a fullback-tight end hybrid Tech uses in this multi-purpose capacity for whatever a play demands from a big man with hands (and especially brains). There is more sizeable depth here, so count this as another unit within which TT will not lull. The RBs are oft-used snarlers, and expect even more of this as Cumbie will use shorter outlets than the fearless Symons.

Offensive Line
This unit, besides the ground dimensions, is the most likely to show consistency from 2003's performance. Four of the five starters (as well as senior center Dylan Gandy) are obviously grown in Texas with their girth and imposing statures. This unit gave up an acceptable amount of sacks (26) as they cleared 4.5 yards per carry for the fleeted footsters. For such Lone Star carcasses, these guys can move and groove wherever needed against the hugely talented DLs of the Big XII. Smart money says this line is responsible for Cumbie's rise to fame by mid-season.

This is one of a handful of programs that will be curiously followed as an all-time great QB departs to leave what most will think is a lacking team otherwise (especially after ranking 104th in rushing offense). Only the WRs take a personnel hit, and they return enough depth and experience to qualify as a strong unit, too. With the rocket arm of new signal-caller Cumbie, few will miss Symons by November. But Tech is sure to be less endowed in the point scoring department, the key for how Symons could change an opponent's entire (both offensive and defensive) game plan. Yet there are benefits to having B.J. gone now, too - there will have to be, huh, if they are to win again. Ball control tactics can be employed for clock management, as well as a play-calling balance not present in '03 (more than twice as many passes as run tries). Anyone is replaceable, and this offense has to believe such and establish an identity for itself so the psychological shadow Symon's departure casts won't darken their 2004 efforts. Bet on their efficiency and consistency to eventually flow, but how long this takes will go a long way toward defining the Red Raider's fate.


RB Taurean Henderson (PHOTO CREDIT - Norvelle Kennedy / Texas Tech Athletics)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Sonny Cumbie-Sr (6-4, 220) Robert Johnson-Jr (6-1, 204)
Cody Hodges-So (6-1, 210)
RB Taurean Henderson-Jr (5-9, 205) Johnnie Mack-Sr (5-7, 180)
WR Trey Haverty-Jr (6-0, 205) Joey Hawkins-Sr (6-9, 240)
WR Jarrett Hicks-So (6-4, 208) Brandon Douglas-So (6-0, 189)
WR Cody Fuller-Jr (6-0, 189) Joel Filani-Fr (6-3, 215)
H Nehemiah Glover-Sr (5-8, 180) Thomas Bachman-So (5-10, 185)
B Clay McGuire-Sr (6-2, 230) Osazee Eguae-So (5-11, 208)
OT Daniel Loper-Sr (6-7, 329) Glenn January-So (6-7, 292)
OG Cody Campbell-Sr (6-4, 305) Daniel Christian-Jr (6-5, 305)
C Dylan Gandy-Sr (6-4, 294) Brandon Jones-So (6-4, 290)
OG Manuel Ramirez-So (6-4, 325) Bryan Kegans-Jr (6-5, 291)
OT E.J. Whitley-Jr (6-6, 305) Ben Griffin-Fr (6-4, 290)
K Keith Toogood-So (6-2, 190) Alex Trilica-Fr (5-11, 175)



Defensive Line
The 2004 DL will be a measurably better unit from their 97th-ranked run-defense showing. With three of four here returning starters, it's either that or a predictable disaster. One reason why this dimension will improve is because the trial-by-fire results of having two freshmen start in the middle will pay dividends this campaign. Hudler and Scott (not the law firm of the same name) will put their heads together for an inside presence reflecting much stronger results than the efforts that only held foes to 4.7 per rush. Third-team NC.net all-American Adell Duckett, a senior, will take his 14 sacks from '03 to the bank in the NFL next year, but is a Red Raider once more. His tendencies of over-pursuit can leave the end open with no one home, but that is what coaches tell him to do, and his presence in so many opponents' backfields assures he will have similar instructions again. Other ends, as well as the interior posts, have depth and experience that drops off a bit from the starters, but will allow this area to challenge conference foes ways they previously couldn't.

