Five Players that Should Keep Their Options Open in 2012

"Five" is a series of five things, players, thoughts or whatever I think will fill a post.

1. IR/RB/KR/PR Sadale Foster | This one is easy because Foster is more valuable to this team the more he does. After signing day I wasn't sure what to think of Foster because he really wasn't mentioned at running back, but that is where he was featured during the spring. And during that spring game when Foster exhibited his surprising quickness and it did make me look at my program to figure out who the diminutive running back was. Foster looked very smooth catching the ball out of the backfield and last year he played as an outside receiver. I envisioned him as an inside receiver and I think that this is still the ideal spot because what that would mean is that Eric Stephens and DeAndre Washington are healthy and the coaching staff wants to get Foster some carries. I'd also love to see Foster take hold of the punt return and kickoff return duties. I understand why he didn't see a lot of time during spring at this spot, Texas Tech could not afford to lose him to some freak return injury, but if he could prove to be reliable and more explosive than Austin Zouzalik then I will take that at punt returner and would be happy with Foster and Ben McRoy at kick returner.

2. LB/DE Pete Robertson | Maybe Robertson is a guy without a real position this year, but it seems that this staff sees Robertson as a guy that may grow out of his linebacker spot and end up as a pass rushing defensive end and have compared Robertson's potential to TAMU's Von Miller. Robertson arrived at Texas Tech as a dual threat quarterback for his Longview team, was initially slotted as a safety and moved to linebacker during the fall. Got on the field early in the year at linebacker, was injured and then was out for the year. But the last two super-secret practices of the spring (they were apparently closed to the media), Robertson was moved to defensive end and apparently dominated. My thought is that if this is accurate, then to me Robertson is maybe the most valuable to this team as a "joker" type of defensive end, similar to what we saw with Daniel Howard or as a blitzing linebacker in pass coverage situations or as a defensive end or linebacker that knows how to drop into coverage and cover a running back and maybe keep the offense guessing as to whether or not he is going to rush or drop.

3. WR/IR/RB Bradley Marquez | Marquez was recruited as running back, was moved to inside receiver last year and at the end of the year (I think) moved to wide receiver. I flip flop on this, which is the idea of a player just dedicating himself to just one position, or being so versatile that the player could be moved around the field to the point that the defense is having to account for him. After the spring was finished, OC Neal Brown talked about how he would like to get less traditional players some carries, like Javares McRoy and Jakeem Grant. But what about a guy like Marquez that was a highly accomplished running back in high school and proved to be a really efficient receiver last year? Marquez has better size than both McRoy and Grant and I think I would almost rather see Marquez maybe in this spot.

More after the jump.

4. RG/RT Terry McDaniel | McDaniel played last year starting at tackle for a good part of the season and was moved to right guard for the entire spring. RRS.com's Chris Level has mention on TechTalk that Brian Thomas has signed the financial information at Texas Tech and his transfer appears imminent. Thomas started at guard for TAMU the past two years and it would make sense that he would fill in with this spot where McDaniel played this spring. At right tackle was LeRaven Clark, a redshirt freshman, and the staff has raved about his talent, but if given the choice, give me the senior transfer in Thomas at right guard and the senior in McDaniel at right tackle. Clark very well may be supremely talented, but anyone that was at the spring game saw a line that struggled, maybe because McDaniel was playing out of position a bit and Clark was learning the ropes, but the two seniors could do a lot to create some experience at a spot where three starters are being replaced. I do understand the desire to get Clark as much time as possible at the spot that he would eventually play, but it would probably help if McDaniel could keep his options open and be amendable to playing tackle or guard.

5. S/LB Chris Payne. I think that at least one of Texas Tech's starting cornerbacks and both safeties weigh more than "linebacker" Chris Payne. When Payne committed, the weight that I saw reported was 215, but when he reported he weighed only 188. That's a significant difference and that's not the weight of a linebacker. The thing that Payne has going for him is that he was wildly productive as a linebacker in JUCO and he was on a winning JUCO team. Logically, Payne looks like maybe an ideal third down linebacker that can cover in space, but the question remains if he will be able to play the run. I don't know if he is going to be a liability and so I wonder if for this team and for Payne if he would be better served spending all of his time at safety or if you keep him at linebacker since he was so productive there. I don't know that I have the answer for this one.

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