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Red Raider football notebook for Dec. 18

Making a switch

Posted: December 17, 2013 - 9:09pm  |  Updated: December 18, 2013 - 1:13am
Injured Arizona State running back Marion Grice, right on crutches, smiles with teammates, including Frederick Gammage (89), Darwin Rogers, second from left, and Jaelen Strong, third from left, as they look at the scoreboard during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz.  Arizona State defeated Arizona 58-21. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin
Ross D. Franklin
Injured Arizona State running back Marion Grice, right on crutches, smiles with teammates, including Frederick Gammage (89), Darwin Rogers, second from left, and Jaelen Strong, third from left, as they look at the scoreboard during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State defeated Arizona 58-21. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Making a switch

Texas Tech recently moved two members of its 2013 signing class from offense to defense, with Gary Moore going from wide receiver to defensive end and Tyler Middleton going from running back to cornerback.

Moore was 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds when he reported in the summer. Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt hopes in a year or two Moore can look something like starting defensive end Branden Jackson, who is 6-4 and 248.

In fact, he already does somewhat.

“We had him stand up against Branden Jackson a while back — three or four weeks ago — and put out their wing spans and height and just kind of compared bodies,” Wallerstedt said. “He’s longer than Branden Jackson, a little bit taller than Branden Jackson, has a frame like Branden Jackson, so we’re excited.”

What he doesn’t have is Jackson’s weight. But Wallerstedt said Moore has put on about 20 pounds to get to 230.

“He’s a guy that’s got to attack the weight room and keep eating properly,” Wallerstedt said. “He’s hungry. He wants to do well, and he’s obviously a talent.”

Tech coaches will look at him at defensive end and possibly the bandit outside linebacker position where Pete Robertson is the starter.

Middleton, the former 2,000-yard rusher at Midland and all-conference running back at Navarro College, might be the fastest player on the team. Tech coaches thought about using his speed right away, at running back, wide receiver or on special teams, but managed to redshirt him.

Middleton’s an interesting projection on defense, because he can run with any receiver and, at 5-11 and 195 pounds, has shown some physical play.

“He provides a presence there at corner and has done a really nice job,” Wallerstedt said. “We weren’t sure how tough he was going to be, but he’s put his face on people. Thursdays, when we repped the young guys during the season for a scrimmage-type situation, he was putting his face on the ball carriers and doing some good things.

“And he can run. So he’ll be a guy that you may want to keep your eye on.”

ASU star questionable

Arizona State running back Marion Grice was a big concern for any team preparing to face the Sun Devils this season, but there’s a chance Texas Tech could catch a break.

Grice missed the team’s regular-season finale against Arizona and the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford with a lower-leg injury. On Sunday, the Arizona Republic reported Grice is in a protective boot, walking with a limp and hasn’t practiced in three weeks.

The newspaper said ASU coach Todd Graham expects Grice to play in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 30 against Tech, but Grice said he wants to be fully healthy beforehand.

“I got to be 100 percent, for sure,” Grice told the Republic.

His injury happened Nov. 23 against UCLA.

Grice carried 191 times for 1,028 yards and 14 touchdowns and caught 50 passes for 438 yards and six TDs.

Grice is a Texan who went to Aldine Nimitz and Blinn College in Brenham. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said last week the University of Houston staff of which he was a part actively recruited Grice coming out of Blinn.

Compiled by Don Williams

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