Awe Gunning for a Starting Gig

Texas Tech junior linebacker Micah Awe has played a key role on both special teams and as a support player on defense in seasons past. He told after the start of camp on Monday that competition abounds up and down the defense and that he is fighting for a starting spot.

Football season is knocking at the door of the Texas Tech team.

As the Red Raiders opened fall camp on Monday, Texas Tech linebacker Micah Awe made one bold proclamation in regards to his plans for the season.

“I want to break Will Smith’s tackles record [of 120 last season],” Awe said after practice.

It’s not too far-fetched for the now-junior – Awe was sixth in total tackles with 58, and he didn’t even start a game. With the departures of leading tacklers such as Smith, Kerry Hyder, and Bruce Jones, Awe figures to play a prominent role on the defensive side of the football.

“I’m very motivated,” Awe said.

To stoke that motivation, Awe said that all the juniors on the team got a watch – a symbolic reminder that time is ticking and it’s time to step up and take control. Awe also mentioned that he believes he can compete for a starting linebacker spot.

“All positions are up in the air,” he mentioned.

Texas Tech’s defense notably collapsed in the final five games of the 2013 regular season. Awe said the mindset around the defensive players was the one thing that improved the most while training in the offseason.

“Every guy that came in on defense, from the corners down, has the motivation to do well for themselves and do well for the team,” said Awe. “Physically and talent-wise, we’re very competitive…but it’s all about the mindset.

“The whole team has to have it. Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, the big boys…that’s when we need to step up. That’s how you get to a championship. You can’t win without it.”

Awe also made an observation on some of the newcomers on the team. He specifically mentioned their self-motivation and their desire to succeed after being given another chance.

“[These guys have received] second chances, third chances...self-motivation goes a long way for them,” he said.

Awe also was very impressed by the reinvention of the Texas Tech program in the past year under Kliff Kingsbury.

“You used to get a scholarship from Tech…maybe you wanted to go somewhere else,” he said. “Now, it’s like, ‘Oh, Coach Kliff gave you a scholarship!’ … It’s a lot different. I’m glad he brings the publicity he has; it really helps us out.”

A highly motivated and determined Awe could figure to be a factor in a productive Texas Tech football team in the 2014 season, and could bring some much-needed defensive help for a team that surely needs it.

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