Come mid-August, Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown knows he’ll have decisions to make about the right side of the Red Raiders’ offensive line.
Brown knows Terry McDaniel will play somewhere, though it could be right guard, where McDaniel spent all spring, or right tackle, where he started the last nine games of the 2011 season. Tech coaches love the potential of Le’Raven Clark, but they have to make sure the redshirt freshman is ready to be their right tackle against Big 12 Conference pass rushers.
What if he’s not?
“We could move Terry back out there (to right tackle) and Le’Raven could switch inside,” Brown said, “because it’s easier to play inside. He could move inside and we could cover him up a little bit.”
Tech completed spring practice March 27. The Red Raiders went through February and March with a healthy offensive line that had senior LaAdrian Waddle at left tackle, sophomore Beau Carpenter at left guard, senior Deveric Gallington at center and McDaniel and Clark on the right side.
“At right guard, I think it’s still up in the air,” Brown said. “Terry will be in the mix someplace. I don’t know if he’s going to be a for-sure guard. Le’Raven Clark and Waddle are what we want (at tackle). That’s the kind of body types we’re looking for.
“We wanted to give (Clark) every rep possible this spring and we did, and he needs every rep in fall camp, and he’s going to be in the mix. I don’t know if he’ll be ready from the get-go. A lot will tell over the next six months.”
McDaniel’s ability to play multiple positions gives the Red Raiders some flexibility. The 6-foot-6, 323-pound senior started four games at left tackle in 2009, then three games at center and nine games at right tackle last year. He’s also been a backup at guard before.
The rest of the line seems more settled.
Brown said Waddle, coming off a second-team all-Big 12 Conference season, did what he should be doing during the 15 workouts in February and March.
“Waddle’s had a great spring,” he said. “He’s played the way he should play. This is the best he’s looked since I’ve been here. He’s in shape. He’s lost 15 pounds. He’s been the leader. I feel good about him.”
Brown said he also likes what he saw from Carpenter and Alfredo Morales at left guard and from Deveric Gallington at center. Gallington is converting from guard, where he started 24 games the last two years.
“I feel a lot better about Deveric at center,” Brown said. “He needs some reps still, but his snaps are more consistent.”
Good health will be important for the unit next season. Tech doesn’t have any veteran backups in the offensive line.
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