Chasing The Red Baron: Part 2

Texas Tech running back Baron Batch is well aware that football will not last forever. And he is beginning to see an even bigger picture with the things happening around Tech and the new era of Red Raiders football.

LUBBOCK, Texas — Baron Batch knows there is more to football than what is done on the field and in the weight room.

He wears these beliefs on his sleeve, often telling teammates and those thinking of becoming college athletes.

"Football is going to be over one day, eventually," Batch said. "It's going to end for everybody. What do you do then when it's over? You've made your life playing football and then it's over. What do you have?

"If you use football just to gain minor things that don't mean anything in the long run and you don't take advantage of the opportunities that you have while you're doing it, then you become useless. I've seen it happen a hundred times. Guys live it up, live up this lifestyle as a college football player and they don't realize that it's a tool to get you to something bigger and to start off another career once football is over."

The Texas Tech running back also sees himself as a leader for the Red Raiders and a disciple for what the team is trying accomplish as a program.

But other steps in the new regime's "recruiting" have shown Batch how much things mean off the field as they do on the field with head coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff.

Some of the first moves Tuberville declared at his introductory press conference earlier this year is that Tech would make strides in recruiting, get in shape and hire a team chaplain.

The third may have been the one that caught Batch's attention the most.

"Tuberville is big on this," Batch said. "He'll tell you, ‘It's about making the players into good people.' And that's something that meant a lot to me when he said that."

Former NFL player Steve Grant joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes staff June 3 with his primary role serving as chaplain for Texas Tech.

Tuberville is well known for being active in the training program for team chaplains in the FCA program.

According to the FCA release, Grant graduated from West Virginia and spent several seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts. He's been traveling with Sports World Ministries for years, speaking to assemblies and churches.

As Grant stated, "I can't wait to see what God is going to do here in Lubbock."

Batch may be right up front waiting to see, as well.

"I think one big thing that Tubs brings is that he is real with people," Batch said. "The new team chaplain is one of those ‘real people.' He lets you know that you have to keep your priorities straight. As college football players, the impact you could have on other people is huge. If you just use it right as a tool and a vehicle to get you somewhere, you can go wherever you want. I've realized that just from the places I've been able to see, the things I've been able to do and the people I've been able to meet — it's all because of football and I'm blessed to have had this opportunity."

Batch said he is more and more excited about this year's team and season as fall practices get closer each day. One thing he became excited about during spring practices was being able to watch some of the younger players step up and make progress.

He sees plenty of potential in players like Jacoby Franks, Cornelius Douglas and Will Ford, to name a few.

"Guys like Corn, and Jacoby and Will — a lot of those guys have not had a lot of playing time in games," Batch said. "But I think a lot of us knew what they have to offer and bring. They're great players. I've seen them in practice day-in and day-out do the things many people saw during the spring game.

"The nature of the game is you just have to wait your turn and now they are going to get theirs. I think they are going to be tremendous players this season."

Another addition and hire that excites Batch is new running backs coach Chad Scott, who has spent time under offensive coordinator Neal Brown for three seasons at Troy and was a star running back at North Carolina.

Batch said the things he sees and hears from Scott is an echo of what Tuberville hopes will help Batch and others keep faith in what the ultimate goal of this program is this season and every season from here on out — a championship.

"It's a huge blessing to have a guy like Tubs at the helm and being our head coach because of the philosophy that he has," Batch said. "When you have players that buy into the program and buy into the philosophy and you are surrounded by good people who promote character — that makes a huge difference.

"It sets the university to a higher standard and that's what we are here for. We're here to leave Tech as a better place than when we got here and that we were a part of that process in continuing to help this school succeed in every way, not just on the football field."

Travis Cram is the Managing Editor for Follow his daily updates and news on Twitter. Join the Official fan page on Facebook.


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