If the 2014 college football season started tomorrow, the Red Raiders would have a two-deep made up of equal parts experience and brand new faces.
Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal has been breaking down each position individually and looking at the depth behind the spring starters. This is by no means set in stone, but rather how the coaches plan to distribute the practice reps for the next month.
|Quarterback||Davis Webb, Soph.||Tanner Tausch, Fr.|
|Running Back||Kenny Williams, Sr. / DeAndre Washington, Jr.||Quinton White, Soph.|
|X-Receiver||Devin Lauderdale, Soph.||D.J. Polite-Bray, Soph.|
|Y-Receiver||Bradley Marquez, Sr.||Dylan Cantrell, Soph.|
|H-Receiver||Jakeem Grant, Jr.||Jordan Davis, Sr.|
|Z-Receiver||Reginald Davis, Soph.||The field|
|Left Tackle||Le'Raven Clark, Jr.||Trey Keenan, Soph.|
|Left Gaurd||Alfredo Morales, Jr.||Baylen Brown, Soph.|
|Center||Tony Morales, Jr.||Baylen Brown, Soph.|
|Right Gaurd||James Polk, Sr.||Josh Outlaw, Fr.|
|Right Tackle||Rashad Fortenberry, Sr.||Poet Thomas, Fr.|
|Defensive End||Branden Jackson, Jr.||Zach Barnes, Soph.|
|Nose Gaurd||Anthony Smith, Soph.||Donte Phillips, Soph.|
|Defensive Tackle||Demetrius Alston, Jr.||Jackson Richards, Sr.|
|Bandit LB||Pete Robertson, Jr.||Zach Winbush, Sr.|
|Mike LB||Micah Awe, Jr.||V.J. Fehoko, Sr.|
|Will LB||Sam Eguavoen, Sr.||Malik Jenkins, Soph.|
|Raider LB||Dorian Crawford, Sr.||Collin Bowen, Fr.|
|Field CB||Justis Nelson, Soph.||Dee Paul, Soph.|
|Strong Safety||Josh Keys, Jr.||Jalen Barnes, Fr.|
|Free Safety||Keenon Ward, Soph.||John White, Jr.|
|Boundary CB||Thierry Nguema, Soph.||Tyler Middleton, Jr.|
It’s encouraging to see so many young players cracking the two-deep, especially as backups to more experienced players. What you don’t want to see is a young guy backed up by a host of juniors and seniors, because that usually says more about the older backups than the young starter.
The extreme youth and inexperience at cornerback is somewhat concerning. The fact that Justis Nelson is by far the most experienced (three starts) of the four sophomores that make up the two-deep at both positions isn’t confidence-instilling. Coach Curtis has his work cut out for him.
Some prominent starters from last season, namely center Jared Kaster and safety J.J. Gaines, are recovering from injuries and won’t be participating fully in spring practice. That explains their rather conspicuous absence, seeing as both are the assumed starters at center and strong safety.