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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe // 05.22.09

Texas Tech Football

Sit Down With the Captain

FWST's Dwain Price (who also appears to be publishing on the DMN as well) had a chance to sit down with Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach for a fairly lengthy interview. Obviously, I could discuss everything in the interview, but I'll highlight a couple of passages.

Did Taylor Potts do enough in the spring game to convince you that he’ll be your starting quarterback next season? I think he is [the starter] right now if we were to play today. Of course we’ll continue to have them compete once we get into [summer] camp, but I thought he had a really good spring. I think he’s the most polished. He’s really a smart guy and is aware of the overall stuff we’re trying to do.

I think Leach confirms what we've thought and seen about Taylor Potts and the quarterback competition.

How do you see the Big 12 South playing out next season? I think it’s going to be a tough league. A lot of the quarterbacks are coming back again. I think one of the keys is linemen. Not everybody was able to replenish offensive linemen and defensive linemen, and I think that’s going to be a biggie.

I'm going to try and get a lot written about the football team over the weekend (will be posted later), with lots of thoughts about a ton of positions and how they relate to the rest of the Big 12, but my initial thought is that Leach has always been able to coach a successful quarterback and Texas Tech has only had to replace really only 2 starters (Shawn Byrnes started before) the offensive line has been replaced with more athletic players. Keep in mind that this offense isn't predicated on having burners on the edges. It works tremendously when it does, but when Joel Filani (4.57), Robert Johnson (4.69) and Jarrett Hicks (4.67) all started, they weren't burners, but incredibly productive in this offense. There are more than a handful of current receivers that run in the 4.4 to 4.5 range. We'll be fine.

Who were the people you idolized as you were coming up? Billy Martin is one of my all-time favorites, and Bear Bryant, of course. When I was a kid I had Bart Starr’s picture over my bed. I liked Vince Lombardi as far as a run guy. As far as who I’ve drawn from, it’s Sid Gillman, Bill Walsh, LaVell Edwards and Don Coryell.

You’ve had unparalleled success with the spread offense. But if you weren’t running that offense would you consider running something as mundane as the wishbone offense? Well, we kind of are running the wishbone in a way, because it’s important to us that everybody be able to touch the football. And the wishbone is the same thing. The wishbone wants to attack the whole field and wants everybody to have several touches. So do we.

Richard Jones #24's Aaron Dickens is counting down the top 25 Red Raiders and up today is #24, DT Richard Jones. Fox34 has the video companion piece. Here's Dickens on Jones:

HE IS RANKED TOO LOW BECAUSE...: Jones had an impressive showing during the spring and established himself as a playmaker. His combination of size and athleticism, along with his experience, makes him a factor against the run and the pass. Plus, with senior Rajon Henley a likely starter at defensive end, Jones will be one of only two interior linemen with significant game experience.

HE IS RANKED TOO HIGH BECAUSE...: Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill drew on his depth during games last season and constantly rotated players in and out on the defensive line. While the Red Raiders weren't nearly that deep in the spring, the arrival of heralded signees Myles Wade, Pearlie Graves and Romario Cathey should allow McNeill to send a number of lineman at opponents.

VJ Fehoko on UA All-American Team

ESPN's JC Shurburtt breaks down the linebackers who have already been selected for the 2010 Under Armor All-American Game. For those of you who don't know, VJ's brother, Sam Fehoko, plays for Texas Tech and VJ enjoyed a week in Lubbock during the spring game. I'll be pretty surprised if VJ doesn't commit to Texas Tech, but if he doesn't, it's not for a lack of not knowing anything about the program. VJ got a first-hand look for an entire week.

Billy Tucker on Fehoko: Fehoko is hands down the top prospect off the island this year and maybe one of the better total football players in this talented linebacker group. He is a very physical, tough defender with a great nose for the finding the football and creating havoc along the way. He has very good burst, explosiveness and short-range tools for a future linebacker and may be a guy who puts his hand down and gets after the quarterback on third down at the next level.

Recruiting Buzz: His brother goes to Texas Tech, so that could factor into his decision. He has offers from Notre Dame, Tennessee, BYU, Oregon and others.

Big 12 AD Meetings

Boulder Daily Camera's Ryan Thorburn has an excellent rundown of everything that's happened over the week. Excellent read if you want to keep track of this sort of thing, but it was a good year for the Big 12:

The conference announced that it would be distributing a record $130 million to its member institutions for the 2008-09 fiscal year (the previous record set last year was $113.5 million).

So why was "cost containment" the No. 1 topic of discussion here inside a posh, five-star hotel?

"Because our institutions are suffering from donors dropping off, ticket sales and all that stuff," Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe explained. "So the more money we can drive back to the membership, the better off they are with that."

Texas Tech Baseball

Date Start Time Opponent Texas Tech
Starting Pitcher
Starting Pitcher Result
5/20/2009 7:30 p.m. No. 2 Oklahoma AJ Ramos
(L, 5-5)
Andrew Doyle
(W, 8-4)
5/22/2009 3:00 p.m. No. 3 Missouri TBA TBA -
5/23/2009 7:30 p.m. No. 6 Texas A&M TBA Ross Hales
(5-2, 3.90)
LF - Michael Reed (Jr.); CF - Taylor Ashby (Jr.); RF - Garrett Totten (Fr.)
SS - Joey Kenworthy (Jr.)     2ND - Willie Rueda (Sr.);
3RD - Justin Berry (Fr.)                                  1ST - Chris Richburg (Sr.)
C - Jeremy Mayo (Fr.)
DH - Scott LeJeune (Fr.)

*Click on the score for boxscore. Texas Tech Big 12 Tournament preview (pdf).

Texas Tech to Face Missouri

I'm still not sure who starts today. If Texas Tech needs a win (and they do), then perhaps it's Chad Bettis to take the hill. Don't forget about point everyone to Big 12 Hardball to chat about the game and the official Big 12 site for live stats and in-game discussions.

LAJ's George Watson writes about head coach Dan Spencer's initial feelings about playing in Oklahoma City:

"What a venue," Spencer said earlier in the week about the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. "I haven’t ever been here and it’s just an awesome environment. It makes you feel like you’re walking in downtown like Omaha, except that the yard is better."

Because of the three-year absence from the tournament, few Red Raiders have experience in the tournament. That means players could be as wide-eyed as the coach, though the coach could impart wisdom in the pressure setting.

Though Tech (24-31) lost its opening game Wednesday, 5-2, to Oklahoma, the Red Raiders still have a shot to come out of their pool and play in the championship game. It will take some help from the right schools beating other schools, but Tech also has to worry about its own business.