Critical 20: No. 10 Baylen Brown

Like any football team, Texas Tech has several players whose performance will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue of experience, leadership, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they absent.

If there is any position group on the Texas Tech football team whose iffiness going into the 2016 season has been underrated it is the offensive line. This unit, which was above average last year, lost a ton of talent and experience. 

Le’Raven Clark is plying his trade in the NFL, while stalwarts such as Alfredo Morales and Jared Kaster, as well as graduate transfer Emeka Okafor have also burned up all of their eligibility. But this situation has been largely overlooked because of Tech’s prepossessing talent at the skill positions, and the historical success of the program’s offense. Still, it would be unwise to assume the offensive line will not miss a beat, and that the offense will continue to be a juggernaut by virtue of some sort of entitlement. 

Clearly, for this rebuilt offensive line to continue in fine form, those few returnees with any real experience will have to play at a very high level. And no offensive lineman has remotely as much experience as left tackle Baylen Brown

Photo By Steven Chapman
 The senior from San Antonio started three games as a freshman, nine games as a sophomore, and 11 games as a senior for a combined 23 starts. Strictly from an experience standpoint, offensive line coach Lee Hays and the rest of the line will look toward Brown as the leader.

Adding to Brown’s considerable value is the fact that he has played so many different positions. He has started at both guard positions, was the starter at right tackle last season, and in 2016 will be the starter at the all-important left tackle position. 

During spring camp freshman Terence Steele was tested at left tackle, but in the final analysis, it was decided that Brown is the better option, at least at this point. 

Brown, along with Tony Morales at center and Justin Murphy at one of the guard positions, will form the veteran corps—such as it is—of this group. For the offense to carry this squad yet again—as it almost certainly will have to—Brown, with help from Morales and Murphy, will have to nail down this offensive line and make it the best that it can possibly be.

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