The next few weeks are important for Texas Tech’s Josh Outlaw. What he shows in preseason practice will determine whether he’s a genuine, game-time backup early this season or just No. 2 on the depth chart.
Outlaw, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound redshirt freshman, is Tech’s second-string left tackle behind newcomer Dominique Robertson. But should Robertson or right tackle Reshod Fortenberry get hurt in a game, it’s likely line coach Lee Hays would move right guard Le’Raven Clark outside and tap his surplus of guards.
That’s why August workouts matter so much for Outlaw. Show up well and he can work his way into more serious consideration to be in the rotation.
“The good thing is he can get all those two (second-team) reps, all camp,” Hays said.
The Red Raiders have four players with multiple career starts at guard: Clark (26 career starts, 13 at guard), Alfredo Morales (13), James Polk (seven, all last year) and Baylen Brown (three, last year).
Thus, the reason Clark is more likely to move to tackle if someone gets hurt.
“Le’Raven could go back out to tackle tonight if we needed him to,” Hays said.
Sophomore Trey Keenan and redshirt freshman Poet Thomas find themselves in a similar boat as Outlaw. The Red Raiders started preseason practice Monday with Keenan getting most of the backup snaps and Thomas a few, both behind Fortenberry at right tackle.
They’re trying to work their way into the rotation, too.