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Thursday Morning Notes - Linebacker Shakeup Edition

Texas Tech Football:

LAJ's Don Williams reports that things are shaking up on the linebacker front. Apparently, Blake Collier (i.e. lots of speed), Bront Bird (i.e. freshman playmaker) and Brian Duncan (i.e. another strong athlete) will be now backing up Marlon Williams, and Paul Williams. That means, this is the new 2-deep depth chart:

  • Strong side: Kellen Tillman and Bront Bird.
  • Middle: Paul Williams and Brian Duncan.
  • Weak side: Marlon Williams and Blake Collier.

I like it, except for the part where Kellen Tillman is starting. Not only that, the only commodity that players care about is playing time. You take away playing time and kids will compete, that is if they care then they'll compete.

Here's what Coach McNeill had to say about their playing time:

"All three of them -- Collier, Duncan and Bird. All three of them are going to increase their playing time. I didn't take the redshirt off of Bird to sit him on the bench. I didn't move Duncan to sit him on the bench."

Don also has a couple of other positional updates. First, the coaches have noticed that defensive end Jake Ratliff hasn't been himself and are hoping that the up-tempo practices will help. Brandon Williams will reclaim his starting position at the rush defensive end, replacing Daniel Howard. Ratliff needs to show something pretty soon or he's looking at getting replaced as well.

Yesterday, LAJ's Don Williams wrote about the increased intensity we can expect from Coach McNeill and stuck in the middle of the article was this note from Don:

McNeill said the Tech defense got three plays of live tackling with the first unit and two plays of live tackling with the second unit Tuesday. In addition, there will be tackling drills each day, he said.

Hyatt quickly pointed out that 5 plays seems like a bunch of nothing. When I read Williams' above-quoted text yesterday morning I thought it was a mistake. It was early, I was still working on my first cup of coffee. Surely Williams meant to type 5 series and not 5 plays, so I ignored the note.

Nope. Five plays? Really? That's all we're talking about here for the entire practice. What's so wrong with hitting for 20 or so plays during a mid-week practice (Obvious joke: They didn't hit anyone last Saturday so they shouldn't be worn out)? I thought that when comments were made that there was little hitting in practice that we were talking about 20 or so plays, but little hitting in practice meant no hitting in practice.

That's just unbelievable, right?

FWST's Dwain Price has an excellent article on Coach McNeill and how he defense is now his responsibility. I had no idea that Coach McNeill was offered the Kansas State defensive coordinator position in 2006, but chose to stay at Texas Tech to not uproot his family.

SI's Stewie Mandell thinks that Texas Tech is the 2nd best team that only plays one side of the ball, having this to say about our Red Raiders:

2) Texas Tech. It's pretty hard to gain 718 yards and lose (as Tech did to Oklahoma State), but if anybody could do it, it's Mike Leach's Red Raiders. They've been putting up some of the nation's gaudiest passing numbers for eight consecutive years but have never finished higher than 67th in run defense. Just a thought: Might that have to do with the fact the offense they face in practice never runs?

That's just it, if the defense improves slightly, Texas Tech could experience quite a bit of success because of the offense. I'm pulling for you guys.

Big 12 and College Football:

FWST's Wendell Barnhouse College Football Insider: Notes, quotes and anecdotes should get you ready for any game . . . FWST's Jimmie Burch has his Big 12 Insider and he's picking Texas Tech to win this weekend, but more shocking, he thinks NW State is going to score 13 points . . . Burch also nominates Graham Harrell for Big 12 MVP . . . DMN's Chip Brown had a Big 12 football chat yesterday with a few notes about our Red Raiders.