How about that, a somewhat new, albeit, maybe re-worked feature for a game-week, which is a compilation of my thoughts for the week, things that stand out to me from the last week's game, looking ahead, etc. I’ve been busy this offseason. The icons are just eye-candy more than anything else and each week, the icons may change, some may be there one week and the next week they may not, but the title for each icon won’t change.
QUOTABLE | I read Steve Belichick's book referenced to the right and it's 50 years old this year. It's funny how certain things can be a truism for 50 years, but the quote on the right is as true today as it was 50 years ago. This is my hope with DC Art Kaufman and what he's doing with the defense. I think this is what Kaufman is doing and he's said earlier this spring:
"If you want to have success, I think the biggest thing is with practice and reps and confidence with what you’re doing," he said. "And that’s the whole thing we do. We try to come in and install the system and make sure everyone knows what to do and then make sure everyone knows how to do it."
If the defense is going to be better, then I think that DC Kaufman has a great idea of where to start. Keep it simple, make sure that players get reps and make sure all of the players know the system. This isn't any sort of revelation, coaches have obviously been doing this since 1962, but some things about football don't change.
NOTES | These are notes from around the interwebs this morning:
* LAJ's Nick Kosmider writes about how Hurricane Isaac is bringing up memories of Hurricane Katrina.
* LAJ's Don Williams has the latest on WR Darrin
Williams Moore, who has agreed to a pretrial diversion program. No decision on if Moore will play on Saturday, but should be decided with Moore, HC Tommy Tuberville, WR coach Tommy Mainord and OC Neal Brown.
* SAEN's Tim Griffin with a terrific profile on TE Jace Amaro, who sounds supremely confident, and also sorry about his offseason incident:
"That may have been the greatest thing to happen to me," Amaro said. "Sometimes in the darkest days, you learn stuff about yourself. It totally changed my outlook and how precious everything is. Even when you are wrongly accused of doing something or it might not be your fault, you live with it. Sometimes, you don't know why it happens to you, but for me, it totally changed my work ethic and my outlook on life."
* DMN's Mike Graham reports that freshman LB Micah Awe will play this year and may take WR Aaron Fisher's spot on special teams:
"He won’t redshirt," Tuberville said. "He’s too valuable. I think he’s going to be one of the ringleaders on special teams and a guy that will take Aaron Fisher place on special teams. You don’t have to worry about him, he’s going to be a heck of a football player."
* 1340 The Fan talked with Northwestern St. head coach Bradley Dale Pevato about Texas Tech. Pevato sounds like a really good guy, has really high praise for DC Art Kaufman and thinks that QB Seth Doege is like Drew Brees.
* RRS's Aaron Dickens talked with NSU's beat-writer, NOLASports follows NSU to Dallas from last night, and the DT's Zach Dischiano writes that NSU thinks they can upset Texas Tech.
* RP has a summary of the new rules changes, including kickoff rule changes, Part I and Part II.
* ESPN released their All-Big 12 team and there is no Red Raider.
* It is being reported that RB Ronnie Daniels will be transferring to San Diego St.
* SI.com has all of the preseason crystal ball predictions.
* Totally Texas Tech with some new campus pictures, mainly focusing on Jones AT&T Stadium.
* UniWatch with their comprehensive preview for college football.
GOOD JOB GOOD EFFORT | I'm hoping that this will be the award given to DC Art Kaufman next week. I'm hoping that this "good job good effort" will be someone or something that I think about from the prior week's game. I'm hoping that with everything that Kaufman has done, he's really my last grasp at hope that this team can get turned around. The defense must have a good showing on Saturday.
TAKING AIM | Northwestern St. is littered with upperclassmen and that's probably an understatement. SportsNOLA notes the large number of juniors and seniors in the two-deep:
Among the 22 offensive and defensive starters, 18 are juniors and seniors. Adding in kicker John Shaughnessy and punter Nic Russo, and nickel back Cortez Paige, and 11 of NSU's 25 front-line players are seniors.
There's only one sophomore starting on offense, redshirt sophomore Josh Cunningham at left guard. Both starting cornerbacks are sophomores, Imoan Claiborne and Rico Albert, while sophomore Damon Medcafe is the first-team nose tackle.
That is rare, to have such a veteran group, but this is certainly an advantage for NWS. Experience does matter.
FINDING THEIR WAY | I don’t know that we’ll have solid answers to which players have found their way until after their first game. Practice reports are supposed to be encouraging, but the only way to know if the defense has gotten it down or if the offense is going to open things up is if we can see it with our own eyes. We’ll know soon enough.
THE LIGHT BULB HAS GONE ON | I can’t help but think that this first week, the light bulb has gone on for WR Javon Bell. Bell was hardly used during the spring practices or maybe seemed a bit lost, but things have apparently clicked for him during these fall practices and if he’s truly a deep threat, whether it is out-running coverage or taking a bubble screen to the house, then sign me up.
ITEM COMPLETED | The defense had to be fundamentally sound. I mentioned this earlier in the week, but sometimes vanilla defenses that do simple things really well, like being able to line up in the right spot no matter what the offense is running. It has to click for these guys from the standpoint that the defense makes sense in terms of spacing and adjusting to what the offense is going to give you vs. being able to make plays. I’m keenly interested to see just how multiple NSU is on offense because seeing some different formations could be really important to seeing how far this defense has adjusted.
KEY TO SUCCESS | For me, the biggest thing this camp was the fact that there were just two serious injuries (season ending) and the starters are relatively unscathed. We have more injury information below, but that's not a terribly long injury list. I hope I'm not jinxing this team. For the most part, this team is pretty much intact. That's good news.
WE HAVE QUESTIONS | This is the last time that we get to ask whether or not the defense is going to be any better before we actually get to see the team play. It's strange, I posted the photo of LB Terrance Bullitt in this post and he's a guy that we haven't heard any sort of discussion about how he's coming along or if he's playing well and maybe Bullitt's road is analogous to the Texas Tech defense in that we all have these expectations that Bullitt is going to be just fine at linebacker and with DC Kaufman at the helm, we're going to be just fine overall on defense. I'm excited.
INJURY REPORT | As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m going to do my best to keep up with the actual injuries so that we have a list from week to week. I will most likely be putting this after the jump after a couple of weeks since it will eventually be 12 or so games, but each week, they will all be listed here. I should also note that I did not include some possible hamstring or concussion or flu-like symptom injuries for fall practices since most of those players kept out of practice seemed precautionary. The time frame is from the date of the announced injury and the expected date of return. I admittedly should have done a better job of keeping track of when the injuries actually happened so that I could better estimate the date of return. This is a work in progress.
I do want to add one more item, which is that the training staff should be given credit for getting a guy like Eric Stephens ready to start the season. I think the training staff was definitely questioned whenever the thought that he would rehab his knee before surgery was discussed as maybe being not the best method of rehab, but from all accounts, he is as good as he was, maybe without top-end speed, but maybe that will come with time.
Fall Practice: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year); ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - out 4 to 6 weeks); DT Anthony Smith (rolled ankle from scooter mishap - out 2 weeks - should be practicing); RB Quinton White (broken foot - out 6 to 8 weeks).
Week 1 vs. Northwestern St.: OL Matt Wilson (torn ACL - out for the year); ATH Shawn Corker (broken foot - may be out 2 to 4 more weeks); RB Quinton White (broken foot - may be out 4 to 6 more weeks); WR Aaron Fisher (broken leg - out for the year); OG Tony Morales (knee injury - out 2 weeks).