April 10, 2006

Gap widening?

The Red Raiders began their final week of spring football Monday afternoon as they took the intramural fields for their first workout since Saturday's scrimmage. After the back and forth battle on Saturday, all in attendance were anxious to see which side of the ball would rise up today. RedRaiderSports.com was in attendance this afternoon and brings you this practice notebook.

Staying loose

Two years ago, the recruitment of Robert Johnson out of Reedley (CA) Junior College created quite a buzz. Rated as the number one junior college quarterback in the nation, the Atlanta (GA) native was being talked about as possibly the next Michael Vick.

A very dangerous dual threat quarterback, the addition of Johnson, many speculated, would bring a new look to the Texas Tech offense. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for both Johnson and head coach Mike Leach to figure out that his particular skill-sets at quarterback just didn't fit the Air Raid.

After redshirting in 2004, Johnson spent 2005 as the starting Y-receiver and ended as Tech's second-most prolific wideout of the season, averaging 79.2 receiving yards a game. After an impressive season at wideout in which he won Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, talks of Johnson under-center faded away… until today.

This afternoon, the team was doing their normal team (simulated scrimmage) drills. Graham Harrell started things off with 10 snaps, followed by another 10 with Chris Todd. But instead of third-string quarterback Ryan Rowland coming out for the third set of reps, Johnson entered the huddle.

When the huddle broke, whispers began to rise from all around the field as Johnson became settled behind the center. Was this a whole new twist to the off-season quarterback battle?

"Nah man," said Johnson, "I just did it just to stay loose and have fun. I needed to stay loose out there. I get real stiff out there, I feel like I'm getting old. So the offense will have 10 plays and scout team does 10 plays out there in a row. I get stiff while the scout team is out there, so I just did it to stay loose, that's it."

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