The Texas Tech defensive line will see a change in terms of numbers with a three-man front compared to the four-man front used in the past but the goal will remain the same and that is to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The leader of the defensive line is senior Colby Whitlock and will be relied on heavily to bring along a group of talented newcomers. Whitlock was seventh on the team last season with 45 tackles and three sacks. The Oklahoma native was named to the Freshman All-American team and Sophomore All-American team his first two years on campus.
"As a defensive unit and as a staff we expect him to anchor that front force and be a leader there," coach Sam McElroy said about Whitlock.
Newcomers will be relied upon heavily to make up for a defense that set the record for sacks in a single-season in 2009 with 41. The defensive line will also look to replace starters Brandon Sharpe and Daniel Howard who accumulated 23 total sacks. Sharpe set the single-season sack record when he brought the quarterback down 15 times.
The Defensive Line
40 Aundrey Barr, DE, 6-2, 230, Fr-RS, Carrollton, Texas/Newman Smith
The defensive line other than Whitlock has returning letterwinners in Myles Wade, David Neill and Chris Perry. Neill has been a consistent special team's contributor in his first two years at Tech while Wade will be looked upon as a key player on the line.
The Red Raiders will rely on numerous combinations to help supply pressure and plug the run. Tech has four transfers that will battle for playing time this fall. Donald Langley and Scott Smith come into the program with expectations to meet. Smith was the KJCCC Defensive Player of the Year and with his 6'-6" frame, should be a force at the line.
Lawrence Rumph, whose sister played for the Lady Raider basketball team, had 35 tackles last season as a defensive tackle for Navarro Junior College. Former Red Raider Bobbie Agoucha is back as well after transferring from Eastern Arizona. He recorded 3.5 sacks last season and led his team to a No. 2 ranking in the junior college ranks.
A group of freshmen should keep fans checking their roster throughout the season. The group includes Aundrey Barr, Jackson Richards, Kerry Hyder and Pearlie Graves.
Barr and Hyder should receive a big portion of playing time as the season gets underway. Richards earned the praise of coach Prunty with his work effort. Graves is getting back into the swing of things after being nicked up throughout the fall.