One of Texas Tech’s most discussed offseason personnel moves looks like it might be off the table going into the season opener.
Offensive tackle Dominique Robertson isn’t on the first team, line coach Lee Hays said after Wednesday’s practice, and Le’Raven Clark is back at left tackle where he was first-team All-Big 12 a year ago.
“Athletically, he’s everything we wanted,” Hays said of Robertson. “Conditioning-wise, with the tempo and everything, he’s still trying to catch up. The good news is, we have plenty of time, because Le’Raven can just jump out there.”
Robertson played the last two years at Riverside (Calif.) City College.
The Red Raiders planned to give Robertson a lot of preseason practice time at left tackle, hoping in a best-case scenario he might free up Clark to move to right guard and strengthen the inside run game.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on Tuesday hinted it might not work out that way. He was non-committal when asked whether Robertson had done enough to hold the left-tackle spot, saying the staff was still trying to settle on the best five and how to arrange them.
At the moment, Hays said he’s going with Clark at left tackle, Alfredo Morales at left guard, Jared Kaster at center, Baylen Brown at right guard and Reshod Fortenberry at right tackle — a lineup virtually identical to last year’s.
Robertson is being used in a fashion similar to Clark, practicing at both left tackle and right guard, though senior James Polk is the second-team right guard, Hays said.
That Robertson isn’t a starter now doesn’t mean he can’t be in a few weeks as he assimilates more.
“We’ve kind of moved him around a little bit to see where he fits,” Hays said. “We’ve moved Le’Raven around a little bit to see where he fits.
“Domo’s deal is more so whichever one he’s best at, because Le’Raven’s all-conference at either one.”
Clark started every game at right guard two years ago and every game at left tackle last year.
The Red Raiders might need Clark back at left tackle for stability’s sake.
Aside from Robertson’s needing more time, Josh Outlaw suffered an ankle injury three days ago and could be out for a while. He was the No. 2 left tackle when August started.
Now Trey Keenan is getting practice time at left tackle, too.
Morales and Brown both started games at guard last season, so the Red Raiders can move Clark back outside and still have experience inside.
Brown started the last three games in 2013. He not only has resurfaced with the first team, but also would be the No. 2 center at this point, Hays said.
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