Le’Raven’s developement key for Red Raiders

BY JOE YEGER
Raider Power


Rockdale’s Le’Raven Clark enters the 2012 season as a starter as a redshirt freshman. 
Reporter/Bill Martin Rockdale’s Le’Raven Clark enters the 2012 season as a starter as a redshirt freshman. Reporter/Bill Martin LUBBOCK—Redshirt freshman Le’Raven Clark is hardly the most accomplished player on the team right now. But he is listed as a starter at a very important position, and that is why he is one of the most important players on the team.

The 6-foot-6, 310-pound redhirt freshman from Rockdale would not be in the starting lineup—despite his utter inexperience—unless the coaching staff believed he had worlds of talent.

Clark was given the “most improved player” award at the team’s banquet.

It would have been the easiest thing to shuffle offensive line personnel, place Terry McDaniel at right tackle, and stash Clark on the second unit behind McDaniel.

But that’s not what Texas Teach head coach Tommy Tuberville and offensive coordinator Neal Brown and offensive lineman coach Chris Thomsen felt like they should do with one of their most talented offensive players.

Instead, the idea was to get Clark tons of reps this past spring against Tech’s best defensive players.

The logic behind this decision was that a baptism by fire would quicken Clark’s development and whip him into a legitimate starting Big 12 offensive lineman.

And if Clark faltered, there would still be the option of moving McDaniel (or current backup left tackle Rashad Fortenberry) to right tackle.

So how did Clark fare in the spring?

There’s no denying the fact he struggled considerably. Clark faced off against Dartwan Bush, Tech’s premiere pass rusher, and lost more battles than he won.

Bush spent an awful lot of time whispering sweet nothings through Seth Doege and Michael Brewer’s earholes.

But Clark did show signs of improvement late in the spring. He seemed to stabilize as a competent starter in the offensive line.

That may sound like faint praise, but it’s not. For, if Clark can continue to take baby steps through fall camp and non-conference play, he may indeed be able to start against Big 12 competition.

And that would be huge because Clark is what the Tech coaches want in a right tackle.

His solidification, moreover, would obviate the need to play musical linemen, and in turn, would help the line gel more quickly.

Clark was a two-time, All- State lineman for Rockdale, graduating in 2010.

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Those looking for an opportunity to see Clark play will have a chance on Sept. 8 when Texas Tech travels to San Marcos for a battle with Texas State at 6 p.m.

The Red Raiders play Texas at home this season.

Texas Tech suffered through a 5-7 season, including a 2-7 ledger in the Big 12 after opening the year at 4-0.

It was the first losing season for the Red Raiders since 2002.


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2012-07-19 digital edition



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