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Red Raider Gridiron | Ward Surprising; Williams & Stewart at Raider

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Keenon Ward is the surprising player from the spring. Kenny Williams and Austin Stewart are the main competitors for the Raider linebacker spot, plus Trace Ellison's HS coach talks about his commitment.

John Weast

Ward Surprising: Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said that the biggest surprise thus far this spring has been S Keenon Ward, who Smith said is working hard in practice (via LAJ):

"And just every day in practice, doing tackle circuit every day before we start individuals, Keenon is going out there with a chip on his shoulder," Smith said. "He’s put 5 or 10 pounds on this offseason and is just playing physical and violent. That’s what we need on defense is guys like him that set the tone every day in practice, and he’s been doing that."

No doubting that Ward is physically a special player and now it's interesting to see how and if he can work in at boundary safety.

Williams and Stewart at Raider: Smith also said that both Kenny Williams and Austin Stewart were 1 and 2 in the spring game at the Raider linebacker spot (via LAJ):

"What’s great about that is they’re both playing pretty well," Smith said. "They’re both competing and both of them are cheering each other on. When you have two guys at a position playing well, competition makes a football team. They practice hard every day because they both want to play."

Smith said earlier in the spring that Stewart was one of the most physically gifted players on the team, but didn't go so far as to endorse Stewart really and really praised Williams. It doesn't surprise me that Stewart graded out well, but for whatever reason, there's also a trust issue here, something off the field that's really holding Stewart back. I think that's what Williams add, is that security blanket of knowing that he'll be really solid and there's something to be said for that.

Ellison's Commitment: Trace Ellison's head coach at Frisco Centennial, Mark Howard, had lots of things to say about Trace Ellison and his commitment to Texas Tech (via WreckEm 24/7):

"He has a nasty attitude, he doesn’t play dirty. As an offensive lineman he has the attitude, he’s going to work every time. He’s going to take care of the guy at the first level and if he has the chance he’s going to get a guy at the next level. That’s unusual to find in an o-lineman if you find a guy that’s going to go and take care of one at the next level. If you have that attitude as an offensive lineman, that’s nothing but good stuff."

Links:

Texas Football looks at Texas Tech during the spring (via Texas Football).

Graham Harrell interviews for the offensive coordinator position at Lubbock Roosevelt (via KCBD).

Action: Really cool video from Scott Roussel who did a Q&A about his trip to Texas Tech.  This is worth your 10 minutes (via Football Scoop). For those of us that know Lubbock, this isn't anything new about the campus.  It was pretty interesting to hear Roussel talk about the new indoor facility and that if a kid chooses a program based on that program having an indoor facility, then they're not for Texas Tech, just based on the idea that you just don't need an indoor facility that many times because Texas is awesome.  It almost sounded like he was saying that just based on talking to the staff.  Of course, there's a huge capital campaign to raise money for an indoor facility, so I think that's interesting.