OL looks for leaders
It wasn’t long ago Beau Carpenter was one of the promising young prospects on the Texas Tech offensive line. All of a sudden, the Red Raiders need him to perform like a veteran.
The Tech offensive line is short on both experience and depth this spring, something for which there’s not a quick fix in 2013. In the career starts column, Le’Raven Clark has 13, Carpenter nine and Alfredo Morales four. That’s it for the entire group.
Tech has only two seniors up front, tackle Rashad Fortenberry and guard Kyle Clark, neither of whom has started a game.
“Knowing that I’m the oldest and one of the most experienced on the line, there is a leadership role there for sure,” Carpenter said this week. “It’s a role I’m having to get accustomed to, because I’m not a big vocal guy, but I’m trying to work my way into it.”
Each of the last two years, Tech has lost three multi-year starters: Lonnie Edwards, Justin Keown and Mickey Okafor after the 2011 season and LaAdrian Waddle, Deveric Gallington and Terry McDaniel after the 2012 season.
The Red Raiders have 10 scholarship offensive linemen on campus this spring and they’re working with a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury and a new line coach in Lee Hays.
“It’s a little bit of learning new technique,” Carpenter said, “because every coach kind of has his own philosophy on footwork and things like that. But it’s not too big of a change.
“As far as the head coach goes, it’s a lot of the same system, just a little bit different terminology. So there’s a little bit of a learning curve, but it’s not too bad.”
Tech had its third of 15 spring workouts on Monday.
The offensive line depth chart at the beginning of spring looks like this:
Left tackle: Le’Raven Clark, So.; Matt Wilson, So.
Left guard: Beau Carpenter, Jr.; Wayne Foster, So.
Center: Jared Kaster, So.; Tony Morales, So.
Right guard: James Polk, Jr.; Kyle Clark, Sr.
Right tackle: Rashad Fortenberry, Sr.; Trey Keenan, Fr.
Alfredo Morales, who started four games last season at left guard, will factor into the depth chart at some point. He is coming off shoulder surgery and not cleared for contact yet.
‘Snacks’ back in fray
Former Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville started calling Anthony Smith “Crash” after the freshman defensive tackle injured an ankle last August in a scooter accident. Teammates have another nickname for Smith: Big Snacks.
“It’s a team nickname,” defensive tackle Kerry Hyder said. “Everybody calls him ‘Snacks.’”
Smith’s chances of playing last season as a true freshman went down the tubes with the accident. The Spring Westfield graduate spent several weeks either on crutches or in a protective boot, costing him conditioning work and time with the defense.
Smith, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 312 pounds, has an opportunity to work his way into the rotation this spring playing behind nose tackle Dennell Wesley.
“He’s doing good right now,” Hyder said. “He’s just trying to learn the defense. We’ve got some older guys in front of him, so we’re just trying to take the lead and let the young guys follow.”
New coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t allow freshmen and redshirt freshmen to do media interviews, so it will be a while before Smith is heard from.
Compiled by Don Williams