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Big 12 notebook: Raiders proceed with plan for Robertson, Clark

Posted: July 21, 2014 - 9:43pm  |  Updated: July 22, 2014 - 12:18am
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Texas Tech line backer Sam Eguavoen waits to speak to reporters during the NCAA college Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas, Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)  LM Otero
LM Otero
Texas Tech line backer Sam Eguavoen waits to speak to reporters during the NCAA college Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas, Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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DALLAS — Texas Tech’s much talked about idea of putting newcomer Dominique Robertson at left tackle and Le’Raven Clark at a guard spot is moving forward — at least for August.

“It’s pretty set in stone,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday at Big 12 media days. “Unless something happens before camp, that’s how it’ll start out. Dom’s looked good. There’ll be a learning curve with him learning the offense, but he’s looked good. He’s got the size, and I know Le’Raven feels very comfortable moving inside.”

Clark was a freshman all-American two years ago playing right guard and first-team All-Big 12 last year playing left tackle.

Line coach Lee Hays has said he loved the idea of having a player of Clark’s size (6-foot-6, 313 pounds) and skills on the inside to boost the run game. Kingsbury said he’s not sure whether Clark would play left guard or right guard.

“Either one,” he said.

Robertson (6-5, 300) is a February signee from Riverside City College in California. The fact Robertson has played left tackle exclusively is part of the reason for moving Clark. Coaches believe he’ll have a better chance to help in a hurry if he can stay at that spot.

“I’ve heard good things,” Kingsbury said. “Physically he looks great. He got into the (offseason) workouts and did a good job and was in shape. And then he’s picking up the system. We expect him to slide right in there and be a starter for us.”

WR, CB gone from team

Wide receiver Peyton Williams and cornerback Jeremy Reynolds are no longer on the Texas Tech football team, Tech spokesman Blayne Beal said Monday.

Reynolds was a sophomore last season, Williams a redshirt freshmen.

Neither departure is particularly surprising. Reynolds did not participate in spring practice, one coach saying at the time he needed to buy into the program and take care of his business off the field.

Williams has had problems with major knee injuries dating to high school, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said after spring practice Williams was considering giving up football as a result.

Reynolds played in three games in 2012 before he suffered a season-ending knee injury, then got into four games last year.

Williams did not get into a game for the Red Raiders after transferring to Tech from Colorado.

Earlier Monday, Beal said wide receiver Dominique Wheeler was no longer on the team, but he later said Wheeler was back on the squad. The sophomore from Crockett is not on the roster in Tech’s new media guide, which was released at Big 12 football media days.

“He needed to focus on academics for a bit, and he did that for the first summer session,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “And then we’ll get back this second one and see where he’s at.”

Tech loses signee

Texas Tech signee Connor Wilson won’t play college football because of an unspecified medical issue, Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday.

“He’s been basically medical redshirted,” Kingsbury said. “That’s how that ended up going. He’ll still be attending Texas Tech, but he won’t be playing for us.”

That means Tech will honor Wilson’s scholarship agreement, but he won’t count against the FBS limit of 85 scholarship players.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Wilson was an honorable mention all-state safety last season for one of the top Class 3A programs in the state at Argyle. As a junior, he was credited with 126 tackles, eight interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

Tech coaches projected him as an outside linebacker, and co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said on national signing day Wilson reminded him physically of Red Raiders outside linebacker Terrance Bullitt.

Throwback jerseys planned

Texas Tech will wear throwback jerseys for a Sept. 13 home game against Arkansas that Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury described as “Zach Thomas era,” meaning a look from the mid-1990s.

“It’ll be a good look,” Kingsbury said. “They’ve got kind of a new spin on them, but it’s a traditional throwback look.”

Tech wore both scarlet tops and black tops when Thomas played from 1992-95. Kingsbury said the throwbacks will be black.

During Kingsbury’s three full seasons as a Tech starting quarterback (2000-02) and his first year as head coach (2013), the Red Raiders wore primarily black jerseys at home and never red.

Asked if black tops are his preference, Kingsbury said, “No, no. Just the way it felt in year one. Going forward, we’ll see if we can mix some red in there at some point.”

Arms on the way

Not that Kliff Kingsbury ever lacked confidence to coach quarterbacks, but he’s probably only more so after what Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield did last year. As true freshmen, the two passed for 5,033 yards and 32 touchdowns between them, one being offensive freshman of the year in the Big 12 and the other offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl.

With Webb and newcomer Patrick Mahomes being the only scholarship quarterbacks on the team this year, Kingsbury has expressed confidence that he can develop more depth with walk-ons the way he did with Mayfield.

He’ll be working with three such players when the Red Raiders start workouts in early August: Hunter Rittiman from San Antonio Johnson, Payne Sullins from Waco Reicher and Vincent Testaverde from Tampa (Florida) Jesuit.

“All three of them are really good high school players,” Kingsbury said. “We recruited them very similarly to how we approached Baker Mayfield. We thought there were some guys that kind of got overlooked, and we wouldn’t have them here if we didn’t think they could play at that level.”

Rittiman passed for 2,898 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, leading Johnson to a 12-3 record and the Class 5A Division II state semifinals. He played for his father, Ron Rittiman, who was a college quarterback at Texas State. Testaverde is a son of former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde.

Kingsbury discussed the walk-ons while talking about the outlook for Mahomes this year.

“Pat will play,” Kingsbury said. “We’re not going to redshirt him, and we’ll have a couple of those walk-ons ready to go as well.”

First impressions

Asked what freshmen signees had caught their eye in summer workouts, Tech linebacker Sam Eguavoen touted cornerback Tevin Madison and senior wide receiver Bradley Marquez talked up running back Justin Stockton.

“He’s someone that has a lot of speed and can help us immediately at running back,” Marquez said. “He’s one of the fastest guys on the team since he stepped on, and he shows it.”

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Stockton, a two-time 2,000-yard rusher at Cibolo Steele, also was a Class 5A state-meet sprinter.

Madison (5-10, 160) is a less heralded signee, but has shown some tenacity.

“He’s been doing really good in 7-on-7,” Eguavoen said. “He’s breaking on the ball, slapping balls out of veteran receivers’ hands.”

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