football

Preview: Uncertainty at DB

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There is talent in the Texas Tech secondary. The objective is going to be
sorting through everyone to put the best possible defensive backfield out there
against some aggressive pass offenses in the Big 12 Conference.
The secondary is going through an identity crisis as mainstay safeties Cody
Davis and D.J. Johnson have exhausted eligibility after starting for four and
three years respectively. Last year's primary starting cornerbacks, Cornelius
Douglas and Eugene Neboh, also have graduated from the program to create a blank
slate with hardly any experience available.
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in the secondary. Redshirt freshman Keenon Ward has been moved to
safety after a little bit of debate of where he best fit, and as former Tech
receiver Shawn Corker also will get a look at safety.
There are more experienced options available at safety as well.
Tre' Porter moves from playing predominantly the nickel position last
year to safety and will most likely anchor the unit at the strong safety
position considering his athleticism. There won't be much of a drop off between
Johnson and Porter this spring.
J.J. Gaines is someone who could step into a starting position at
safety this year after an impressive fall camp as a redshirt freshman and a
little bit of playing time in the 2012 season. His stock is definitely on the
rise.
Rising senior Austin Stewart rounds out players who could see playing
time at safety.
There are less established options at cornerback.
This could be rising senior Bruce Jones's year after some significant
playing time his first year on campus. Derrick Mays and Olaoluwa
Falemi also are returning for their senior years.
Maybe it's time for some freshmen to step up. The Red Raiders have a lot of
young options at cornerback.
La'Darius Newbold, Brandon Bagley and Theirry Nguema
are now burning eligibility and sophomore Jeremy Reynolds was once a
promising player who could recapture a spark in spring ball.
Tech has a lot of options to fill out the secondary and have some depth behind
the starters. It's just going to be a process to get the defensive backfield
sorted out.
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PRESSURE IS ON: It's hard to believe, but Porter is already a
senior. He's battled injuries and, like others on the roster, been moved around
quite a bit as a result of the Red Raiders' seemingly annual shift to another
base defensive scheme. Porter will be looked at to plug one of the team's holes
in the secondary -- at safety -- and is the most proven player that returns to
the defensive backfield.
BIGGEST QUESTION: Who emerges as the favorite for the second
safety spot? Keenon Ward enters the spring with a fair amount of buzz
surrounding him, but he'll be going through his first spring so it's hard to
pencil him in for anything yet. Could Shawn Corker make a push after being moved
from wide receiver? Will Austin Stewart step up?
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