NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 22: Running back DeAndre Washington of Texas Tech tries to outrun defensive back Gabe Lynn #9 during the second half at at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma was upset by Texas Tech 41-38. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
"Five" is a series of five things, players, thoughts or whatever I think will fill a post.
1. WR Bradley Marquez | It is not a mistake for Marquez to be at the top of this list, although it shouldn't surprise you. Marquez finished the year 6th on the team in total receiptions as a true freshman who had not played receiver prior to this year. So when those preconceived notions about how freshmen receivers struggle to make an impact, that is partly true. One other thing is that Marquez had to start from scratch learning the position and still had 25 catches. That's really pretty darned good. I'm sure that Marquez has to improve his route-running and consistence, but with his work ethic, I wouldn't be at all surprised that this is resolved this year. I don't know if Marquez's future lies with baseball or football. It seems crazy to think that a player like Marquez that has adjusted so quickly at receiver would be anything but a can't-miss prospect in football. And as OC Neal Brown has already said, he hopes to use players like Marquez, Javares McRoy and Sadale Foster a bit differently this year and try to get them touches in different spots.
2. TE Jace Amaro | There is so much potential in Amaro's 6-5/255 frame that it's a bit ridiculous. It's hard to project if Amaro has learned from his indiscretions from this spring. There hasn't been any formal charges, but the charges haven't been dropped. At least to my knowledge. I don't think it's problematic, but it's interesting that it is still out there. Nevertheless, Amaro's biggest problems are consistency and concentration. That's not a surprise for a true freshman. Only 7 catches last year with 12 targets and Amaro only caught 58.3% of them. That's not a huge sample size, but a relatively low catch rate coupled with just a handful of targets should let Amaro know that he wasn't ready last year, but that doesn't mean that the time he spent last year actually playing was a waste. I still contend that a player that actually plays and doesn't redshirt will have a faster learning curve and so I'm hoping like heck that Amaro doesn't prove me wrong and figure out how to be a more consistent option and hopefully a more consistent scoring option.
3. OL Alfredo Morales | I would probably be prudent to place every offensive lineman on this list and will probably need to do so with the redshirt freshmen as well. The development of all of the offensive linemen is incredibly important and Alfredo appears to be on his way. Alfredo was the least heralded of the two Morales brothers, but truthfully, Tony had a fourth star on one recruiting service and that was about it. Tony also had about 15 pounds or so on Alfredo, but that's changed. Tony had added only about 10 pounds while Alfredo has had about 25 and they are both now about 310, which is probably ideal or close to idea for an inside player. So it's also interesting that Alfredo, who is scheduled to be the back-up left guard behind someone else on this list I'd imagine that Alfredo intends on this position battle being one that is contested throughout the summer practices.
More after the jump.
4. RB DeAndre Washington | I feel somewhat bad not including fellow running back Kenny Williams. They both had their ups and downs through the year, while Washington earned playing time earlier due to RB Eric Stephens going down with an injury, while Williams earned the time when Washington went down with an injury. Williams was the more highly-rated of the two running backs and I still don't think we've seen the light go on with Williams that makes you think that things have clicked. I think with Williams last year was that he was forced into action and if all things are equal, the staff really wanted to redshirt him. I think that Williams was still having to "think" about where he was supposed to be last year rather than play based on instincts. It will happen. With Washington, you saw a running back that most likely surpassed his own expectations last year. Washington had 77 carries, 366 yards, 3 touchdowns and averaged 4.75 yards a carry. When he did play, he was pretty good and he was significantly better than Williams, but he was far behind what Stephens had done. The learning curve with these running backs in the spread is learning how to pass-protect and knowing which player needs to be picked up or being able to recognize a blitzing linebacker or safety and then getting around to block that defender that is barrelling in unabated. Running the football is the easy part.
5. OL Beau Carpenter | It's been a bit quiet for Carpenter since he arrived in Lubbock in 2010 as being one of the few players that arrived on campus during the spring semester of his high school year and it's been a bit quiet ever since. Carpenter was initially praised as being a guy that might push some players in the 2011 season, but he was redshirted and that was probably for the best. Known for his work ethic coming out of high school it's been strange not to really hear Carpenter's name all that much, although he is starting at left guard as of this moment. I don't know if that will last. I don't know if TAMU transfer Brian Thomas will be playing at the right or left guard, but just watch the scenario of where Thomas plays at right guard, and then McDaniel flips to right tackle and I get the feeling that the coaching staff is higher on LeRaven Clark than any young offensive lineman on the team.