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20. TEXAS TECH

Aug. 26, 1996
Aug. 26, 1996

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Aug. 26, 1996

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College Football '96

20. TEXAS TECH

Texas Tech coach William (Spike) Dykes is always quick with an
encouraging word, but he also knows tough love. Junior defensive
end Tony Daniels found that out when he began to encounter
academic troubles during the second semester of his freshman
year. Dykes couldn't reach Daniels by phone, and when he showed
up at his dorm room, the player wasn't there. Finally Dykes
found him in a dining hall and delivered his message without a
trace of Southern hospitality. "He told me he had promised my
mother I'd get a degree from Texas Tech, and he was going to
make sure of it," Daniels recalls. "He said, 'I may be an old
guy, and you may get the best of me, but in the end, you'll know
you've been in a fight.'"

This is an article from the Aug. 26, 1996 issue Original Layout

The Red Raiders would do well to adopt that as a mantra for the
next few years as they try to establish themselves in the Big
12. Before Dykes took over as head coach in 1986, Tech had
enjoyed one winning season in the previous eight years. Since
then Dykes has led the Raiders to four bowl games, and the
Raiders have finished first or second in the Southwest
Conference every year since '91. With six '95 bowl teams on its
slate this season, however, Texas Tech's recently acquired
respectability will be tested as never before. "We're going to
have to grow up in a hurry," Dykes says.

Which is not to say they're not up to the challenge. The
Raiders, who finished 9-3 last season, have two of the most
potent offensive weapons in the country in running back Byron
Hanspard, an ordained Pentecostal minister whom the school is
touting as a Heisman Trophy candidate, and quarterback Zebbie
Lethridge, both juniors. Sophomore Sheldon Bass, who led the
team in receiving as a true freshman in '94, is back after
missing last season with a broken collarbone, and four players
who have started return to the offensive line. Tech's offense
will have to produce the way it did a year ago--on 41 trips
inside their opponent's 20-yard line, the Raiders scored 31
touchdowns--because the defense graduated its top three tacklers.

But the program can continue to grow even if Tech drops a few
games to big-name opponents this season--as long as those teams
leave the field knowing they've been in a fight.

--S.D.

COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS With Lethridge at the controls, Tech will be potent in the Big 12. [Zebbie Lethridge in game]