Arlington Sam Houston grad, Texas Tech making offensive strides

Posted Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Like the No. 25 Texas Tech Red Raiders, offensive lineman Alfredo Morales entered the season as an unknown.

Tech (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) had a new coach in Kliff Kingsbury. Morales, a sophomore out of Arlington Sam Houston, had a long injury history.

So far in 2012, however, both Morales and the Red Raiders have been solid. Three straight wins have Tech ranked. And Morales is turning into a constant as the team’s starting left guard. Still, he said the Red Raiders have a long way to go.

“It means a lot to be in the Top 25, shows how hard we worked,” he said. “But the rankings really don’t matter. We just have to keep getting better.”

Morales suffered a shoulder injury that led to a medical redshirt in 2011. Last season, when Tech popped into the Associated Press Top 25 in Week 7 and then dropped back out in week 12, Morales had four starts and played in 10 games.

But at the end of the 2012 season, Morales suffered another shoulder injury and needed surgery.

He missed spring practices but worked hard enough in fall camp to earn the starting position at left guard.

“We have a great training staff here that helped me get back to 100 percent after my injury,” Morales said. “I just kept working on a lot of stuff during that time, like my footwork.”

Kingsbury, the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M last season, has his offense averaging 40.7 points and 509.3 yards a game. A 20-10 win against then-ranked TCU last week vaulted Tech into the Top 25.

“The sky is the limit for this team,” said Morales, who is happy to be on the field again. “We have to keep working. It’s all about communication up front on the line to make sure we are on the exact same page.

“We will improve. Our offense hasn’t reached its peak. We need to pick up the tempo, pick up blocks, and we need to get the running game going.”

Tech (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) will take on Texas State (2-0) on Saturday (6 p.m., Fox Sports Plus).

Games of the week

No. 23 Arizona State at No. 5 Stanford (6 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/4): The Pac-12 is supplying the lone Top 25 matchup this week, and it features an Arizona State team coming off a controversial win against Wisconsin. The clock ran out on the Badgers while they were trying to get in position for a game-winning field goal. Time may have run out on the Sun Devils (2-0) this week, though, having to play a tough Stanford (2-0) team on the road in the conference opener for both schools.

Auburn at No. 6 LSU (6:45 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): Since beating TCU in the first game of the season, the Tigers (3-0) haven’t been challenged. This week, Auburn (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) will be riding the momentum of its last-second win against Mississippi State and could make the game interesting. And in rivalry games, anything can happen.

Michigan State at No. 22 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m. Saturday, KXAS/5): Neither team has proved much this season. The Spartans (3-0) have won three easy games, against Western Michigan, South Florida and Youngstown State. Notre Dame (2-1) beat Temple and Purdue but couldn’t top Michigan on the road. Both teams need a win. Michigan State would gain momentum, possibly a Top 25 ranking, heading into its Big Ten opener at Iowa on Oct. 5. A loss for Notre Dame would most likely drop the Irish, who played in the national-championship game last season, out of the rankings.

Tennessee at No. 19 Florida (2:30 p.m. Saturday, KTVT/11): The gauntlet continues for the Volunteers (2-1), who play at Florida (1-1) in the SEC opener for both teams. Tennessee lost 59-14 at No. 2 Oregon last week. The good news for the Volunteers: A turnover-prone Florida team looked lost in its last game, a 21-16 defeat against rival Miami. The bad news: Florida has had two weeks to watch that game film and get angry.

Numbers game

9.0 Overnight household rating for the CBS broadcast of No. 1 Alabama’s 49-42 win at Texas A&M last weekend. The rating, along with a share of 21, was the highest-rated, regular-season broadcast for CBS in 23 years (since Notre Dame beat Miami 29-20 on Oct. 20, 1990).

9 Straight scoring drives for Oregon in its 59-14 win against Tennessee. The Volunteers had scored first for a 7-0 lead, and the Ducks punted and missed a field goal on its first two possessions. But Oregon recovered and couldn’t be stopped. The Ducks made a field goal to cut Tennessee’s lead to 7-3 and then reeled off eight straight touchdowns, four passing and four rushing, starting with 4:17 left in the first quarter and finishing late in the third.

Quotable

“In the middle, we settled down and played halfway decent.” — Alabama coach Nick Saban on his team’s defense in a 49-42 win against Texas A&M. Saban referenced the Aggies strong start (led 14-0) and frantic finish, where A&M scored 21 points in the final eight minutes. “On the ends, we didn’t do very well.”

“We look forward to turning on the electricity in Tiger Stadium.” — LSU coach Les Miles on the excitement surrounding the rivalry game against Auburn on Saturday night. The game has produced historic moments for both schools.

