ARLINGTON, Texas - Texas Tech football coach Joey McGuire is no stranger to making bold statements. Last season, after his team's overtime victory against Texas, McGuire confidently told his players that "Everything runs through Lubbock." The remark resonated not only within the locker room but also drew attention from fans and media alike.

During his press conference at the Big 12 Media Days, McGuire was asked about his "Everything runs through Lubbock" comment. Rather than backtracking, McGuire stood by his statement, emphasizing the power of belief within the team. He stated, "Maybe that was for the locker room, but I still believe it. That's such a powerful word, and when you have that in the locker room, you can do some incredible things. I think our players do believe that."

The Texas Tech Red Raiders are coming off an impressive 8-5 season, which included victories over Texas and Oklahoma in the same season for the first time in program history. The team's success culminated in a convincing 42-25 win against Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl.

With 17 starters returning from the bowl game and strong recruiting classes, expectations are high for the Red Raiders in McGuire's second year as head coach. While the Big 12 media predicted Texas Tech to finish fourth in the conference behind Texas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma, there are those who believe the Red Raiders could be dark horses to win the conference. McGuire understands that preseason predictions don't always hold true, pointing to TCU's unexpected run to the Big 12 Championship game last year after being picked to finish seventh.

McGuire acknowledged that the conference is wide open and highlighted the importance of staying healthy, managing expectations, and maintaining humility. The Red Raiders face a challenging schedule with tough road games and formidable opponents visiting Lubbock. However, McGuire expressed enthusiasm about hosting teams that competed in the Big 12 Championship, viewing it as a significant advantage for Texas Tech.

One reason for optimism is the experience at the quarterback position, with senior Tyler Shough and Behren Morton leading the way. Shough, who battled collarbone injuries in the past, demonstrated his ability to lead the team to victory in the latter part of the 2022 season. McGuire highlighted Shough's dedication and preparation, emphasizing his status as an exemplary leader for the team. With both quarterbacks having won Big 12 games, McGuire believes Texas Tech has one of the best quarterback rooms not only in the conference but in the country.

Another area of improvement for the Red Raiders is the secondary. McGuire and his coaching staff made key additions through the transfer portal, bringing in cornerback Bralyn Lux from Fresno State and safety AJ McCarty from Baylor. The team's depth and experience in the secondary have been bolstered by these acquisitions, as well as the presence of CJ Baskerville, a transfer safety from San Diego State who started last year.

McGuire sees the addition of experienced players and the development of young talents as crucial factors in the team's success. The depth provided by the transfer portal allows Texas Tech to bridge the gap between experienced players and young talents who are not yet ready for significant roles.

As the 2023 season approaches, the Texas Tech Red Raiders are poised to build upon their recent successes. With a confident and driven coach at the helm, the team aims to fulfill McGuire's belief that everything runs through Lubbock and make a strong statement in the competitive Big 12 conference.