Red vs. Black, Spring Position Battles: Offensive Line

A position-by-position look at the Texas Tech Red Raiders heading into spring practice. "Classifications" are based on entering school next fall. "Probable Roles" are merely guesses and welcome comments, thoughts and suggestions.

I would like to offer this disclaimer, that although I think I've made some very educated guesses about where these guys will lineup, I can assure you that almost any position is very fluid, but this is assuredly true with Matt Moore at the helm. I think one of Moore's offensive line philosophies is to put the best players on the field, no matter some sort of pre-disposed position. Moore tends to work out the details later, but it usually works out very well.

OFFENSIVE LINE

LT

Brandon
Carter

Terry
McDaniel

Joel
Gray

Height: 6-7 6-7 6-6
Weight: 354 323 288
Classification: Senior RS Freshman Freshman
Probable Role: Starter Second String Redshirt

Carter has apparently moved out to left tackle, in hopes that he can prove that he's quick enough to play in the NFL. He's also apparently lost 20 pounds, so he should be down from the 354 listed above. That's certainly the good news. The bad news is that I'm still not sure that he's quick enough to handle the left tackle position, although if Rylan Reed could handle it on a bad ankle all year, then perhaps Carter can handle it as well.

McDaniel is another one of those guys that supposedly performed very well in the Thursday night scrimmages. Interesting sidenote, Terry's dad was my freshman history teacher and Terry was just a little kid at the time. Obviously, he's put on a few pounds since then. Back to the task at hand, supposedly McDaniels has a tenacity about him and I hope and pray that he did not receive his father's agility.

One of the gems of this past year's class, I'm expecting Gray to redshirt.

LG

Lonnie
Edwards

Deveric
Gallington

Kyle
Clark

Height: 6-5 6-4 6-5
Weight: 288 347 267
Classification: Sophomore RS Freshman Freshman
Probable Role: Starter Second String Redshirt

This should be a break-out year for Edwards. I originally projected Edwards to be a tackle, but considering Carter's move and Winn's emergence, Edwards needs to be on the field and this seems to make the most sense. Although I haven't seen much of Edwards, it's my understanding that Edwards is a bit of a mauler, something that I think this line needs a bit, especially inside. To be honest, I'm interested and pretty excited to see a little more svelte and athletic lineman play this position and I think Edwards is that guy. One other thing, is that I'm unsure about Edwards true weight and would be surprised if he's actually under 300 pounds.

Again, I don't know much about Gallington, although I believe that he's the the more traditional type of guard that plays for Texas Tech. I'm hoping that he's added quite a bit of strength to his frame and if something happens to Edwards and if either Gallington or King are pressed into duty, I'm comfortable with that.

Clark gets the nod here because I think he's a perfect fit for left guard, and is more Edwards than Gallington.

C

Shawn
Byrnes

Justin
Keown

Blake
Emert

Height: 6-4 6-4 6-4
Weight: 295 290 280
Classification: Senior Junior Sophomore
Probable Role: Starter Second String Third String

This is the position that I worry about the most. Byrnes was okay when he played in 2008 and 2007, but I thought Hamby was better. The problem here is that I'm not a huge fan of Keown either, and I don't recall enough about Emert to give an honest opinion. If something happens to Byrnes, I'd expect Keown to get the call, but I would not at all be surprised to see some moving and shaking along the line to plug someone else with a little more experience at this position. The center typically makes the calls along the lines and that might mean that it might be Chris Olson.

I also wouldn't be at all surprised to see Goetz eventually end up at this position. I think he's got the tenacity be a real asset at center and I haven't been all that impressed with Keown.

RG

Chris
Olson

Joe
King

Matt
Goetz

Height: 6-5 6-6 6-4
Weight: 271 324 270
Classification: Junior RS Freshman Freshman
Probable Role: Starter Second String Redshirt

Much like Edwards, Olson is a guy that I was expecting to make an impact when he signed and now he'll have his opportunity. At this point of his career, Olson needs to make an impact this spring, and he needs to make this position his. I wouldn't expect that King would push him all that much, and I realize that Olson was originally projected at tackle, much like Edwards, but once again, Moore will put the best 5 on the field.

Much like Gallington, I don't know much about King, although in my head, I have two sets of similar players: smaller and more athletic (Olson and Edwards) and bigger and more likely to maul (Gallington and King); which was my intent. I wanted a little bit of variation at this position.

RT

Marlon
Winn

Mickey
Okafor

LaAdrian
Waddle

Height: 6-6 6-7 6-6
Weight: 325 326 315
Classification: Senior Sophomore Freshman
Probable Role: Starter Second String Redshirt

I would agree with dedfisher that Winn is an exception talent, mostly unrecognized by the media, but is perhaps Texas Tech best offensive lineman. In fact, after the end of the season, I was prepared to pencil Winn as the starter at left tackle. He's mobile, strong, and agile enough to handle most, if not all, conference opponents protecting Potts' blind side. As mentioned above, Carter will receive the first crack at left tackle and it will be interesting to see in the spring game how Carter handles the position.

Much like the other backups, we haven't seen much of Okafor, which is a good thing and a testament to the line staying relatively healthy all year, but Okafor is projected as a guy in the mold of Winn, strong and athletic. I feel fairly comfortable with Okafor taking over for Winn after this year.

Waddle is the same type of player and credit should go to Moore and Leach for taking over for Winn after graduation.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I feel pretty comfortable here and I think that all four freshmen linemen redshirt this year. If there's an injury I think that Moore figures it out with everyone else but the freshmen. He's not afraid to move guys around. I haven't mentioned David Neill who was moved to the offensive side of the ball, but I'm not sure where he projects and I'm not sure that he's better than the current backups, unless we're talking about the center position.

Thanks to kayakyakr for helping out.

Previous Battles: Quarterback :: Running Back :: Receivers ::

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