March 31, 2008

Swindall busy trying to earn a spot

The Texas Tech football team has a wealth of talent and experience virtually across the board. There are scant few positions where skilled veterans do not hold sway.

An exception to the rule is Y receiver where true sophomore Detron Lewis and redshirt freshman Tramain Swindall currently run neck-and-neck for the starting nod. Obviously, the experience is not there. Talent, however, should not be a problem.

Lewis is a silky-smooth route-runner with velvet hands. Swindall is a rather unknown commodity, and as of yet, it is difficult to characterize him. At six-foot-three he has good length, and he seems to play the game at a rapid pace. Beyond that, the book on Swindall is still being written.

One chapter of that book will doubtless focus on Swindall's excellent attitude and team-mindedness. When asked specifically about his personal goals for the upcoming season, he instead chooses to focus on the team.

"[My expectations are] just to be a competitor, do the best I can for the team at the best of my ability. I mean, that's basically it. Just to perform well and help the team any way I can."

A huge part of helping the Red Raider cause will be to fill the tremendous void left by Danny Amendola. The departed starter at Y was tremendously productive during his four years in Lubbock, and replacing his productivity, let alone his toughness and reliability, will be no easy task. Swindall, however, sees healthy competition between himself and Lewis as leading to solidification of the Y receiver position.

"We [Swindall and Lewis] are just gonna compete every day," says Swindall with sudden animation.

"We're roommates so we're around each other all day every day. You know, our motto every time we come out to practice is just 'Go to work.' So we're gonna work, you know, and compete and whoever beats the other out gets the spot, you know. I'll back him up, he'll back me up. So we're just gonna work, you know what I'm saying, just do what we gotta do to help the team."

The word work is one that crops up frequently when talking to Swindall. And what, specifically, is he working on in order to improve his game and see extensive playing time?

"I'm working on my speed more and just my overall quickness. That's about it. And just, you know, knowing the system. I'm still learning, you know. I'm still young so I'm working on it this summer and throughout fall camp, so we'll see how it goes."

Before too long summer workouts will be upon us and so will the lid-lifter for what could be the most spectacular season in Texas Tech football history. One can only imagine what it must be like to begin one's collegiate career in this heady atmosphere. Swindall has certainly thought about it, though.

"I think it [his first game for Tech] is just gonna be incredible. It's gonna be a great atmosphere; I'm just excited about it," Swindall affirms.

"You know, like watching it during last season, seeing how it was, the game atmosphere, I'm really excited for the next season, to get on the field. I'm gonna do everything I can, just go to work, work hard in practice to get better and just look forward to that one day that's gonna come soon, and play my game."

The overheated atmosphere that is slowly enveloping the Tech football camp could prove a distraction. But the oft-repeated refrain emanating from the Red Raiders, from Mike Leach on down, is that the team will block out all outside noise. Even if that noise is fulsome praise. Swindall reiterates that message.

"We're gonna handle it [pre-season hype] good. Every year we're the underdogs, so we don't worry what other people say, we just go out there, do our job and be a team and do what we can. That's Tech football-just play football; don't quit."

Far from quitting, Tramain Swindall has only just begun.

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