Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said during Big 12 media days late last month that heralded recruit Michael Starts would start fall camp at defensive end.
After two days of camp, the staff changed its tune and moved Starts, a freshman out of Waco La Vega, to defensive tackle.
“We moved him inside,” Tuberville said. “He’s so big. He’s got a lot of punch. With Anthony Smith, ‘Crash,’ over on the sideline (after suffering a sprained ankle in a scooter accident) not doing anything, we had to move (Starts) inside. That’s where he’ll be.
“Heck, he’s 300-and-something pounds. He’s not quick enough off the corner at that size to make a difference. But we need more help inside, and I think he’ll give us some help inside.”
Defensive line coach Fred Tate said he has been impressed by Starts’ strength through the first three days of camp, while also acknowledging the young player still has plenty to learn.
“Mike’s a big powerful guy,” Tate said. “He played defensive end in high school, but his body and his weight won’t allow him to do that. We need fast, edge rushers on the outside. He’s a powerful inside guy. He’s real raw. We’ve got to keep working on his fundamentals, and we’ll see where he goes.”
Tuberville has indicated that he’d prefer to redshirt Starts this season, but depending on the depth at tackle entering the season, he may be pushed into action.
“Eighteen-year-old freshmen ought to be standing on the sidelines drinking water during a game, wondering where their helmets are at,” Tuberville said. “But we’re going to have to call him to battle. I like his spunk. He jumped in and went after some of the offensive linemen today. He went by brute strength, not a lot of technique, and that’s what we’ve got to work on.”