August 8, 2011

Ontiveros ready to get physical

Monday's practice will be the Red Raiders' first with shoulder pads and it's an opportunity to differentiate the contenders from the pretenders in positional competitions.

Sophomore fullback Omar Ontiveros is excited to put the pads on and get to work.

"I haven't been doing much since we've been without pads out here. I'm just looking forward to us strapping on the pads," Ontiveros said. "I think starting (Monday) I'll be able to showcase my talents. I can't really do much when I'm a blocking back and we're just easing into it."

Ontiveros, a walk-on from Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, really came into the spotlight with a good spring while blocking for running backs Eric Stephens and Ronnie Daniels. He even got some touches himself and was able to power forward for yards.

He's hoping he can reciprocate that effort when the pads are put back on.

A former defensive lineman, Ontiveros was able to manhandle quite a few of the defensive players during the full-contact spring game and consistently helped the Red Raider running backs eek out the extra yards.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said Ontiveros has a job in the two-back sets.

"He did a great job in the spring and he's a perfect fit for what we do," the coach said. "We don't do a lot of two-back but what we do we'll do it with him and tight end Jace Amaro. Of course, we've got a lot of backs too. We'll play two of our smaller backs on the field at the same time some times, we'll get into that later in two-a-days.

"The depth that we have is going to make a tremendous difference in what we can do, especially guys like Omar and Jace Amaro and all the running backs we have. It's going to give us a different look as we head into the first game of the season."

The blocking back is something Red Raiders have rarely seen for more that a decade but it could be making a comeback. It should in Ontiveros' opinion.

"I think a blocking back is really going to help us in the short yardage game and we've never really had it so I think we're going to surprise a lot of people when we have this new ability to throw an extra block coming out of the backfield."

Ontiveros said second-year running back coach Chad Scott has instilled a new culture at the running back position at Texas Tech. A culture of physicality.

That's why Tuberville is comfortable with the idea of having any two backs on the field at the same time blocking for each other.

Ontiveros, however, is the guy who will get the nod in short yardage situations as things stand right now.

"I think all of us, we're taught to be a physical group," Ontiveros said. "That's something we work on every day and all of us busted our butts this summer in the weight room getting stronger and more physical. I think as a whole group we're one of the more physical groups on this team. Me myself, whatever I can do to contribute to this team I'll do. I'm really excited about the things we can do.

"I think we're going to be capable of doing a lot as a whole. A lot of the young guys are very fast and all around I think they're going to try to utilize everybody for a really good running game."

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