Back on Track: After taking what seems like an eternity from DTN, I hope everyone is back home, had safe travels and are ready for a a bowl game (let me know what Texas Tech gear you got for Christmas/Hanukkah, etc. in the comments). As far as DTN's schedule is concerned, I've got a special teams preview to be posted today, a preview of Texas Tech vs. New Mexico (by the way, the game is scheduled to be broadcast on CBS-CSN so check your local listings, but I'd imagine that you'll be able to easily find this game online), the first annual DTN Post Season Awards after the Alamo Bowl and Red vs. Black : Spring Position Battles starts after the awards. I hope you guys and gals stick around for the entire offseason as we not only have a men's basketball team that's looking good, a baseball team on the rise, and I'll need your help designing a T-shirt. Again, we've got a full plate.
Game Tomorrow Tonight:
#23 Texas Tech Red Raiders (9-1) vs. #13/12 New Mexico Lobos (12-1)
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: The Pit : Albuquerque, NM
Game Preview: 10:00 a.m. post :: Game Day Thread: 7:00 p.m. post
"We were there our freshman year and it was a pretty tough game," point guard John Roberson said. "They’re loud and they get on you. They know everything about you. They know your mom’s name."
Head coach Pat Knight understands that playing tough non-conference opponents on the road can be beneficial for Big 12 play:
"The team that can do well at home and sneak a couple away on the road is going to be in the hunt for one of the (Big 12’s) six or seven spots," Knight said. "I can’t take these guys in there playing cupcakes, road games that aren’t hostile. That’s what’s good about playing in Wichita and Albuquerque. It’s going to be a Big 12 environment."
Reese Makes Transition: LAJ's Courtney Linehan profiles junior college SF Brad Reese, who is making the transition from the JUCO ranks to Division I basketball. Reese appears to have the right attitude:
"I’ve got to get juco out of my head," Reese said. "I was a 1,000-point scorer in two years there. At this level, it’s not all about points."
Reporting for Practice: LAJ's Don Williams writes that the Red Raiders have arrived in San Antonio and will begin practicing today (they've been practicing in Lubbock since the end of the season). Head captain Mike Leach had this to say about San Antonio:
"San Antonio’s a great city,’’ he said. "You can make the argument it’s easily one of the best cities in Texas. Great place. Great food. What really makes it good, it’s a walk-around setting, so it’s not like you’re on a bus and transit and taking cars to get somewhere. It’s a walk-around deal. The way the Alamo Bowl people put it together, I think, is excellent.’’
And per receivers coach Lincoln Riley, the preparation for the bowl game starts today:
"During the season, it’s just one week (preparation): You’ve got this (opponent), and you get used to playing them,’’ Riley said. "You don’t ever have two weeks, really and we don’t use (bowl preparation) that way.’’
Wall's Journey: The Plainview Daily Herald's Ryan Blake Thurman features senior CB Jamar Wall, who is originally from Plainview, but played running back in high school and had to transition to defense:
"It was a learning experience especially coming from offense to defense," Wall said. "But I came in and got introduced to upperclassmen and they really helped me out. Now, being a senior, I do that to the younger guys as well. It definitely helps to have upperclassmen helping you out . . . Just knowing you always have someone you can go to. Always knowing you can go to them for help is a great thing about football."
And Wall, who has been an incredible spokesman for this team, talks about how the perception about the defense is changing:
Wall was also proud of how he thought this year’s defense, which has routinely been overshadowed by Tech’s explosive offense, changed people’s perception this season.
"It’s not about getting recognition, but I think this year we’ve done a great job of changing the image that people had of us," Wall said.
One way Wall helped change the perception of the Tech defense was with a couple of hits he laid on some Big 12 opponents this season, most notably the hit he laid on Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson that knocked both Wall and Robinson out and the shot he gave to Kansas’ Jake Sharp that took Sharp off his feet.
"It just something your willing to do for you’re team," Wall said. "You’re just willing to sacrifice your body to get a turnover, make a stop, just get another chance for the offense to score again."
For those of you who would like to re-live those two hits:
Morris Making a Name: The LAJ's Don Williams featured former Red Raider, Eric Morris, who played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, along with QB Graham Harrell, and both spent a good chunk of the season on the injured lists:
"I learned a lot,’’ said Morris, who was joined on the Riders’ roster by former Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, who also was on the injured list most of the year. "It was a different offense, the game was fast, and there’s some good players up there. It was a fun experience and fun to learn kind of a different game. But it was good for me to get in a different offense and see what other people do, then kind of put in my two cents and put what I learned here together with it.’’
FreeAP's Shannon Shelton writes that the Michigan St. offensive line will be key in countering the Texas Tech pass rush:Links:
"We're going to have to run the ball," said senior left tackle Rocco Cironi after the team's arrival in San Antonio on Sunday afternoon. "We're going to have to control the clock and keep it away from their offense. Our job is going to be even bigger this week because we need to create holes for the running back and allow him a place to run."
. . . mlive's Howie Beardsley profiles MSU QB Kirk Cousins:
"It is going to be a challenge, but I don’t know about this being my greatest challenge," Cousins said matter-of-factly. "Whenever you’re in athletics, it’s all about facing challenges head on, and overcoming them. I’ve had to overcome individual challenges since I’ve been here. And, recently, team challenges.
. . . mlive's Howie Beardsley also writes that Michigan St. QB Keith Nichol (also a former Sooner) could see time at receiver . . . Lansing State Journal's Dan Kilbridge profiles reserve CB Ross Weaver, a former walk-on, mechanical engineering major and captain . . .