April 13, 2006

Making a run for it

Following the departure of Taurean Henderson, one of Texas Tech's all-time greats at the running back position, the conventional wisdom has been that the job of replacing him was Shannon Woods' to lose, and that if lose it he did, incoming frosh phenom, Baron Batch would be the likely beneficiary. The conventional wisdom may well hold true. Woods is a very talented runner, and Batch has all of the tools to play immediately. However, competition has emerged from a somewhat unexpected source and is complicating the picture. Diminutive redshirt freshman, Kobey Lewis is the figure who is setting the cat amongst the pigeons.

Lewis arrived from Abilene High School with a reputation as a dangerous scat-back. His career in the Big Country was suitably productive by any standard, and he came to Tech with the full compliment of accolades and accomplishments. Because of his size, or lack of it, however, few observers, even in the Tech camp, thought of Lewis as much more than a candidate for situational duty. At only 5' 6" and 165-170 pounds, the general consensus was that he simply could not take the down-to-down battering that comes with being a starting running back in the Big 12.

And in the Mike Leach offense, running backs arguably take a heavier pounding than in more conventional offenses. Tech running backs must not only carry the ball 10-20 times, they also catch the ball 5-10 times per game, and pass block against incoming linebackers and linemen many, many more. It takes a tough and sturdy hombre to log that kind of duty.

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