Odds and Ends
I'm trying out some new things as far as the morning notes. I was able to sit around Saturday morning and try out some new things, although none of this is ground-breaking. I'm a caveman when it comes to graphics and things like that. In any event, it's the same content just a little different format.
Spring Game Info
We're less than a week away from the spring game and I thought I'd go ahead and throw out there my agenda for Saturday.
- Leave my house, a little east of DFW, at around 5:30 a.m.
- It's a 6 hour drive and I've driven three different ways. It is what it is. ETA is approximately 11:30 a.m.
- Will probably eat lunch somewhere on the road.
- Hit up the Texas Tech Athletics Bi-Annual Garage Sale.
- The Red-Black Spring Game is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. For those of you have never been, this is a free game.
- The Texas Tech baseball team takes on the Kansas Jayhawks at 5:00 p.m. We need to go support AJ Ramos, a senior who's been through it all.
That's an action packed Red Raider weekend and Saturday can't get here soon enough. If anyone would like to get together before or during the game, shoot me an email, and once we get close to the weekend, perhaps we'll a more defined place to meet. If anyone would like to volunteer, also please feel free to shoot me an email (doubletnation AT gmail DOT com).
Texas Tech Football
Colby Whitlock #21
ESPN Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin continues the top 40 players in the Big 12 and junior defensive tackle Colby Whitlock checks in at #21:
Why he was picked: Like most nose tackles, Whitlock's true value can't be judged merely by looking at statistics. While typically battling two blockers, Whitlock helped control the middle of the line of scrimmage on Tech's improving defense. He notched 26 tackles and 39 total stops, including 5½ stops for a loss, a pass deflection, a blocked kick and a sack. Those efforts enabled him to earn second-team sophomore All-America honors from College Football News. His bullish pass rush helped the Tech defense set the tone in the upset victory over Texas and continued throughout the season.
What 2009 will hold: Whitlock must help key defensive improvement in the Red Raiders. The Red Raiders' defensive growth was one of the major story lines of the Big 12 in 2008 before a late collapse against Oklahoma and Mississippi in the Cotton Bowl that led to two late losses after a 10-0 start. Without offensive weapons like Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree and Shannon Woods this season, Whitlock and his defensive mates need to take another step. If they don't, it might be a long season in West Texas for Red Raider fans.
I'm thinking that Detron Lewis and/or Brandon Carter squeeze in the top 40 at some point, but I'm not sure who else would be on this list of top returning players in the Big 12. Any ideas of your own?
NFL Draft Notes
The NFL Draft is only two weeks away and to gear you up for the event, DMN's Rick Gosselin, perhaps the most respected NFL writer in the country, ranks the draft eligible receivers and receiver Michael Crabtree seems to be head-and-shoulders, the best receiver in the draft. Meanwhile, the Rivals.com college football writers were asked which player will be a sure-fire NFL star and Olin Buchanan, Tom Dienhart and David Fox all picked Mr. Crabtree. Here's Dienhart:
Look no further than Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Yes, there are bigger receivers, faster receivers and prettier receivers. But none catch the ball better or are tougher and stronger. Think Anquan Boldin. Playing in Tech's pinball offense further honed Crabtree's skills. Look for him to be especially effective on third downs and in the red zone because of his bull strength and sticky hands. In short, the guy will be a star the instant he hits the NFL.
That's crazy. Someone thinks that Michael Crabtree is going to be good? Whatever.
Mr. Crabtree will also be in the green room along with other Dallas-sites, Baylor's Jason Smith and Highland Park's Matt Stafford. Also note in this article that Brandon Williams (discussed below) will be meeting with the Dallas Cowboys this week, mentioning that he improved his 40-yard dash times.
Offensive guard Louis Vasquez gets the once-over from the DMN blog and there's lots of interesting things to note from offensive line coach Matt Moore, on his general philosophy regarding blocking (emphasis mine):
The thing about us, a lot of teams work their protections where it's a gap protection so you're picking up a guy if he comes in your gap or you're helping with the double team. With us, it's so much man protection as far as staying with this guy no matter where he goes. They like that because they see his one on one pass pro where our guys have to react to different moves, outside moves, inside moves. It's hard to get a good feel for an offensive lineman when you don't know how well he reacts to an inside move or outside move. Look at the NFL and tell me who is getting more money - a really good run blocker or a good pass blocker? The pass protection is what they're looking for. It's hard for an unathletic guy to play for us. It's easier for him to play if you're a big, unathletic guy and you play in an offense where you push people around. We can't hide guys like that. We throw so many screens and throw so much and put them in space so much with our splits that they have to be an athlete first and good feet and big body guys. With us every snap is like third and long for everybody else. Everybody knows you're going to throw it and you've got to protect when everybody knows you're throwing it. That's what makes us different.
I think that Matt Moore may be the most fascinating assistant coach at Texas Tech, and it seems that he's got some interesting opinions about the offensive line and what he looks for in a lineman. Although the guys are big, he's first looking to make sure that his lineman are athletes with good, quick feet.
Defensive end prospect Brandon Williams is also fighting a stigma about not being quick enough (a poor 40-yard dash time), however, ProFootballWeekly did something I haven't seen before, which is to subtract the 20-yard shuttle time from the 40-yard dash time to give NFL draftniks an idea as to a player's lateral agility:
By subtracting the 20-yard shuttle time from the straight-line 40-time, as many teams tend to do as a gauge of lateral agility, evaluators can even better gauge a player's lateral agility than they can simply with short shuttle times, as the differential puts into perspective both long speed and short-area quickness.
Generally speaking, a player who notches a .50 is considered to have outstanding lateral agility. Players with low differentials are often viewed as more straight-linish or tight-hipped, which tends to allow them to perform better running the 40 than it would in a shuttle.
Williams checked in 5th amongst defensive ends with a 0.48, which according to PFW, is pretty good for lateral agility and perhaps this has increased his value amongst NFL teams. Also of note, Darcel McBath was also a 0.48, which was good for 2nd amongst free safeties.