Tech offensive line revved to run block

The happiest guy on the offensive side of things for the Texas Tech Red Raiders just might be tailback Baron Batch. The senior knows the ball's coming to him a whole heck of a lot more this season.

That much new coach Tommy Tubberville has promised. Even if the Red Raiders throw it 60/40, Batch will surely tote the football more than the 168 times he did last season (for 884 yards), which could push him past 1,000 yards and give Tech its first 1,000-yard rusher since Spike Dykes roamed the sideline.

That also delights the big bruisers up front who have spent their careers perfecting pass blocking. Suffice to say, things have evened out during fall camp.

"We do about quadruple the amount of [running] drills," Tech senior tackle Chris Olson recently told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Last season, Tech ranked 115th in the nation in rushing (84.0 ypg) and second in passing (386.8 ypg). Tuberville has consistently said he plans to continue an aerial attack, and the hiring of offensive coordinator Neal Brown from Troy is evidence of that, but the goal will be to run more, to use more two-back sets and to become a more physical offensive football team.

"Our run game has improved tremendously,” offensive guard Lonnie Edwards told the Avalanche-Journal. “We work a lot more on the run game. We’ve got a lot more flexibility with the new [conditioning] program and I think that’s helped us a lot in getting low and driving people. I think that’s going to be a big factor, too."

The upstart SMU Mustangs will be the first to check out the new-look Red Raiders Sunday in Lubbock. The game is at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.