Back and forth
Senior defensive lineman Kerry Hyder faced SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert back in his high school days. Hyder played at Austin LBJ, Gilbert at Lake Travis.
The two will be across the line of scrimmage from each other when Tech opens the season Aug. 30 at SMU.
“I did play Gilbert in my last game in high school,” Hyder said. “I played against him in the playoffs. He came out on top.”
When asked if that still sticks to him to this day, Hyder responded, “Nah, it’s cool. I got him back in basketball. We knocked them out of the playoffs.”
Gilbert was the quarterback for two of Lake Travis’ five consecutive state championships, and Hyder was a first-team all-state honoree when he led LBJ to a state semifinals in basketball.
Keeping his cool
Junior tight end Jace Amaro will sit out the first half of the SMU game due to his ejection from the Red Raiders’ bowl game in December.
“(I feel) bad,” Amaro said Thursday. “Just put it all on me. This offense runs a lot through me. I just don’t want to be out there not able to play.”
It doesn’t make him feel any better that he’ll be sitting out the two quarters while his team is going through a lot of transition.
“We have a new quarterback and a new coaching staff, basically a whole new team,” he said. “The past few years, we’ve always had a really rough start and I know it’s because it’s the first game. I feel like once I get back out there, I’m expecting to catch as many balls as I can, no matter what the score is.”
Amaro is listed at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, but he spent a lot of time over the summer with the strength and conditioning coaches, dropping from 14 percent body fat down to 6 percent.
While working on the physical aspect of the game, he also spent time improving his mentality.
“I think I always had the physical attributes out there,” Amaro said. “I just think my mental state of mind wasn’t the best it could have been. That’s one thing I really meditated on this summer and what I really fixed this summer. I was just kind of always a hothead back in high school.
“My first couple of years I didn’t really know how to control my emotions sometimes and I feel like that’s one thing I’ve worked on really well and it’s prepared me to use my emotions more as energy than expressions.”
Two thumbs up
Tight end Jace Amaro said he’s confident in how Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is preparing the team’s young quarterbacks and believes in leading candidates Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield.
“No matter who is the quarterback starting that game, it’s going to be the guy that worked the hardest and wanted it the most,” Amaro said. “Those guys are great. Baker kind of came out of nowhere. He really surprised a lot of us, even more than almost Davis Webb did.
“They’re both great competitors and they know how to win and that’s one thing that’s really a good factor for both of them.”
Compiled by Krista Pirtle