Like his No. 25 Texas Tech Red Raiders, offensive lineman Alfredo Morales entered the season as an unknown.

Tech (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) had a new coach in Kliff Kingsbury. Morales, a redshirt sophomore out of Arlington Sam Houston, had a long injury history.

So far in 2012, however, both Morales and the Red Raiders have been solid. Three straight wins have Tech ranked. And Morales is turning into a constant as the team's starting left guard. Still, he says the Red Raiders have a long way to go.

“It means a lot to be in the Top 25, shows how hard we worked,” he said. “But the rankings really don’t matter. We just have to keep getting better.”

Morales suffered a shoulder injury that led to a medical redshirt in 2011. Last season, when Tech popped into the Associated Press Top 25 in week seven and then dropped back out in week 12, Morales had four starts and played in 10 games.

But at the end of the 2012 season, Morales suffered another shoulder injury and needed surgery. He missed spring practices but worked hard enough in fall camp to earn the starting position at left guard.

“We have a great training staff here that helped me get back to 100 percent after my injury,” Morales said. “I just kept working on a lot of stuff during that time, like my footwork.”

Kingsbury, the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M last season, has his offense is averaging 40.7 points a game and 509.3 yards a game. A 20-10 win against then-ranked TCU last week vaulted Tech into the Top 25.

“The sky is the limit for this team,” said Morales, who is happy to be on the field again. “We have to keep working. It’s all about communication up front on the line to make sure we are on the exact same page.

“We will improve. Our offense hasn’t reached its peak. We need to pick up the tempo, pick up blocks, and we need to get the running game going.”

Tech (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) will take on Texas State (2-0) Saturday.

Games of the week

No. 23 Arizona State at No. 5 Stanford (6 p.m. Saturday, FOX): The Pac-12 is supplying the lone Top-25 matchup this week, and it features an Arizona State team coming off a controversial win against Wisconsin. The clock ran out on the Badgers while they were trying to get in position for a game-winning field goal. The clock may have run out on Sun Devils (2-0) this week, though, as they have to play a tough Stanford (2-0) team on the road in the conference opener for both schools.

Auburn at No. 6 LSU (6:45 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): Since beating TCU in the first game of the season, the Tigers (3-0) haven’t been challenged. This week, Auburn (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) will be riding the momentum of its last-second win against Mississippi State and could make the game interesting early. And in rivalry games, anything can happen.

Michigan State at No. 22 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC): Neither team has proved much this season. The Spartans (3-0) have won three easy games, against Western Michigan, South Florida and Youngstown State. Notre Dame (2-1) beat Temple and Purdue but couldn’t top Michigan on the road. Both teams need a win in this game. Michigan State would gain momentum, possibly a Top 25 ranking, heading into its Big 10 opener at Iowa on Oct. 5. A loss for Notre Dame would most likely drop the Irish, who played in the national-championship game last season, out of the rankings.

Tennessee at No. 19 Florida (2:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS): The gauntlet continues for the Volunteers (2-1) who get to go on the road to play Florida (1-1) in the SEC opener for both teams. Tennessee lost 59-14 at No. 2 Oregon last week. The good news for the Volunteers: a turnover-prone Florida team looked lost in its last game, a 21-16 defeat against rival Miami. The bad news: Florida has had two weeks to watch that game film and get angry.

Numbers game

9.0 – overnight household rating for the CBS broadcast of No. 1 Alabama’s 49-42 win at Texas A&M last weekend. The rating, along with a share of 21, was the highest-rated, regular-season broadcast for CBS in 23 years (Notre Dame beating Miami 29-20 on Oct. 20, 1990).

9 – straight scoring drives for Oregon in its 59-14 win against Tennessee. The Volunteers had scored first for a 7-0 lead, and the Ducks punted and missed a field goal on its first two possessions. But Oregon recovered and couldn’t be stopped. The Ducks made a field goal to cut Tennessee’s lead to 7-3 and then reeled off eight straight touchdowns, four passing and four rushing, on eight straight drives starting with 4:17 left in the first quarter and finished late in the third.

Quotable

“In the middle, we settled down and played halfway decent.” — Alabama coach Nick Saban on his team’s defense in a 49-42 win against Texas A&M. Saban referenced the Aggies strong start (led 14-0) and frantic finish, where A&M scored 21 points in the final eight minutes. “On the ends, we didn’t do very well.”

“We look forward to turning on the electricity in Tiger Stadium.” — LSU coach Les Miles on the excitement surrounding the Tigers rivalry game against Auburn Saturday night. The game has produced some historic moments for both schools.

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