Double-T Nation News:
I told you there would be a ton of news today and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to cover all of it.
Texas Tech Football:
We'll get to Captain Leach's quotes in a minute, but I thought the most interesting thing about yesterday was that Captain Leach's arrival was announced. I find that so incredibly surreal, I know that he's a personality, but no other coach's presence was "announced" yesterday and as you watch some of the video from yesterday (Internet Explorer only and you must register, but it's free) you get the feeling that the media generally enjoys the Captain's personality, a breath of fresh air. I'm not so sure I have much of a point, the guy is who he is and he's never shied away from his incredibly quirky and funny personality.
On to the good stuff.
We all know that Harrell and Mr. Crabtree weren't present, and it was the first question asked by Dennis Dodd from CBS Sportsline. As we discussed last week, Leach would probably emphasize the team concept:
Harrell and Crabtree get a lot of attention, deserve a lot of attention and will continue to get a lot of attention and the important thing to us and our team is the fact that football is the ultimate team game. And our effort this year, really any team, is going to be how every member does as far as fulfilling their role and that being the case I've got three guys that I think are team leaders that are emerging. So I wanted to have the three I brought go to the forefront.
And then the other thing is I think a lot of times, because there's so many guys that play football, there's a temptation to isolate the emphasis around a couple guys and create an identity of an entire team around a couple of guys.
Of course, Captain Leach invites the entire media to come out to Lubbock if they'd like to talk with Harrell or Mr. Crabtree.
And anybody that wants to talk to Graham or Michael Crabtree or Darcel McBath or those guys, you can do it in their natural habitat in Lubbock, Texas. I recommend Love Field because DFW can be a confusing mess. Love Field, about every hour go to Lubbock, Texas, where we have some great steak places. And we'd love to see you, and we all know you by your first names, so it'd be good to renew our friendship.
So now we have Dodd upset, scratch that, pissed at Leach (he's says it's not personal, but it appears to be) for not bringing Mr. Crabtree and Harrell along for the ride (hat-tip to DMN's Brandon George). Here's a little bit of Dodd:
I'm not saying Harrell and Crabtree are out of the Heisman race before it begins. I'll leave that to the other Heisman voters whose companies spent money and resources for them to get here. Let's just say stiffing the Big 12 (and national) media doesn't help.
Leach is quirky that way. He doesn't do things conventionally all the time. Sometimes that's charming. Sometimes it's downright unprofessional. A person with knowledge told me that the Big 12 asked to Leach to reconsider bringing his two stars, but that he refused.
To reporters Monday, Leach flippantly said that any of us are welcome to interview his stars "in their natural habitat" in Lubbock. That's great except there is a reason these media days exist, so we don't have to go to each individual school. Especially when Lubbock is so far from anywhere it can see the end of the earth in any given direction.
There's quite a bit more, so go read the whole thing, but I think the thing that Dodd is missing is this . . . Captain Leach is the head coach and his job is to win football games not to please the media.
Dodd has no idea, behind the scenes what caused Leach to decide not to bring Mr. Crabtree and Harrell. I'm not trying to suggest that anything did happen, but we're talking about young adults with egos and sometimes those egos get the best of them. I'm not a real smart guy, but the way I see things happening is that Leach, Harrell and Mr. Crabtree did do quite a bit of press earlier in the summer and perhaps, and I know this is a crazy thought, but there's just a chance that Captain Leach thought better of it as the remainder of his team was essentially ignored. Dodd openly asks at the end of his rant if there are "extenuating circumstances" and concludes that there's probably not.
Tell me what's wrong with the thought of involving other players on the team who epitomize the team concept?
I may be in the minority on this, but it is also not Captain Leach's job to play the media's game to get a foothold to the Heisman in July. I think Texas Tech does a wonderful job of promoting Mr. Crabtree and Harrell, but since when was it Captain Leach's job to win the Heisman? I thought it was to win games. If my Red Raiders are more successful as a result of Leach emphasizing team over individuals then I'm fine with it. In fact, I'm fine with it even if we don't, but I could personally care less about the Heisman Trophy. If the voters decide not to vote for Mr. Crabtree or Harrell because they weren't at a media day, then perhaps they just need to resign.
Dodd also states that Captain Leach flippantly answered his question as to why Harrell and Mr. Crabtree weren't present and if you've watched the Captain Leach video you know that his answers weren't flippant.
If Dodd thinks that Captain Leach was being flippant, then perhaps he just hasn't spent very much time in front of the Captain or perhaps Dodd has extenuating circumstances which make him seem like a bitter and whiny reporter. Probably not.
I've got a ton of thoughts and I'm not sure I can coherently get them all down, so I hope you have at it in the comments.
Leach also talks about expectations as he's asked about the preseason hype this team has received thus far this year.
And so our expectations are already high. So what that means to me is we just need to ignore expectations and everybody needs to do their job, improve on their role and just do their job within the scope of what it is. And if everybody does that together, has the ability to fulfill their role and sustain a level of focus, not just in camp but throughout games, for the entire season, we have a chance to continue to improve and could have a season we're pleased with.
There's the "do your job" quote that he made so famous during the Captain's halftime speech against Minnesota (BTW, if this video doesn't make you run through some drywall then I don't know what will).
TEXAS TECH 2006 INSIGHT BOWL (via rjxavier2000)
Captain Leach also talked a little football, including the running back situation:
Now, are we going to have to play with just one? I don't think so. I think there's enough room for all three of them to have a role. Eventually, what will develop there will probably be some fine distinctions on this situation, this type of a block or this type of a route and so forth that we'll personnel around it.
But if it remains as competitive as it is right now, I would have no problem playing either of the three or all three of them.
Link Dump: LAJ's Don Williams talks with Jamar Wall and Eric Morris about what they've done to get ready for the season (shocking to see a reporter actually talk and get to know the stories behind some of the players actually there instead of bitching about the ones who aren't there) and Daniel Charbonnet, a teammate, not a speculative reporter, had this to say about Harrell and Mr. Crabtree:
"That's what's good about Mike and Graham,'' Charbonnet said. "They don't care about that kind of stuff. They just want to win. They're not worried about being in the limelight all the time. They know that if we perform well on the field, if we win a lot of games, that will take care of itself. That's what's cool about our team this year.''
Huh . . . it's about winning games? That's just crazy . . . Williams also takes a look at the elite status of the Big 12 . . .ESPN Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin caught up with Captain Leach talking about his vacation:
"I took my family and it was like the movie 'European Vacation,'" Leach said. "It was the wife, the kids, the frequent-flier miles ... the whole thing. It's one of those things that 10 years from now they'll say what great fun they had, but right now they were [complaining] about all of the walking, the tough stuff and the food. It was a great time, and we covered a lot of ground in a sensory-overload kind of a deal."
. . . David R. Henry of The Daily Texan asks about whether the higher expectations are getting to the Captain . . . DMN's Brandon George looks at the offbeat nature of the Captain and has an update on tackle Rylan Reed recovering from ankle surgery . . . the NY Times blog, the Quad, takes a look at Captain Leach's musings . . . FWST's Jimmy Burch briefly checks in with the Red Raidersand previvews the 4 teams from yesterday's media session . . . Rivals.com's Olin Buchanan checks in with RRS.com's Robert Giovannetti . . . RedRaiderSports.com's Joe Yeager answers a Texas Tech football mailbag, including an update on defensive tackle Chris Perry, who will be the most important offensive line backup and whether or not this team can increase sack production . . . USA Today's John Marshall (AP) writes about how the Big 12 is now back among the power conferences . . .