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August 20, 2011Texas Tech's defense is much improved up front, that's a given. Quarterback Seth Doege will be the Red Raiders' starter, hands down. Eric Stephens will be the lead back while Aaron Crawford and Ronnie Daniels will see the field behind him. Wide receiver Darrin Moore has seemingly established himself as the No. 1 receiver and defensive end Leon Mackey is the real deal on a vastly improved defensive line.
But there's still so much to figure out between now and the Red Raiders' season-opener against Texas State.
These are arguably the most important storylines to watch as the Tech football program heads into its third week of fall camp:
DEPTH AN ISSUE AT OFFENSIVE LINE
There's no way to sugarcoat it, the injury to starting center Justin Keown is a massive blow that has put a spotlight on the offensive line's lack of depth.
The Red Raiders entered fall camp with seven offensive linemen that were game ready -- the team's five returning starters, Terry McDaniel and Beau Carpenter. Now, with Keown sidelined for up to six weeks, McDaniel is running with the ones and Carpenter is Tech's top reserve.
So how does the storyline play out?
Will Tech get lucky and not sustain another injury on the front line? They're just one injury away from facing a serious problem up front.
DEPTH BEHIND DOEGE
During Saturday's scrimmage, Michael Brewer made a strong case for Tech's No. 3 quarterback position.
There's an extremely high probability that Brewer will be redshirted to save his eligibility while sitting behind Doege and Jacob Karam this season, but a case could be made that Scotty Young had the least impressive quarterback performance on Saturday.
Young will need a big two weeks to reestablish himself heading into the season.
WHEN WILL NCAA CLEAR SIMMONS?
The NCAA still has not declared defensive tackle Delvon Simmons eligible for the 2011 season. It's not as bad as it could be because the Red Raiders have some decent depth at the position, but it's always good to have more options and Simmons has a lot of upside.
The situation has become frustrating to Tech fans, and probably the coaching staff, because they can't definitively know what kind of roll Simmons can play on the 2011 squad.
As it stands now, Simmons is being repped like he will be in the two-deep this upcoming season.
WHO WILL STEP UP AT X?
Junior college transfer Marcus Kennard was supposed to be an instant impact player when he signed with the Red Raiders last December. He's looked okay, but the former four-star prospect hasn't been able to separate himself from the rest of the pack at X-receiver.
Tramain Swindall and Jacoby Franks look to be battling each other for the starting spot at this point. Eric Ward is recovering from a concussion.
CAN AMARO JUMP TO THE TOP?
Tight end Jace Amaro looked awfully good at times during Saturday's scrimmage.
Head coach Tommy Tuberville said earlier this week that Adam James currently leads the depth chart at tight end, but Amaro is still being watched.
Regardless, there are a lot of good things happening on the inside of Tech's inside passing game and tight end Tony Trahan hasn't even practiced yet due to an injury.