May 3, 2007

The Post-Spring Hot 11

With Texas Tech's spring workouts now in the record books, the stage is well set for determining exactly who will and who will not contribute heavily to the 2007 squad. The veterans have served notice as to whether they are improved or merely just treading water. The redshirt freshmen and early JUCO enrollees, the newcomers, have either indicated that they are ready for battle right now or that they will need some seasoning before being thrown in the trenches.

But, of course, spring workouts have only given the coaches a field of candidates. They have not determined which of those candidates will actually figure prominently in the season opener against SMU. Seven-on-seven workouts and summer drills will clinch those deals.

This being the case, we can use what we think we've learned from observing spring practice and by looking at the post-spring depth chart to give an estimate of which players are best poised to step up and ring the bell next season. Obvious stars such as Graham Harrell and Louis Vasquez do not figure in this calculus because their high status is already confirmed as was the case for a guy like Michael Crabtree as well.


1. Kobey Lewis[/db[: Seeing into the mind of another man is a difficult thing. And when that mind belongs to the consistently unconventional [db]Mike Leach, the difficulty is compounded immeasurably. That said, Leach at least appears to be giving Lewis an opportunity to be Tech's main horse in the ground attack next season by promoting him to first team and demoting Shannon Woods to backup status. If this is more than flim-flam, Lewis will need to build on his solid work in the spring in order to duplicate Woods' excellent 2006 season. The pressure is most definitely on.

2. Edward Britton: In my ever-so-humble opinion, Britton was Tech's second most impressive receiver during the spring, trailing only the electrifying Crabtree. Britton's sterling workouts have not, however, been enough to unseat L.A. Reed for the starting spot at X receiver. So far. It is pretty apparent, nonetheless, that Britton's speed injects a much-need element of explosiveness in the Air Raid. If Britton is able to improve his blocking skills, he will play a great deal, perhaps start, and allow Mike Leach's offense to attack all areas of the field, and thus live up to its awesome potential.

3. Julius Howard: This will probably be a controversial choice given that Howard is not even currently listed on the two-deep at WILL. Right now the starter is Chad Hill and the backup is Marlon Williams. Despite this fact, it was apparent to these eyes that Howard was emerging as a force by the end of spring workouts. The redshirt freshman was outplaying the speedy Williams, and Hill, meanwhile, was soaking in the whirlpool. If Howard can maintain the momentum he built at spring's end, it is hard to see how Lyle Setencich could justify keeping him off the field.

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