Young Texas Tech outside linebackers getting their shot in spring football

Texas Tech outside linebackers coach C.j. Ah You talks about which young players are stepping up for his group as injuries thin the numbers at that position in the spring.
UCF v Texas Tech
UCF v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

This spring, injuries have caused the Texas Tech football program to be somewhat depleted at the outside linebacker spot. In fact, offensive lineman Kasen Long has moved to outside linebacker so that the program will have enough depth to make it through the spring.

Still, a number of young players at that position are getting a shot to showcase what they can do. Monday, assistant coach C.J. Ah You spoke to the media about where his position group is right now.

“We're building depth," he said, "you know we're building depth and value with the guys that are healthy right now and are doing it. They're getting a lot of valuable snaps that usually would be kind of spread out and so a lot of guys are getting more snaps than normal which is really good for our room.”

With players such as Isaac Smith, Joseph Adedire, Dylan Spencer, and Isaiah Crawford all limited to varying degrees this spring, young players are getting to stand out. Ah You was asked which specific players have impressed thus far.

"Harvey [Dyson] and Charles Esters are having a very solid spring practice," he said. "Amier [Washington] is doing some good things. Dylan [Spencer] as well. And then the young guys are in the learning process.”

Washington is a player that has been top of mind since he had three sacks in the Independence Bowl win over Cal. It was his first game at outside linebacker after he was moved there from defensive end. Ah You talked about what he's seen from the redshirt freshman thus far.

"He’s making strides," he said, "you know he's still learning the position so this time during spring has been very beneficial for him.”

As for how that bowl game impacted Washington, Ah You said that it was a positive experience.

“That probably made him hungry," he said, "you know that's just the start though you know. What he did last year, it was last year. This year is a whole new year so we'll see how things go.”

With so many players getting extra reps this spring, Texas Tech stands to potentially build some quality depth. Ah You said that there are some young players who he is excited about.

“So like Isaiah Crawford was off to a good start," he said, "you know, he was building on some things. Dylan’s still considered young, you know. He came in with the same class so he was building up on confidence and he's playing faster. The great thing about it is that everybody in my room besides Kasen Long, this is their second or third year in the system. So you're starting to see guys play a lot faster you know which is the general progression so it's just fun seeing them not be able to think so much and just go play ball.”

Currently, Dyson and Esters have received the most first-team reps. Ah You expounded on why that has been the case.

“It’s just consistency," he said. To see the progression of Charles Esters go from our first year to now you know it's kind of a natural trend with [the] playbook playing fast just like I said.  He's just being able to play ball and play a lot faster, make quicker decisions. Harvey’s the same way you know, it's his second or third year in the system as well so they're starting to reap the benefits of that you know they just got to keep going, just can't stay comfortable that's the biggest thing.”

Finally, Ah You was asked who he was looking to for leadership. Naturally, he said he would take it from whoever wanted to provide it.

“Whoever will step up, you know," he said. "I think Joe [Adedire} has the most…playing time, you know with us. But any one of those guys right now we're just looking for guys who do it the right way. It could be more than one leader to do it you know it's just one mindset and everybody just has to embrace that.”