Eager to go
The pads are on and the intensity is rising.
“We’re just ready for the season,” Texas Tech wide receiver Shawn Corker said Monday. “(August 30) can’t be any closer.”
Corker’s anticipation of this season is understandable. Though highly touted out of high school as a wide receiver, the junior wideout has only two career receptions.
Corker redshirted in 2010, saw limited action on both offense and defense in 2011 and suffered a broken foot that derailed him in 2012.
Now for the 2013 season, Corker knows what he needs to do to get into the rotation: stay healthy.
“That’s been my biggest problem since I’ve been here,” Corker said. “Staying healthy and just keeping up with my techniques and the fundamentals like route running and everything.”
Corker is currently slotted behind junior Bradley Marquez and redshirt freshman Reginald Davis at flanker.
Ever if he hasn’t played much, Corker keeps his head high.
“Discouraging? I would say not really,” Corker said. “You’ve just got to keep that confidence. You know what you can do. With my athleticism, I feel like I can play anywhere on the field, just the injuries kept me off. Now that I’m healthy, I’ve got to keep it that way and work to keep it that way every day.”
Under the Tommy Tuberville staff, Corker spent time at receiver, safety and cornerback. However, Corker said being bounced around was more a benefit than a detriment.
“Playing defense I got to see what receivers like to do,” Corker said. “I also learned more about the offensive position that I couldn’t see at the wide receiver spot. At wide receiver, after playing defense, you know the coverages and you know how to see it. Everything just comes second nature. It helped me a lot.”
Needed at noseguard
Donte Phillips is on the spot this season, playing a position with no proven depth. The team has Dennell Wesley, a senior with rotation experience, at noseguard. But the backup job is up for grabs between Phillips, a 6-foot-2, 283-pound sophomore, and Anthony Smith, the 5-10, 325-pound redshirt freshman teammates call “Snacks.”
Phillips made his first appearance last year, playing in five games and getting in on six tackles. Now he’s starting his third year in the program.
“I feel a lot more prepared,” he said. “Every year, you kind of learn a little bit more. The more time you get, you learn more and more. The experience really helps.”
Phillips says he’s learned to use his hands better and developed in the mental side of the game.
“We’ve got a good group of guys,” Phillips said. “Me, Dennell Wesley and Anthony Smith, Snacks (Smith’s nickname). We’re young, but we’re going to come out every day, work hard and continue to get better.”
Compiled by Krista Pirtle and Don Williams