All starters return to make the entire front-seven a true asset they never were last year. Strongsider Mike Smith is a strongside run-support specialist who will make his senior campaign into a leadership training course for his other alliterated amigos. Brock Stratton will continue his underclass advancement, returning as the second leading tackler. Ironically, he runs the middle from side-to-side, covering the entire field and popping up across the gridiron right where the ball is, even when his assignment is otherwise. Junior John Saldi is a lanky, rangy block-slipper who can both run-stop and pass-cover equally well. For all of the talent here, the results were marginal as this crew could just never get the upper hand (save the Baylor, SMU, and Navy tilts). This unit's command is another barometer for the Texas Tech's campaign results.

Defensive Back
Here is another area full of returning starters that has to take painful lessons learned to heart for improvements, or assure nothing will be changed from those horrible 2003 results. Jabari Smith is now a senior. His corner play was inconsistent at best, often making recruiting guru Max Emfinger wonder how this (juco-transfer) speedster got his four-star rating. On the other side, Chad Johnson can point to his freshman status as to why he was marginal. The two combined for a mere six passes broken up and two INTs - both by Johnson - to make us wonder about what 2004 will bring on the outside. Junior safety Vincent Meeks is a real ball-hawk who is strong in run-support. He is a lone proven asset, even though we feel this unit can find its potential any time. With so many starters back in other areas on this side of the ball, expect this unit to rank in the top half of the nation's pass defenses.

The performance of only five returning starters is what produced Tech's 106th-ranked total defense and 101st-ranked scoring defense in '03 (two freshmen and a sophomore on the line didn't help matters). But with six of the front-seven, as well as three of the back-four, returning, battle scars will translate into stripes earned, and team chemistry will overcome the problems of 2003's dismal showing. The weakest area that remains is the secondary, which can be either a marginal asset or a true liability. Bet on the former if the front-seven is better, but expect the ladder when the run-stoppers (sporadically) fail. The LBs will be strong, but if the line and/or the secondary again struggle(s), the corps will be stretched too thin to rule anyone/thing. It all starts up front, and Tech is looking good to this ends.


DE Adell Duckett (PHOTO CREDIT - Norvelle Kennedy / Texas Tech Athletics)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Seth Nitschmann-So (6-4, 258) Brett Bischofberger-Jr (6-3, 270)
NT Chris Hudler-So (6-3, 290) Fred Thrweatt-Jr (6-3, 315)
DT Ken Scott-So (6-2, 307) Patrice Majondo-Mwamba-Sr (6-4, 292)
DE Adell Duckett-Sr (6-4, 265) Keyunta Dawson-So (6-2, 252)
WLB Mike Smith-Sr (6-3, 245) Fletcher Session-So (6-0, 225)
MLB Brock Stratton-So (5-11, 233) Geremy Woods-Sr (6-1, 247)
SLB John Saldi-Jr (6-5, 230) Paul Williams-So (6-2, 220)
CB Antonio Huffman-So (6-0, 182) Jamaal Jackson-Sr (5-10, 190)
CB Chris Parker-Fr (5-11, 178) Jabari Smith-Sr (6-0, 181)
SS Chad Johnson-So (5-11, 197) Josh Rangel-Sr (6-2, 215)
FS Vincent Meeks-Jr (6-0, 195) Raymond Pierce-Sr (6-2, 218)
P Alex Reyes-So (6-1, 220) Wich Brenner-Sr (5-11, 220)




As a freshman, Keith Toogood unfortunately didn't live up to his namesake. With brilliant hindsight now, his single misses in the Texas and Oklahoma State games effectively cost Tech victories in both. The Red Raiders fans won't be surprised if/when senior walk-on Ryan Bishop bypasses Toogood once more problems arise here. Ryan's straight-ahead style will be just what the special team's coach ordered once he solves distance problems. Look for (at least) two more games to be decided by one of the TT legs available.

Another rapidly maturing Red Raider is sophomore punter Alex Reyes. Reyes will surely have twice as many punts, and each will be his usual booming variety. Tech ranked in the top third of the country for net results, and with so much talent and depth on defense, this should again be true.

Return Game
Wes Welker will be missed on punt returns. It's open competition so far this spring, but Johnnie Mack is their sure KO return man. Mack could easily find himself with both jobs.