When the 2020 Texas Tech football season arrives, these players will have an opportunity to shine after being just role players in 2019.
About this time last month, no one knew if there was even going to be a Texas Tech football season as the coronavirus pandemic threatened to take fall sports away from us. But now, the 2020 season appears almost certain to take place in some form or fashion.
The first phase in Big 12 football’s return was announced late last week. Friday, the conference announced a plan for athletes to return to their respective campuses with all being able to back working out with the coaches by July 15.
“We look forward to bringing our student-athletes back to campus,” Texas Tech Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said. “As I’ve stated previously, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff will continue to be a priority in each of our decisions. For the past several weeks, our sports medicine team, in conjunction with our team physicians and local health authorities, have been working together to allow us to develop a smart and comprehensive plan to safely allow our student-athletes to resume voluntary strength and conditioning workouts. At this time, we anticipate opening our facilities on June 15 for returning football student-athletes and then welcoming many of our newcomers two weeks later. We remain optimistic and will continue to plan for football this season.”
Of course, the Big 12 isn’t the final authority in this unprecedented event. In fact, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby recently admitted that the state and local government regulations will play a massive role in the return of athletes to campus, which might create a competitive imbalance among universities.
Speaking to CBSSports.com’s Ben Kercheval, Bowlsby said, “We’re used to having what we have euphemistically called a level playing field or competitive fairness. I think we all know some campuses have advantages, some university towns have advantages. Some regions have better recruiting than others. So [competitive equality] is largely a mirage. We all like to do the same things so we have a fair chance to compete. And this is a situation where we’re just not always going to be able to do that. To the extent that we have an institution or a couple of institutions that can’t start on time or perhaps have a disruption during the course of the season, we’ll just have to deal with those things.”
What is most important though, is the fact that almost all parties involved are talking about when players can return and not if. Thus, we have reason to be confident in the eventual playing of the 2020 season.
So with that in mind, we can look towards what we might see on the field this fall. As we do that today, let’s look not at players we all know will be thrust into key roles but instead, let’s take a look at some under-the-radar players who have an opportunity to step out of the shadows this year and become integral components of the Texas Tech football program.