Kliff Kingsbury sheds light on a few position battles
UPDATE: Within an hour of posting this story, RB Da'Leon Ward was arrested and booked in Lubbock County Jail for theft. The story spread like wildfire on Twitter. But Ward's case was dismissed by noon Texas time.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury met with the media on Tuesday and, while he stiff-armed a direct question about who the starting quarterback will be versus Ole Miss on September 1, he did offer a couple of interesting tidbits.
Kingsbury has talked more about emphasizing the running game the last year or so and he did it again on Tuesday, saying it’s a priority for the Red Raiders to run the ball efficiently. He pointed to an experienced offensive line and running backs Da’Leon Ward and Demarcus Felton as reasons to be optimistic. That’s a bit of a surprise, not that Kingsbury would mention Ward, but more so that he singled out Felton, who played a supporting role last season. Does that mean Felton put in the offseason work and is primed for a good senior season? Has he pushed ahead of Tre King in the pecking order at running back?
Whatever the answers to those questions, it’s pretty clear that Kingsbury is high on Ward. When asked who stood out in the scrimmage on Saturday, Kingsbury highlighted Ward and defensive lineman Joe Wallace.
“The ones that keep showing up are guys that sat out last year, Joe Wallace and Da’Leon Ward, that redshirted,” Kingsbury said. “(They’re) explosive players, much more mature approach and have come back bigger, faster, stronger, and have played well through camp so far.”
The other interesting piece of information was that Madison Akamnonu has beaten out Dawson Deaton at the left guard spot. That means the Red Raiders officially have an intact returning offensive line. Kingsbury said Deaton will be the “duct tape” guy because he can backup several different positions along the line.
EXTRA POINT: Kingsbury indicated that he knows who the Red Raiders’ QB1 is.
Here's a look at the whole interview: