Double-T Nation News:
Make sure and vote for Pat Knight's new nickname in the featured poll, to your left.
No time for "DTN's Top ____" this morning.
Texas Tech Football:
According to LAJ's Don Williams and ESPN Big 12 Blogger Tim Griffin, McKinner Dixon is returning, but he may not be as big a factor as we all initially thought. Per Griffin:
"He made it by the skin of his teeth," Tech coach Mike Leach said. "Hopefully this being about his 20th lesson on the subject, he'll learn a little work ethic and dedication in regards to taking care of his business."
"He's behind quite a bit," Leach said. "Academically, he's got to battle it this semester and he didn't have much of a summer working out because he had to take care of his school work. He didn't lift and didn't run so he's not going to be in as good of shape as the others. As far as I'm concerned, he's got a lot to prove around here."
And per Williams:
My impression is many Tech fans had been holding their breath and hoping for the good news that they got on Dixon. Thing is, Mike Leach didn't exactly give McKinner a hug and welcome him back.
I'm trying not to put the same quotes in two places, but you might want to check out the Monday Red Raider Notebook elsewhere on this site. If Dixon is going to make an impact for the Raiders this season, he's going to have to work his way out of Leach's doghouse to do it.
A couple of things here. First, I've got no problem with Leach calling out a kid to pull up his grades. Leach doesn't leave anything to the imagination with Dixon as this is apparently not Dixon's first rodeo when it comes to not taking the classroom seriously and the Captain is obviously tired of it. Second, at the end of Griffin's article, Ruffin McNeill is a little bit more positive, but I'm starting to think that this is the foil with he and Leach. McNeill is going to nurture while Leach is going to tell it like it is.
ESPN Big 12 Blogger Tim Griffin spends 5 minutes with starting cornerback L.A. Reed:
What is it like to play cornerback, considering you have no previous experience at that position in your football career?
LAR: It's a lot different than anything I've ever done before. I'm a little older and more experienced, so I don't go out there with the 'deer in the headlights look' when they put me out there and have the challenge of stopping a receiver. I'm just enjoying the chance to compete.
I'm pretty comfortable with it because I played safety earlier in my career. I know the defense, but it's a little bit different playing cornerback. I figured it up a little bit faster than I thought I would. It's not as bad as I thought it would be.
LAJ's Don Williams takes a look at the freshmen who might makae an impact this year. There were quite a few interesting things in the article, for instance, Leach like to have 10 receivers available:
Leach prefers to have five outside receivers and five inside receivers - two at each of four positions and one apiece who can play both inside receiver spots and both outside receiver spots.
Captain Leach also has the attitude of not being afraid to play guys because of the redshirt:
Two years ago, Marlon Williams, Blake Collier and Jamar Wall got onto the field first for their value covering kicks. Leach said it’s a mistake not to consider freshmen who can make a difference that way.
"Returners, jammers, gunners and kick blockers, it’s hard to ignore them and say Wait ’til next year,’ " Leach said. "It is for me, anyway."
Lots of good information there.
ESPN Big 12 Blogger Tim Griffin sits down with Michael Crabtree and Captain Leach thinks that Mr. Crabtree has gotten better:
"He's worked on specific things like his speed and his jumping ability and he's brought a renewed sense of dedication," Leach said. "He's always had that because he's so competitive."
Griffin mentions in the article that Mr. Crabtree is also taking direct snaps -- zone read -- like Eric Morris did last week and Mr. Crabtree's fashion line gets another mention, hitting the stores in a limited release in September. If I was at all talented with Photoshop, which I know that I'm not, someone would have a field day with this.
Griffin also touches on the scuffle between Mr. Crabtree and linebacker Bront Bird and Leach says it was nothing:
"If they get in a fight during a game, I'll have to suspend them," Leach said. "It kind of mixes it up a little. I don't totally mind it, but in a game you need to play disciplined."
LAJ's Williams' Red Raiders Football Notebook he writes about the injured players going on a bike ride as well as some injury updates, including the return of Brandon Sharpe and Chris Perry, while Daniel Howard, Richard Jones, LaRon Morre, Eric Morris and Todd Walker are all still nursing injuries.
Griffin did a nice job of taking a look at the defensive improvement comparing the first 4 games and the last 9 games and there are slight improvements. Perhaps the biggest item is that those first 4 games were against non-conference competition, sans the OSU game, while all of McNeill's 9 games, sans the Northwestern State game, were conference foes. One of my weekend projects is to take an even closer look at those defensive numbers in comparison to the rest of the conference.
The Chron's Joe Duarte features Texas Tech today and focuses on the defense and the change in attitude that McNeill has brought to the team:
With eight starters back, McNeill said the plan is to simplify schemes, add zone-blitz packages and do a better job stopping the run, an area where Tech ranked near the bottom in the conference.
"A clear mind means fast legs, and a cloudy mind means slow legs," McNeill said. "We will eliminate things quicker than we will add things."
I seemed to have missed yesterday's Countdown to Kickoff, featuring Harrison Jeffers:
What is an interesting fact most people don't know about you? I am an alien from Mars.
What is your favorite old television show? Good Times.
What TV show are you embarrassed to admit you watch? Army Wives.