Texas Tech offensive lineman Tony Morales, who has missed each of the last four seasons because of pre-season injuries, is attempting another comeback. The senior from Arlington Houston is working at center and guard this spring as he returns from an August knee injury.
He’s taking part in most everything except 11-on-11 scrimmages.
Coming off a season in which he ran for 1,100 yards, senior DeAndre Washington is the focal point of Texas Tech’s rushing offense.
Barring injury, that’s not going to change.
But spring is interesting inasmuch as how backups use the time — and how roles are mapped out for the younger players. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday that junior Quinton White is getting some practice time at fullback.
And Kingsbury and Washington both talked up redshirt freshman Demarcus Felton.
Cameron Batson is a man wearing many hats this spring. The Tech sophomore is the first-string punt-return specialist and backing up senior Jakeem Grant at “H” inside receiver.
Beyond that, he’s being used as the extra option in five-receiver formations and as the holder on placement kicks — both jobs held last year by seniors.
“He’s real smooth,” special teams coach Darrin Chiaverini said. “He was a quarterback in high school. Kickers have really liked the way he’s done it (held on placement kicks).”
Receiver Bradley Marquez was the holder last season.
Texas Tech special teams coordinator Darrin Chiaverini would rather two guys handle the team’s punter and placekicker jobs.
But if Taylor Symmank can persuade Chiaverini otherwise, more power to him.
Chiaverini said Monday that Symmank has looked good in his bid to replace kicker Ryan Bustin, a 2014 senior, while continuing as the Red Raiders’ punter.
“I’ve been impressed with the way the ball pops off his foot as a placekicker,” Chiaverini said. “I always knew he had a big leg as a punter and a kickoff guy, but I’ve been impressed. He’ll have an opportunity.”
Texas Tech co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith says he expects seniors Branden Jackson and Pete Robertson to be the best pair of defensive ends in the Big 12 next season. Behind them, sophomore Gary Moore has shown up the best through three spring practices.
“Gary Moore’s probably been the most productive kid out there right now so far,” Smith said. “He’s just got to gain weight. He’s 7 feet tall and 200 pounds.”
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said before spring that quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be at every spring football practice. A cold snap in Lubbock fouled that up.
Kingsbury said Wednesday that Mahomes will go with the Tech baseball team for this weekend’s series at Cal State Fullerton, causing him to miss the next football workout scheduled for Saturday — one that wasn’t on the original schedule.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said before the start of spring football practice that Davis Webb would be allowed to take part to the extent he felt comfortable, the expectation being that would be quite a bit.
So far, so good.
Kingsbury said Wednesday the junior quarterback had participated in all three of the Red Raiders’ spring football practices so far.
Texas Tech special teams coach Darrin Chiaverini said the competition to succeed kicker Ryan Bustin, who made a school-record 50 field goals, will be a four-man affair. The candidates are redshirt freshman Clayton Hatfield, senior Taylor Symmank, Air Force Academy Prep School transfer Michael Barden and a preferred walk-on to be named.
“It’s not going to be given to anybody,” Chiaverini said. “It’s going to be an open competition and that’s what it should be, because no one has earned the right to be that guy just yet.”
Former Dallas South Oak Cliff coach Emmett Jones started work this week in his new role as Texas Tech’s director of player personnel. It’s the second time Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has added aTexashigh school coach to his staff, the first being running backs coach Mike Jinks, who came from Cibolo Steele as a charter member in 2013.
“It’s definitely a trend that’s growing,” Jinks said. “It’s a huge get for us.”
Texas Tech’s mostly highly rated offensive line signee, Mesquite Horn’s Conner Dyer, was offered scholarships by the likes by national championOhioStateandOregon.
His first order of business might be putting on good weight. Though listed at 6-foot-4 and 276 pounds, Dyer has been weighing less than 270 lately, according to outside linebackers coach Trey Haverty, who recruited him.