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Texas Tech Red Raider Notes for 08-26-07: Team Unity Edition

DTN News:

SMU tickets arrived in the mail despite requesting that I pick them up at will-call. That's fine, I'd rather have them in my hands than not.

After today, we are only 1 week away and I can hardly wait.

Texas Tech Football:

LAJ's Don Williams has an interesting story on this year's team unity, noting once again that last year's squad was not as tight knit.Texas Tech football chief of staff Dennis Simmons:

"I don't know if this equates to wins and losses, but I know we seem to be a closer-knit unit," said Tech football chief of staff Dennis Simmons, who has been with Mike Leach's program from the beginning. "The (first) day of camp, you had guys out here playing stickball, and then I walk in (another day) and see Graham (Harrell) and Eric (Morris) and Ty Linder and a couple of other guys playing with Coach Leach's and Coach Holgorsen's kids. "Everywhere you turn, these guys are just wanting to be around here and be around each other, where this time last year that wasn't the case.

Don and Joe Garcia point to how this team is simply doing more things together:

"We had a team, but it was a lot of individuals and we didn't mesh well," said Joe Garcia, a returning starter at safety. To keep the same thing from happening again this season, Tech players say they have stressed unity, on and off the field. Whether it's group meals, dominos, card games, video games, pingpong or other pursuits, Tech players try to do as much as possible in each other's company. "Anything you could think of, we were trying to do together as a team," Garcia said, "and it transfers to the field that everybody wants to play for each other."

Don cites a couple of examples that are certainly worth your time.

I think this newfound team unity is great, but I am really curious as to what caused last year's team to separate so much last year? I know that it was mentioned that there were some guys who were a little more mature, but it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of a difference team unity makes when this year's group has notably less experience than last year's crew. On some level I can't help but think that because this group has done something no other school has ever done (i.e. see last year's Insight Bowl), that this is just a closer group.

But perhaps on a much more base level, maybe these guys just get along.

Don's Red Raiders Football Notebook notes that more than 41,000 season tickets have been sold for each of Texas Tech's 6 home games. Excellent work Red Raider fans.

Sometimes I think Don is reading my mind as he also talks with Texas Tech flanker, Michael Crabtree about being more consistent: no dropped passes and losing weight:

"I just picked it up, said no drops this year," Crabtree said. "Try to go 100 percent every day. That's a goal."

The redshirt freshman from Dallas Carter also improved his conditioning, dropping from a high of 226 pounds in January to 208.

"It was my idea," he said. "I was moving at the (higher) weight. I just felt I should get down, be a more legit receiver."

I may be more excited about seeing Michael Crabtree than anything else.

The SAEN has quite a few different features up this morning:

Big 12 and College Football:

Three excellent Sunday morning reads. The first being from FWST's Wendell Barnhouse on Arizona's offensive coordinator Spike Dykes. Next, DMN's Chip Brown lists the important non-conference games involving Big 12 teams. Finally, SAEN's Tim Griffin notes the narrowing gap of talent in the Big 12.