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'Ride Together' holds special meaning for Tech football team

Slogan helps represent sense of camaraderie missing last season

Posted: August 24, 2013 - 5:21pm  |  Updated: August 25, 2013 - 2:57am
Texas Tech's Jace Amaro(22) celebrates a touchdown with DeAndre Washington during a spring practice in Midland Saturday, April 6, 2013.  Stephen Spillman / AJ Media
Stephen Spillman / AJ Media
Texas Tech's Jace Amaro(22) celebrates a touchdown with DeAndre Washington during a spring practice in Midland Saturday, April 6, 2013.
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Words can hold more power than they get credit for. No matter the length or number, words have the ability to affect just about anything.

For Texas Tech, two words converge and describe what the university is all about – ride together.

While that phrase carries weight for students, faculty, alumni and fans alike, it didn’t hold much meaning for Red Raider football until now.

“I feel like we’ve, as a team, we’ve never really rode together,” junior tight end Jace Amaro said. “There have always been outputs, people having battles with each other, kind of an offensive, defensive team. I feel like now we’re actually together now and we’re playing for each other. We’re not playing to see who’s better, offense or defense, against each other. I finally feel like we have the chemistry to put all of this together for a great season, a greater season than anyone’s expected.”

For sophomore running back DeAndre Washington, he attributes a part of this change to what Tech saw both on and off the field from Kansas State, defending Big 12 champions going into this season.

“You play for the man next to you,” Washington said. “Don’t do nothing that will hurt the team. You know you always got that man next to you back. Another team that does a good job with that is Kansas State. We just kind of took heed to that and just stay with one another.”

Texas Tech football could be looking to emulate K-State’s run last season; the Wildcats were picked sixth in the preseason in the Big 12 before going 8-1 in league play and winning the Big 12.

The Red Raiders know that while the excitement is through the roof for this season, they also need to back up the hype with some production on the field.

“We know what we have in our locker room and we put a lot of work and time into it from the coaching staff and everybody else and we’re just all in it together as a whole,” junior wide receiver Bradley Marquez said. “We have a great relationship in there. It’s truly a family atmosphere in there. Everybody knows everybody from top to bottom. It’s just a great atmosphere to be around.”

Trust in the program has been shaky, from coaching changes to a lack of chemistry in the locker room.

“It’s the little things that make a team great,” senior running back Sadale Foster said. “If we can get closer to where we can trust the man next to us and know that if I mess up, he’s going to have my back. That’s going to make us a better team.”

Former head coach Tommy Tuberville left Texas Tech for Cincinnati on Dec. 8, merely 20 days before facing Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston.

That sudden departure sparked this idea of a brotherhood for the Red Raiders, an idea that the team needed to come together instead of being the white-jerseyed offensive guys and the black-jerseyed defensive guys.

“When that whole thing went down with the former coaches and whatnot, all the players were like ‘What’s going on,’” sophomore offensive lineman Jared Kaster said. “We have no one but ourselves. We aren’t playing for the guy on the back of our jersey. We’re playing for what’s on our front. We all just kind of stood together. I’m going to ride for you, I’m going to die for you. It means a lot not just for me but for everybody. It’s a symbol of who we are and what we want to accomplish as a team.”

Four days later, on Dec. 12, Texas Tech hired former standout quarterback Kliff Kingsbury to take over the helm of the football program.

After the division Tuberville left in his departure, it was important to get someone that not only the team but the city of Lubbock and the entire Texas Tech fan base could rally around.

“We’re all in this together,” Kingsbury said. “I let these guys know that we’re in the trenches; we’re not coaching from a soapbox. We’re part of this school and this is our school, too.”

Six out of the 11 coaches that make up Kingsbury’s inaugural staff at Tech are former players at Texas Tech.

With men that have been in their shoes before, not just on the gridiron but in the classroom and around the town, it has been easy for the team to trust these new coaches that want to take this program to the next level and beyond.

“Right now, everything’s great,” safeties coach and special teams coordinator Trey Haverty said. “It’s the honeymoon; everyone’s excited but there’s going to be some tough times. Week one against SMU it could be here, week two, week three, but ride together. Just stick together more than anything because when tough times come, are you going to be the guy that sits here and says ‘You should have done this, you should have done this’ or are you going to stick together because it takes time?”

Sticking together through thick and thin is what those two words embody.

It is more than wins and losses; it’s the ability to have someone to lean on when the going gets tough and to have someone to celebrate with when the going gets really good.

Riding together means you’re not in this alone, and that’s an important realization for a team entering the 2013 season with a point to prove.

“We’ve got a plan to build something special, a dynasty,” Haverty said. “You’re not going to do it overnight and we know that.”

krista.pirtle@lubbockonline.com

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Texas Tech football

What: Texas Tech vs. SMU

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas

Line: Tech by 51/2

Radio: KTTU 104.3 FM

TV: ESPN

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5
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It is what has been missing

When Spike came in and we were the door mat. He changed it. When Leach came in it was mostly true, but the defense was struggling and the offense was soaring. When Tubs came in, it was all about him. Attitude wise we may be taking it to the next level. At least the sentiment is there and it gives kids something to believe in. That we have not had for the last 3 years!

That is the problem with prima dona coaches!

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I'm Just Happy, Happy, Happy

The Back Room Boys set our program back (I hope only five years) when their arrogance didn't just fire our coach, said collective ego's cheated the coach and his family out of pay for work completed. Their actions sullied the name of Texas Tech worldwide.

But The Boys they had no choice. They had to hire THE PROTEGEE to rescue the Great Red Raider Nation.

Had THE ALIEN completed his contract, the program and the town would have been a bomb crater by the time he left. DIVINE INTERVENTION delivered ET to Cincy, and now we have arrived at the end of the tunnel.

Folks, if we can win while our QB gets well and then if we can WIN A HOME GAME (Something we formerly took for granted until the actions of the aforementioned Back Room Boys) against TCU, we will be on our way to the Promised Land.

Go Tech.

2
0

yep

Go Raiders!!!!!

2
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Can't you let it go?

Facts just let it go. I agree you should be "happy, happy, happy!", but you continued rambling about the past is getting a little nauseating. I have agreed with you from time to time, but you are starting to sound like a broken record. Let it go already! If you want to talk about stats from the past or last year even, but the back room drama stuff is too much. That being said, I think it will be a great year. My heart wants to say 10-2 season, but we do have some freshmen viaing for the start at QB. I think they have talent, but you never know how they will truely perform until they get out on the field on Gameday! I'm glad they have a sense of unity and they took a bad situation and made it a positive, I just hope it translates on to the field! My head says the we may end up 8-4 by season's end, but there is so much offensive talent on the field that I can't help but be optimistic! Here's to a great season! Go Tech!!

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