The Norman Transcript

October 7, 2012

Tech student section is the best in the Big 12

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech is well known for having the rowdiest crowd in the Big 12. But, really, it’s just another way of saying that the Red Raiders have the best student section in the conference.

On the east side of the field, the Sooner sideline on Saturday, from the north end zone to the south end zone, there are 12 lower level bleacher sections.

The Oklahoma band was in the first one, non-students were in the sixth and seventh sections (the best seats in the house on the east side). The other nine sections were all Tech students. And, pretty much, they were all full more than an hour before the kick.

That simply doesn’t happen anywhere else in the conference, except maybe for Kansas and Kansas State basketball.

Included within those sections was one 300-pound or so student wearing a cape, blue jeans and about nothing else but black body paint.

Also, Batman was in the crowd, as well as any number of young men in Cowboy hats jeering the Sooners as they warmed long before the kick.

Great digs: A few years ago, Jones AT&T Stadium underwent renovations very nearly on par with the renovations that became Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. Tech, though, did not bury the actual press box above an end zone.

Instead, it put the press box in the middle of the first level of luxury boxes, in addition to building more levels above. But what really stands out is the size of the luxury boxes.

Those lucky enough watch from such a posh perch have seats set up near the glass that looks out on the field. What they also have, basically, a living-room sized meeting area with couches. It’s like staying at Embassy Suites.

Holy Cow: Tress Way’s first punt of the game traveled 71 yards.

The last 10 or 15 came on the bounce. But more amazing than a 71-yard punt under any circumstances was the fact it was kicked into a stiff wind, a fact made apparent by the collection of flags outside the Red Raiders football training facility.

Sharp honor: Texas Tech’s campus and stadium is bordered on one side by U.S. Highway 82, which has been renamed Marsha Sharp Freeway as it stretches through Lubbock. Sharp was the longtime Lady Raider basketball coach, going 572-189 over 24 seasons that included the 1993 national title and 17 other NCAA tournament trips. Sharp retired following the 2005-06 season.

Seen on the sideline: Former Oklahoma All-American and pitching coach Ray Hayward, who was on Larry Cochell’s OU staff from 2000-2004. Hayward works for Red Raider head coach Tim Tadlock, a Tech alum who was on OU’s staff from 2006-2011.

Another former Sooner on the Tech staff is volunteer assistant Russell Raley, who played at OU from 2003-2006.

Clay HorningFollow me @clayhorningcfhorning@normantranscript.com

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.