Texas Tech running backs coach Mike Jinks and his wife, Meredith, had their third child on May 21, a son they named Tristan.
The newborn, along with the Jinkses’ 8-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, has made the Tech coach introspective.
“I started late,” said Jinks, who is 42. “Most guys my age have kids playing in high school, making their way to college. I’ve got little ones at home and, really, it’s given me, over the last couple of years, a different perspective.
“My patience has been ... It’s helped me become a better coach. The last few years, I felt like you see beyond the game a little bit.”
It was already a busier-than-usual summer. An NCAA rule change that allowed college coaches to give instruction to players two hours a week cut his time off from nearly a month down to 10 days, Jinks said. The Jinkses did get down to San Antonio to let family see the newborn.
Jinks said he thinks becoming a dad has helped him relate better with his players.
“This is a relationship-based business,” he said. “If you can establish relationships, if you can get these kids to believe in you, you can get more accomplished. So it’s helped.”
The baby business has been booming on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff.
Tech safeties coach Trey Haverty, co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith and former co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie, since moved to TCU, are all recent first-time fathers.
Pro teams don’t invest much of their payroll to fill certain positions — think kickers and punters in the NFL, low-leverage relief pitchers in the major leagues. The same goes for college football teams, who seldom sign players at certain positions to scholarship agreements straight out of high school.
Texas Tech figures it can find big blocking backs by sorting through non-marquee players on the roster.
David Schaefer, a walk-on who lettered from 2005-07, had been a tight end-defensive end at a Class 2A power. Omar Ontiveros came to Tech as a walk-on defensive end, then moved to fullback and lettered from 2011-13. This year’s No. 1 fullback, Rodney Hall, was a walk-on transfer from Tyler Junior College. Ryan Hale was an exception, a signee out of high school who moved from linebacker to blocking back midway through his career and lettered from 2006-09.
Now the Red Raiders are converting Tyler Scalzi to be a big blocking back.
“Rodney’s going to be a senior, so we’ve got to start developing someone,” running backs coach Mike Jinks said Tuesday.
Scalzi is a 6-foot-4, 236-pound sophomore from Flower Mound who walked on in 2012. An undersized defensive lineman, he made three tackles in five games last year. He moved from defensive tackle to fullback after spring practice.
He’s switched from jersey No. 50 to No. 35.
Few tickets left
As of late afternoon Tuesday, Texas Tech had about 100 tickets left on sale for the Red Raiders’ Nov. 1 home game against Texas.
The tickets are in section 13 at the north end of Jones AT&T Stadium.
Tech spokesman Blayne Beal said Texas returned 500 tickets of its allotment and did not need 1,300 tickets Tech had reserved for the Showband of the Southwest, because it’s bringing only a pep band. Nearly all those 1,800 tickets have already been sold, Beal said.
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