The Texas Tech Red Raiders are a team with a reputation for airing the ball out more than most other teams. With Kliff Kingsbury back in Lubbock, that will most certainly be the case again in 2013. However, the biggest strength of this Raiders team may be in the backfield with Kenny Williams returning at running back. After coming close in 2012, can Williams finally break the 1,000-yard rushing mark for Texas Tech next season?
He proved he has the skill set to do it in 2012. Williams led the Tech running game, gaining 824 yards, averaging 5.76 yards per carry, and scoring five touchdowns on the ground. There was a good chance he could have hit 1,000 yards last season if he had gotten more opportunities to carry the ball. During his sophomore season, Williams got just 11 carries per game.
The big question is whether or not he can expect any more work with Kingsbury at the helm. The new Tech head coach is a Mike Leach desciple, bringing elements of the Air Raid offense with him to his new post. That offensive philosophy has contributed to Texas Tech failing to have a 1,000-yard rusher in over a decade. If Kingsbury isn’t motivated to give Williams touches, it’ll be nearly impossible for him to improve on his yardage total.
Williams’ hopes of breaking 1,000-yards hinge on how the Tech offense ends up playing itself out. If quarterback Michael Brewer proves up to the challenge of airing the ball out like the Air Raid offense calls for, the running game will likely fall into the background, used primarily to keep defenses honest.
The success of Williams’ likely isn’t in his own hands. He has the talent to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in 2013, but may not get the opportunity to showcase it. How will the running game play into the Tech gameplan next season?