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Five Fall Camp Thoughts

We're a week and a half away from the first game, let's talk about five different things that have happened in fall camp thus far.

Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

1. Waiting for JUCO Impact. There's an almost certain thought that Dominique Robertson will make an instant impact at left tackle. It seems as if we are almost assured that Robertson will man the left side of the line. One other note is that we haven't really heard at all that Robertson is struggling with any part of that transition from JUCO to Division I. However, this does not appear to be the case with the defensive line, as it appears that a lot of the JUCO defensive players are working their way into the rotation. I suppose this depends on your level of expectation for the JUCO defensive linemen. If you had expectations that they would start and star immediately, then you're probably going to be disappointed, but if you had expectations that they should be part of a rotation of defensive linemen that could play alongside the incumbents, then you are probably closer to the reality of the situation. You could also say that S Josh Keys, just hoping that he could contribute. The biggest thing to consider is that this is a transition for these players, despite the thought that they are most likely more ready than most freshmen, but this offense places a high level of pressure on defenses and moves at a speed that most defenders have probably never experienced. There is most likely going to be a lot of disappointment and failure and that's not something that these guys experience on a regular basis. More than anything, you want these guys to be part of the regular rotation. Of course, ideally, you would love if they were studs that all demanded double-teams, but that most likely wasn't going to happen. The best hope is for them to all be part of a deep and regular rotation that collectively can hassle the passer and opposing offenses.

2. Mahomes Might Be Okay. Being a quarterback is interesting in that most fans are always looking to replace the guy there and always looking at the next guy. Some fans are probably ready for Patrick Mahomes to replace Davis Webb the first time that Webb flubs a bit and then there are fans that are ready to move Mahomes to safety because Jarrett Stidham is going to be the best thing ever. Mahomes was already a guy that was pretty accomplished, the 4A offensive player isn't just "a guy" it is a guy that can probably play and thus far, we're hearing nothing but good things about what Mahomes is doing on the field, from throwing 5 touchdowns in the first (they all could have been in the redzone or they all could have been 90 yard drives) and a couple of touchdowns on Saturday. Before we get ahead of ourselves, sometimes we need to give these players time to either succeed or fail and not have them being replaced or being moved to a different position.

3. Same Production. The one thing that I think folks are somewhat forgetting about Webb is that he did, without a doubt, lean on Jace Amaro and Eric Ward. Those guys were rocks, either incredibly reliable or a significant target. Part of this makes me think that this is what makes Webb so smart, in that he wasn't going to lean on the less reliable players, he went to the guys that could produce. And honestly, you could certainly add Jakeem Grant and Bradley Marquez in the group, but Amaro and Ward carried the lionshare of work. Pretty much no matter who was in charge, Texas Tech hasn't had a problem with guys catching passes, even with Tuberville and Neal Brown here, I really thought that the guys were pretty sure handed. I don't think that's going to change all that much, although I do think that it is going to be more diverse this year. I think there will be more players making plays, not just a couple of guys. With all of these reports about guys catching touchdowns, someone is throwing them the ball and we haven't even heard about Webb (probably a reason for this, maybe it is okay to pump up the younger player).

4. Clark at Guard. This may be the most significant move of the offseason, Robertson to left tackle, and the domino effect of Clark, not at left guard, which I somewhat assumed, but Clark at right guard. I think that the ultimate goal here is to have the five best players, regardless of position, and where the guys feel the most comfortable. Offensive line coach has said that Lee Hays promised Robertson, looked him in they eye, and agreed to give every opportunity to Robertson to win that left tackle spot. This really accomplishes two things, the first thing is that the coaching staff can look at each of the players when they hit the road to recruit and let them know that they are also in the business of fulfilling promises. Of course, promises aren't going to be made to each and every player, but the coaches can tell the player that they'll make every effort to help that player succeed.

5. Atoe Commits. This has been swept under the rug a bit, but having Atoe commit really address to the depth at the Raider linebacker position, one that was going to graduate Kenny Williams and Austin Stewart at the end of the year. There was going to need to be some additional players to play at this position and having Atoe, who has a redshirt year available. The coaching staff has said that Atoe could play inside or outside and assuming that me might be a nice replacement at the Raider spot, then heading into next year, Texas Tech will have Atoe and Jacarthy Mack looking to play the same spot and adds some immediate competition at this position.  Without Atoe, I wasn't sure who would be there.  If Atoe plays inside, then he might be a pretty natural replacement for Eguavoen or V.J. Fehoko.  There are lots of options.  One other thought is that this staff improved the team, theoretically, six months after national signing day.  We're somewhat talking about a similar thing with Tubby Smith adding an impact player for his 2014 class ten days before class starts.  It's good to be opportunistic..