Richards making adjustment to D-line life on the inside

 

With Texas Tech’s change in defensive coordinator and switch to a 3-4 front, Jackson Richards moved from defensive end to defensive tackle back in the spring. Then the adjustment took him even farther inside.

The second week of training camp, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound junior went to noseguard.

“It’s been fun, actually,” Richards said. “They told me one day in practice, ‘We’re going to try you at nose.’ I don’t know if I was nervous, but I’d never done that since pee-wee football. But I got in there and it’s kind of fun.”

Richards has been productive in limited time so far. In last week’s 61-13 victory against Stephen F. Austin, he recovered a fumble the first play he was in the game, and it set up a touchdown. On the second play he was in, he got penetration and batted a pass.

Kerry Hyder started at noseguard against SFA, and Richards and Dennell Wesley backed him up.

“It’s good to have Kerry and Dennell,” Richards said. “They have a lot of experience, to tell me when I’m doing something stupid or wrong in practice, and so I learned from them. We’ve got a great coach in (defensive line) coach (John) Scott, so it really wasn’t too big of a transition.”

Branden Jackson and Dartwan Bush have gotten most of the snaps at end, with senior Chris Knighton and freshman Zach Barnes also seeing some time there. The Red Raiders have manned the tackle spot mainly with Bush, Hyder and newcomer Demetrious Alston.

Richards put on about 10 pounds during the offseason to get ready to move inside from end. Now he’s trying to play with high effort and adopt a noseguard’s mentality.

“Whenever you’re playing end, there’s never a play when you’re going against one guy and two guys come in to bang on you,” Richards said, “so that was a little bit, ‘All right, this is different.’ But you get used to it pretty quick.”

 

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