As long as head coach Mike Leach has been in Lubbock, Tech has been known for producing successful quarterbacks. Not just successful, but nationally recognized and record-breaking play callers with the ability to blow the old records off the face of the Earth.
But what about the big men? What about those guys who are in the trenches blocking every time the ball is snapped and yet hardly recognized for the daily grind? What about the men that easily bench press 500 pounds and squat nearly half a ton?
Texas Tech's Daniel Loper is listed at 6'6'' and 324 pounds in the media guide, yet while interviewing him I couldn't help but feeling dwarfed by the size of this man. If he were on Bonanza he would definitely be called "Haas."
Since arriving at Tech just over three years ago, Loper has learned a thing or two about blocking for a quarterback. After playing tight end at a small private high school in Houston, Loper accepted a scholarship at one of his favorite childhood universities, Texas Tech.
Loper recalls that the transition from tight end to offensive tackle was slow, but has now found a spot as one of the most solid and consistent offensive linemen in the country.
After Saturday's loss to New Mexico, there is no doubt the offense has some work to do, even on our seasoned offensive line. And yet there is hope! With the loss behind them, the offensive line looks forward to the opportunity to prove themselves against one of the nation's most prolific defenses.
Loper, who has been nominated for a number of awards already this season, is projected to enter the NFL next year as an early round draft pick. Here are just a few of his thoughts on team improvement and memories of the past.
RP: As the most experienced offensive lineman, where do you think the offense improved the most during the offseason?
Loper: "Well, I would say our focus. Last year it seemed like we would get out there and be playing well, but we would lose our focus. I think this year we are better coached and we will have the opportunity to hold the focus during the game."
RP: In high school you played tight end. When you got to Tech they moved you to offensive line to utilize your size. How has that transition from a blocker/receiver to a full-time blocker changed your game?
Loper: "In high school we ran a lot. Just from the style of offense we run we score a lot more! My high school team was terrible and Tech's passing really opens up the offense and allows us to score."
RP: Coach Bennie Wylie has had a tremendous impact on the team over the past year. How has he changed your diet and workout plan?
Loper: "I think the thing you will notice about all the offensive linemen is that we are all a whole lot leaner and much stronger than we used to be. We definitely owe it all to him. Just by looking at his body is enough to know where he is coming from and he has really helped us a lot."
RP: As one of the oldest and most experienced players on the team, what is your funniest or favorite story about Coach Mike Leach?
Loper: "Let's see, favorite or funniest memory. Well, I can't tell you the story, but I love listening to his stories, especially on the road games or bowl games when we have some off time. He likes to get up in front of everyone and tell crazy stories and his stories are always the best. "
Well boys, let's not get our heads down after a tough game on the road last week. Let's get back on the horse, come back to the Jones that we all love and have a frog stomping party! And just kidding Daniel, you don't look too much like Opie.
Is He Goliath or Opie? "Take 5" with Daniel Loper
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