football

Raiders backfield is deep and talented

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The 2010 edition of the Texas Tech Red Raiders offense will remind many of the
high-scoring juggernaut units that fans in southwest Texas are accustomed to
seeing. The one element of the offense that will be slightly adjusted will be
the amount of carries from the backfield.
That is good news for Texas Tech's leading rushing from a year ago,
Baron Batch,
and the group of backs that will help form one of Tech's deepest backfields in
recent memory.
"The biggest difference is you will see these guys a lot more than you did in
the past," running backs coach Chad Scott said. "We will have a lot of
situations where you will see Baron Batch and Eric Stephens on the field at the
same time."
Batch led the team last season with 884 yards on the ground on 168 carries while
also leading the team with 15 touchdowns (14 rushing). His rushing yards placed
him seventh in the Big 12 Conference and he finished second in the league in
touchdowns while earning honorable mention All-Big 12.
Also returning in the backfield for the Red Raiders are Eric Stephens (So.) and
Harrison Jeffers (So.), who combined for 471 yards last season on 84 carries.
The returning duo also tallied six touchdowns, four of which came from Jeffers.
PLAYERS IN THE MIX (NUMERICAL)
#10 Harrison Jeffers (5-7, 201, So./1L)
#20 Josh Talbott (6-0, 201, Fr./Sq)
#24 Eric Stephens (5-8, 192, So./1L)
#25 Baron Batch (5-10, 210, Sr./3L)
#31 Tim Graves (5-9, 170, Fr./HS)
#32 Aaron Crawford (5-10, 205, Jr./1L)
#34 Ben McRoy (5-9, 160, Fr./HS)
#36 Gerardo Acevedo (6-1, 212, Sr./1L)
#37 Andre McCorkle (6-1, 210, Sr./Sq)
BIG GAME BATCH
Baron Batch produced some big games during his junior season, which includes
rushing for a career-high four touchdowns against Kansas (10/31) and tallying a
career-best 136 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns against one of the top
defenses in the nation, Oklahoma (11/21). Entering the 2009 season, Batch had
yet to notch a 100-yard rushing performance, that all changed as he logged four
of them all after week three. Batch finished off his junior campaign with a
memorable Alamo Bowl where he scored twice, including the final score which put
Tech up 10 points with 2:08 remaining. Batch led the Red Raiders in the Alamo
Bowl rushing for 101 yards on 22 carries.
HE'S HERE, HE'S THERE, HE'S EVERYWHERE
Not only a threat to defenses on the ground, sophomore back Eric Stephens will
also hurt teams by catching passes out of the backfield and in the kicking game
as a return specialist. He totaled 136 all-purpose yards in the Red Raiders'
bowl victory over Michigan State as he rushed for 31 yards, caught three passes
for 33 yards and returned three kickoffs for 72 yards. In fact, Stephens cruised
by the school's all-time single-season return yardage mark recording 823 yards
on 32 returns as a freshman. The previous record - set in 1990 - was 621 yards
by Rodney Blackshear. His 32 returns are a school record and Stephens also set
the school record for return yards in a single-game with 182 against Texas
(9/19).
JEFFERS MADE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT FOR TECH
It didn't take long for Harrison Jeffers to have his name called in the Texas
Tech offense as a redshirt freshman in 2009 as he led the team in rushing in
only his second collegiate game. Jeffers made an impact for the Red Raiders both
rushing the ball out of the backfield and in the receiving game as well. He
caught five passes for 39 yards in his college debut against North Dakota (9/5)
and he matched his season-high five receptions in week five against New Mexico
(9/26) where he marked a season-best 90 yards through the air against the Lobos.
Jeffers carried four times for 57 yards against Houston while reaching the end
zone for his first collegiate touchdown. He had a breakthrough performance
against New Mexico with not only his 90-yards receiving, but also scoring four
touchdowns (three rushing).
DON'T FORGET ABOUT CRAWFORD
Aaron Crawford received a medical redshirt in 2008 after appearing in just two
games. He then played in 10 games last season. But it was as a true freshman in
2007 when Crawford had a breakthrough campaign. He was second on the team in
rushing yards (450) and rushing touchdowns (4) and became the first true
freshman at Tech since the start of the decade to score four touchdowns in a
game (at Baylor - 11/3/07). His 29-yard rush against Colorado in 2007 marked the
longest by a Red Raider for the season.
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