Red Raiders Break in New Running Backs Coach

"We've had a pretty good spring, overall," says Littrell

"I think we've had a pretty good spring, overall," Seth Littrell said Wednesday after spring practice at Texas Tech. The first-year running backs' coach, a recruiting specialist who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000, continued, "We've had some young guys getting a lot of reps. They need a lot of reps."

"Shannon Woods, he hasn't had a lot," Littrell continued. "He redshirted last year, so we're trying to get him as many reps as possible, trying to see different defenses – a lot of different defenses. The defense is doing a good job of changing things up on us. He's getting a lot of different looks.

"For the most part, I think he's taken everything well, and he does a good job," he said. "Taurean (Henderson) comes out here and does a great job. He's a veteran in this offense and he's a good team leader, so it's nice having him out here.

"Then we've got some other guys stepping up – we've got Caesar Martinez. He comes in here every day. He works his tail end off, and he knows this offense just about as good as anybody does. So for the most part I'm real pleased so far, but we've just got to continue getting better, each and every day."

Woods' prowess, although a pleasant surprise for many Tech fans, didn't sneak up on Littrell at all. "I've seen some tapes, and Thursday night scrimmages and so on. He's a big powerful guy and he's fast. He's coming along. In his mind he's ready to come out here and start – and we'll see what happens."

"This position's wide open," he said. "There's no surprise there to me. He's a sharp kid, and he works out very hard."

Littrell described the current state of the Red Raider running game as "a work in progress, every day. Friday, we're going to come out and be better than we were today. I thought we had a good practice today. We got a lot done. We didn't have many lulls. I thought that's been a real credit to them, because a lot of times when you get halfway through, you know, you get in a lull.

"Our team's done a good job, really, of focusing in the practices," Littrell said. "We just want to work hard and get better than where we were before."

"I think the intensity's been very well," he said. "I think everybody's working hard. Everybody's coming together, working together well, the offense and the defense. I think the defense is doing some good things, also. That's just a credit to our players – you know, they're hungry. They're coming off the bowl and the win last year over Cal, and they want to continue to get better.

"Next year we're striving to win the Big 12 Championship," Littrell said. "That's what we do every year, and that's what we're working for. So with that, it's a big goal we're going to set for ourselves, and we're going to come out and try to work for it in spring. That's what counts."

The particular offense Tech relies upon makes big demands on running backs, he noted.

"It's very difficult for the running backs. They've got to know a lot of things – in a lot of offenses, it's just them running the ball. Here you've got to know a lot of different things, know the schemes and the pass protect, run the football, catch the football, so yeah, for a young guy," Littrell said, "There's a lot to think about.

"In our formations we put a lot on our backs," he said. "It's a lot of memorization. It can be difficult for the "F" position, the running back position. I have a very sharp group. They learn really well. They get in there and they're really eager to learn and they work at it every day. I really think they're doing an exceptional job of getting in there and learning."

That the backs have good hands is a given. "We catch balls every day," Littrell said. "In this offense, you better have good hands. For the most part – and I think all our backs have good hands – you know, we've had a couple drops here and there, but for the most part they work on it. That's another difference – in high school, you know, a running back's usually not used to catching a lot of balls.

"In this offense, you're going to catch a lot of balls. So we work on it – we stay after practice and we catch fifty, seventy-five balls after practice every single day. It's just one of those deals," he said. "You work on it continuously and you get better every day."

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