Five Spring Thoughts on the Running Backs

The running back position group may be the best and deepest position group on the team.  We’re talking about the running backs and identifying with DeAndre Washington.

1. 1,000. It’s incredibly cool that Texas Tech has a 1,000 yard rusher and I suppose we can thank Mike Jinks for having a really terrific pipeline ready to go. We’ll get to the pipeline momentarily, but with DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech has a star. A real star to the offense and it is an offense that needs one. It’s pretty amazing how unassuming and amazing Washington is and I love watching him play. I feel a bit disappointed that this is his last year and between us friends, I will revel watching him run whenever he gets the ball. His quickness and elusiveness are on par with anyone that’s run the ball at Texas Tech (obviously, I don’t mean total stats, but he’s as quick and elusive as anyone I can remember). And Washington’s ability to find seams between the tackles is why no one else can get any reps. I know that we as Texas Tech fans identify with the quarterback, but I would love nothing else that for us as fans to identify with Washington this year. I’d love for him to be our champion because I think he’s special.

2. Jinks. This is about Mike Jinks and how awesome he is. It’s nice for me to just come out and say what it is. I never saw the associate head coach thing coming, and that’s kinda cool, to have something happen that is completely unexpected and that was it for me. So here we are, Jinks is the associate head coach and of all of the things that happened this offseason, this may be the most important. Kingsbury passed up all his friends. His college teammates. His former Red Raiders. And Kingsbury named an “outsider” to be an associate head coach. That speaks to Jinks more than anything else and despite not having a prior relationship with Jinks (other than maybe as a recruiter), Jinks has become the second man in charge for most intents and purposes (aside from Gibbs as defensive coordinator). And quite frankly, I’m excited to see how and if the process changes. Maybe more than anything else.

3. Pipeline. The pipeline is pretty significant and Texas Tech is back on track of taking a running back every year (two last year) and I’m loving the depth at Texas Tech. There are so many encouraging things and we really haven’t even scratched the surface of what the running backs are capable of doing, in particular Demarcus Felton and Justin Stockton. Stockton flashed, very much flashed, and it’s clear that he’s going to be a home run hitter for Texas Tech this year and in the future. With Felton (5-7/188), I think you’ll see DeAndre Washington 2.0 (who is 5-8/198), not a clone, just really similar and if you consider Felton that he’s so similar to Washington, then redshirting him became that much more understandable. Texas Tech is set up for years at running back and that feels really good.

4. Talking About Some Fullbacks. Quinton White isn’t exactly a full-time fullback and I think I may be the rare person that thinks that White is still going to be a big part of the rotation next year when Washington graduates. Not just as a fullback. I think the difference between White and what the coaches want out of their starter is that that they want a running back to have a bit more quickness than what White has. Aside from White, you also have returning John Scalzi (6-4/237), who missed a few too many blocks last year. Maybe “missed” is a bad word, but I never got the sense that he had this innate ability to “block the hell outta someone” and maybe we’ll see that with Mason Reed (6-2/221) and Stanton Keane (6-0/222). Reed was a fantastic runner from Cisco who rushed for nearly 4,000 yards as a high schooler and Keane, who is a former quarterback at Cooper that played that position out of need and did quite well.

5. Expectations. Texas Tech rushed for 1,836 yards last year, which is the best year since 2010, when Texas Tech rushed for 1,837. The biggest difference between that year and this year? Touchdowns, 17 in 2010 and only 8 in 2014. Aside from the touchdowns it was the most successful year in four years and that’s progress in my book. If Texas Tech can get those touchdowns that the offense doesn’t have to pass the ball inside the 10 yard line then you’ve got a ridiculously potent offense. Let’s get to 15 this year and then next year, let’s be an offense that averages 2,000 yards on the ground and 20 touchdowns. With the stable of backs, including Corey Dauphine, this seems realistic. Especially with those offensive linemen that Texas Tech recruited.

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