Rob Peters Steps into Starting Quarterback Role|
By Blayne Beal
In the summer, many football players spend their vacation trying to relax and get away from the hype of college athletics. For Rob Peters, there was no time to relax. With the departure of Zebbie Lethridge, one of the top quarterbacks in Texas Tech history, Peters inherits the key position for a program that has made four bowl appearances in the last five years.
"Zebbie did a great job for us the last four years," Peters said. "He has had winning seasons every year and took us to three bowls."
For most players, the pressure of this responsibility would be overwhelming. But, according to Peters, it's all in how you handle it.
"I think there is always going to be pressure," Peters said. "I feel comfortable these two-a-days have gotten me ready. I feel confident and I think my teammates are confident in me."
Peters has reason to be confident about his abilities. His teammates demonstrated confidence when they voted him team captain last spring. "Rob's as well-thought-of by his teammates as anybody we've had here in a long time," Tech Head Coach Spike Dykes said. "He was elected captain by his teammates, and that's a really big deal. When you're voting for captains you don"t vote for your friend or the guy who"s the prettiest. You vote for the guy who"s going to be there when you need him."
Expectations are high for Texas Tech football in 1998. Many of the program's high hopes rest on the shoulders of a certain 6-foot-3, 229-pound quarterback. Peters welcomes the challenge. Throughout his career, he has had to face pressure both on the field and in the classroom. In both cases, he has responded at the highest level.
During his high school career at Katy, Texas, Peters completed 149 of 311 passes for 2,389 yards and 25 touchdowns. As a senior, he directed his team to the Class 5A Division I state finals and a 13-2 record. He also graduated in the top 10 of his senior class of more than 415 students.
Over the last two seasons for Texas Tech, few people have been as busy as Peters. He has seen significant playing time. In fact, he has played nine different positions on offense and special teams throughout his career. In 1998, Peters finally zeroed in on the quarterback position he has waited so patiently to fill.
As outstanding and versatile as he has been on the gridiron, Peters has been even better with his stellar performance in the classroom. He was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection last year, and has made the President's List five times with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He is a candidate for Academic All-American during the 1998 season.
"We are here to get an education and play football," Peters said. "I take that very seriously and always have. It is a big deal to me. I am used to the pressure of academics and football. Winning Academic All-American would be a great honor."
Last year, Peters played in all 11 games, seeing action at quarterback, flanker, fullback and tight end on offense. On special teams, he worked as the backup punter and served as holder, kick blocker and was also on the kickoff and kick return squads.
In 1997, Peters completed 6 of 14 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 26 times for 126 yards and three TDs, including a scoring run in the opener at Tennessee.
"Rob is a really good athlete," Texas Tech Offensive Coordinator Rick Dykes said. "He has good quickness, a strong arm and will lead our football team. He is very competitive and will do whatever it takes to win football games. He is one of the leaders of our football team and he has the respect of his teammates."
One thing is for certain, Rob Peters has both the physical and mental abilities to be an outstanding quarterback. But, if you ask him, the only thing he wants is to help his team win games.
"I just want to help the team win," Peters said. "We have the opportunity to go to the Big 12 Championship game and a bowl game if we play to that caliber. I am just excited with the opportunity that is ahead of us."
Maybe after a Big 12 championship, Rob can finally find time to relax.