January 17, 2012

Spring Look: Offensive line

How do things stand with the Red Raiders as they prepare for spring football? We will be breaking down the team position group by position group to give you a good idea of what to expect once Texas Tech opens spring practice on Feb. 17.

We're continuing with the offensive line.

Jim Turner takes over the O-line

Jim Turner, who coached Texas A&M to the best offensive line in the country last season, will replace former offensive line coach Matt Moore after the Red Raider offensive line proved to be a weak point.

Turner took an extraordinarily young offensive line in 2010 and crafted it into the best offensive line in the country in terms of sacks given up and helped push the Aggies running game to the No. 21 best in the country this past season.

At Tech, Turner has the opportunity to work with three returning starters or some very talented freshmen coming out of their redshirt year.

The incumbents

The Red Raiders have the opportunity to return three starters to the offensive line.

But where do they fit?

Obviously, LaAdrian Waddle fits in perfectly at left tackle. There was a little bit of talk of him going to the NFL after his junior year. But that was before the offensive line was recognized as one of the weaker position groups during last year's 5-7 run.

Still, Waddle has an incredible wingspan, good technique and more than two years of experience at the position.

The big question is center.

Terry McDaniel, Deveric Gallington or Alfredo Morales?

Justin Keown, who has now graduated, was Tech's starting center last year, but when he went down with a knee injury in fall camp McDaniel filled in for the non-conference portion of the schedule.

Keown returned and McDaniel largely replaced the injured Mickey Okafor at right tackle.

But when Keown went down against Missouri, Gallington filled in at the starting center spot, performed OK and McDaniel stayed at right tackle.

For what it's worth, redshirt freshman Alfredo Morales was slated as McDaniel's' backup for the first game of the season before injuring his shoulder and getting redshirted.

Sophomore Beau Carpenter might be ready to make a push for one of the starting positions. He backed up Okafor and then McDaniel at right tackle last season.

The newcomers

Tech has some highly touted Class of 2011 coming out of their redshirt seasons in LeRaven Clark, Alfredo Morales and Tony Morales.

Where the linemen fit is to be determined.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville thought hard about playing Clark last season and almost put Clark into the Texas State game.

Clark was listed as Waddle's backup at left tackle.

Both Morales twins suffered shoulder injuries and were forced into redshirts.

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