Hard Work Pays Off

The Red Raiders have a new starter at running back. Aaron Crawford officially took over the starting job against Colorado over a week ago, but last Saturday against Baylor was the first time he was featured in the offense and he made his presence known with 4 touchdowns. Behind the scenes though, Crawford put in a lot of work all season long to get to where he is at now.

Running back Aaron Crawford technically started his first game for Texas Tech over a week ago against Colorado, but last Saturday against Baylor was the first time he was really featured in the offense.

When given the chance against Baylor, he didn't disappoint. Crawford racked up 44 yards rushing and 82 yards receiving and found the end zone 4 times.

"He's explosive," said an impressed Mike Leach. "He made about three runs [last week] that we haven't had guys in here that could make [those runs] consistently. On that little swing route when he turned and split the defenders and blew up the third one that met him in the endzone, I thought was impressive. His run where it was about a four-yard run, about a yard and a half of it was blocked. He got the other two and a half yards himself. The other thing is he's got a great sense of the goalline and how to score. Guys that are intense, try hard and know what their job is and do just their jobs are great examples everybody."

Crawford didn't get his chance to shine until previous starting running back Shannon Woods was demoted to third string after a few lackluster outings. Although it would have been nice to have seen Crawford display his ability earlier in the season, he was not fully adjusted to the college game just yet.

He has always had the work ethic though, which ultimately paid off and allowed him to overtake Woods on the depth chart.

"I think just his knowledge based on what he is able to do is much higher now than it was at the beginning of the season. He wasn't ready to play the first game. After about four or five games, he really started to emerge and demand some attention. I wish we would have put him in earlier, but he wasn't ready to start the first game."

Crawford wasn't officially named the starter until the Colorado game, but Leach was considering making the move even earlier.

"I was leaning towards [starting Crawford for] the Texas A&M game. I was certain of it after the Missouri game."

It's not just the coaches who see the time and effort Crawford puts in to ensure he's playing to the best of his ability, his fellow teammates are seeing the same thing.

"He came in, ran hard, ran tough, and that was good to see," said quarterback Graham Harrell. "Every day in practice, he plays just that hard. That's the thing about him, he only has one speed, and that's full speed, so he's a good weapon for us and I'm sure we'll continue to use him."

Aaron Crawford will get another chance to shine on Saturday when the Red Raiders travel to Austin to face off against the #14 ranked Texas Longhorns.

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