State of the Position: Offensive Line

Joe Yeager breaks down the offensive line that Tech has, and how the changes made to it will affect the team in 2012.

Spring Personnel: LaAdrian Waddle, Rashad Fortenberry, Beau Carpenter, Alfredo Morales, Deveric Gallington, Tony Morales, Terry McDaniel, Jared Kaster, Kyle Clark, Le'Ravin Clark, Matt Wilson, James Polk

Fall Additions: Trey Keenan

Pre-Spring Power Rating: 86

Post-Spring Power Rating: 82


Money Quote: "He [Alfredo Morales] has had a good [spring]. He's probably right behind Derek Edwards up there on the improved list. He's a guy that's gotten some reps with the ones this spring. You know, him and Beau Carpenter are right there playing that left guard. He's a guy that we're gonna need. You know, he's a guy that we feel like will be in that top eight or nine. He's gotten his body in good shape. He looks good. He looks like a college o-lineman. He's got great first step. And he's, there's some fundamental things he's gotta keep ironing out, but a lot of improvement this spring."—Neal Brown


Spring Performance: Texas Tech fans either have reason to be thrilled with the development of the defensive line or to be concerned with the play of the offensive line. But the straight dope on Tech's lines probably won't be known until the Red Raiders enter conference play.


Regardless, there seems to be a general consensus that the offensive line still needs much work. Following the Red-Black Scrimmage, Tommy Tuberville observed that the o-line "got pushed around" and called this fact "concerning." Neal Brown called his line "a work in progress." Those are not the most encouraging words.


There are some plain reasons for why the offensive line struggled.


LaAdrian Waddle, who will be playing for a position in the NFL draft this season, was at only 80-percent health because of a leg injury. Beau Carpenter and Alfredo Morales are green at left guard and freshman Le'Ravin Clark is positively chartreuse at right tackle. And Deveric Gallington is still learning the center position after moving from guard.


Heck, right guard Terry McDaniel is the only player in the rotation who doesn't have one issue or another with which to deal.


Aside from inexperience, injury and players learning new positions, however, the biggest overall problem facing the offensive line may be a lack of physicality. This group is quick and very athletic, but it does not routinely stun defensive lines with its punch. On the contrary, a fairly common sight this spring was the offensive line getting bowed into the backfield.


Ironically enough, however, the line actually looked pretty good in the running game much of the time despite not being a pack of pulverizers. It did a decent job of springing SaDale Foster to the outside in a couple of scrimmages, and with the help of Tyson Willaims, shook Jakeem Grant and Javarez McRoy loose on fly sweeps.


Pass protection was more of an issue. Le'Ravin Clark had no answer for Dartwan Bush who looked like a 15-sack defensive end in the spring. Moreover, Branden Jackson began to befuddle Tech's tackles late in camp.


To some degree Clark's problems are not a major issue because Terry McDaniel will immediately replace Clark if he is not ready to do the job. In this sense, Clark's reps are valuable experience for a player who probably won't start come Big 12 time. But on the whole you'd still like to see Tech's pass protection be a bit sounder than it was this spring.


As Neal Brown said, a work in progress. Stay tuned.

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