December 14, 2006

Offense: Disappointments and Pleasant Surprises

As a whole, the 2006 version of Mike Leach's offense was in line with past iterations. Passing numbers continued to rank among the nation's best (#3), and on the strength of those passing numbers, Tech's total offense yardage was also in the elite category (#6). Tech's 31.5 points per game put it at #16 nationally.

The lone anomaly in the offense's performance was the woeful performance in second halves in which the Red Raiders scored only 11 points per game in contrast to the 20 points per game notched in first halves. Indeed, the Red Raiders scored more points (152) in second quarters this season than in entire second halves (133).

Embedded in this generally impressive offensive performance are a significant number of pleasant surprises and disappointments from an individual standpoint. The baseline for these evaluations was previous performance while at Tech, and perhaps more interestingly, performance in spring and summer workouts. In many cases, the disparity between practice and game performance was striking.

Pleasant Surprises:

Shannon Woods - Perhaps the only person not surprised by Woods' season was Woods himself. Never one to lack for confidence, Woods frequently proclaimed his own talent and then clammed up entirely when his practice workouts belied those proclamations. And based upon Woods' work in practice many observers opined that he would be lucky to hang onto his starting job in the face of competition from frosh phenom, Baron Batch. Once the season began, however, Woods dispelled all doubts as to who Tech's best back is. He rushed for 817 yards, averaged 6.1 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns. Woods also caught 72 passes for 553 yards, and was a pass protecting fool.

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