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June 27, 2013You're excited for the new video board at Jones AT&T Stadium, but do the players care about it?
Uh, yeah. They certainly do.
Eric Ward and Bradley Marquez joined Chris Level and Brian Hanni on the Lubbock radio show "Tech Talk" on Double T 104.3 FM to talk about their contrasting offseasons and what to expect from a Kliff Kingsbury led team this season.
"Of course you're excited about it because you want to see the replay on the screen," Ward said. "I love to look at it after I catch the ball and I know everyone else wants to see themselves on the screen as well."
There could be a lot of replays for Ward to watch as a player who could have opted to skip his senior year of college for the NFL. He lead all returning receivers from last year's squad with 82 catches for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns while playing in 12 games.
Kingsbury's offense is supposed to be wide open. Ward says the play calling gives him, Marquez and a robust group of receivers more freedom.
So there could be a lot of video board watching.
"Around the facility, I think it's just more freedom to be yourself," Ward said. "You're not, for lack of a better term, expected to be like someone you're not. The coaches respect you and you respect them for having a playing background. There's more freedom to just go out there and make plays and be creative with it as well."
Ward is in Lubbock training with the rest of the team on a day-to-day basis.
Marquez, however, has contractual obligations to the New York Mets' organization and is spending his summer months with the Kingsport (Tenn.) Mets of the Appalachian League, a rookie ball system.
"We got the season started on the 20th," Marquez said. "It was nice to finally get done with the extended spring training which I was at for about a month. I'm getting to see some competition from other teams. The season is going good right now, a lot better than it was last season."
That's good news for Red Raider fans. Marquez suffered a season-ending knee injury against West Virginia last season.
"Aug. 1 is the first day of fall camp and I'll be there," he said. "I'll hopefully get to Lubbock a couple of days before that and then be ready for fall camp on Aug. 1."
Both players will be catching the ball from first-year quarterback Michael Brewer, a redshirt sophomore.
Ward says Brewer has developed as a leader in a multitude of ways since Seth Doege played his final downs.
"The thing I like most about Michael Brewer is he is assertive," Ward said. "He's experienced and knows what it's like to play in a Big 12 game. He's a leader as well. He's younger than I am, but I feel like I look up to him as well as Davis Webb."
Ward will be depending on Brewer to help him create highlights for NFL scouts this season.
At the same time, Ward is working on things to make his end of the equation as strong as it can be.
"I just want to focus on yards after the catch more," he said. "Just running cleaner and crisper routes. And just finishing. My main objective is to finish plays when I get out there. Then just continuing to make key blocks for the running backs and whoever else is running the ball. Just be a team player overall."
Marquez is fully healthy and should be a key receiver for the Red Raiders this upcoming season.
"Simply as a precautionary, the coaches kept me out of the scrimmages and any of the live tackling (this spring)," Marquez said. "They wanted me to be ready for baseball and they knew football season wasn't until August and they didn't need me right then. They didn't want to cause me anything to further hurt me for baseball.
"When I got to the Mets, the trainers had been in contact with Tech and everyone was in the loop. They knew I was 100 percent and when I got down here I had a physical and got a full go with no restrictions."
To listen to Ward's interview, click here.
To listen to Marquez's interview, click here.
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