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Running Back Options After Shannon Woods

Bad news, Woods is officially, officially demoted to the scout team after running with the first team since his re-promotion from the scout team from the spring practice. For those of you who don't think this is bad news then you're wrong. I know, there's got to be a balance between being a very talented football player and not being able to play by the rules.

And I have to assume that Woods isn't playing by the rules as far as Coach Leach is concerned. Coach Leach has said that the problem is production, but I think we always assume that it's the always vague "attitude" that's at the heart of the matter. It's no secret that Woods was running with the 3rd team during the entire spring and we all assumed that Leach was simply motivating Woods into playing to his potential. Now, I'm not so sure what his motivation might be, other than the fact that he doesn't listen and Woods' production just hasn't been to Coach Leach's expectations.

I'll be honest, it didn't appear to be that Woods' lack of production appeared to be from lack of effort. I seem to recall that he actually had a little bit of fire in the Missouri game, although he had little opportunity to show it and against Colorado, he hardly had an opportunity to be productive.

This is one of those demotions that I see lasting the rest of the season and ending on a bad note. I don't have any inside information, just a gut reaction to what appears to be a chicken-fight between Woods and Leach.

So where do we go from here? There aren't just a ton of options, but let's roll through them anyway.

  • Aaron Crawford: He's the obvious choice to take over at this point in part because he's been named by Leach to start. Other than that, Crawford has decent size (5-11/202) and supposedly has 4.4 speed. The one play where Crawford had a nice little scamper down the field did display his ability, but he's young and raw. There were also a couple of times that he wasn't sure to line up and you can expect that he's not the best blocker at this point of his career. Probably the most talented running back with the ability to pay off big, but you'll have to sit through some bad games as well.
  • Kobey Lewis: A true change-of-pace back, but I think he's most effective on 3rd down and 3rd down alone. I don't think and I don't think that Leach thinks that Lewis can be an every down back. Because of his size alone, I don't think that he can really help with all of the block that the running back can be called upon to do. Although he can break a play if he gets in the open field, he will hardly break a tackle because of his size.
  • Baron Batch: This is supposed to be Batch's redshirt year after being injured in the later half of last year I believe. The last that we heard from Batch, he was playing the role of Jorvorskie Lane prior to the TAMU game, which means that Woods will now be playing those roles, I guess. In any event, Batch isn't exactly small either, at 5-11/209, but I just don't get the feeling that Leach is going to take off Batch's redshirt just so he can play 3 games this season.
  • Jared Flannel: In the same story above, Flannel played the the role of Michael Goodson, but I can't see how Leach would even consider using Flannel for any part of the remainder of the season, there's just no reason to burn his redshirt unless there are some serious injuries at running back. In fact, I can see how Flannel could turn into Edward Britton in a couple of years,a speedy running back turned receiver. Flannel isn't going to play this year and that's okay.

So where does that leave Texas Tech? Very thin at the running back position and without many options other than Crawford, Lewis and Woods. Woods may be the scout team running back, but if push came to shove and there were some injuries, I think Leach would play Woods just to get to next year and retain Batch's and Flannel's redshirt.

We can expect a heavy dose of Crawford from this point forward, and you can also expect to be frustrated at times, but it looks like he and Lewis are going to carry the load until Woods becomes more productive (this is my very lame attempt at trying to be witty).