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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe // 08.23.09

Texas Tech Football

  As Good As It Ever Was:  LAJ's Don Williams features the offensive line this morning as offensive line coach Matt Moore thinks that this year's group will be as good as last year's group:

"My expectation is for them to be as good as they have been, and that’s their expectation for themselves,’’ said line coach Matt Moore, who is starting his third season at Tech. "There’s no reason they can’t. They’re actually deeper into the system, my way of teaching things, than the guys before were. So I expect them to be as good.’’

And Moore acknowledges that losing three starters from last year can affect how the unit plays together:

As a group, Moore said this year’s bunch probably moves better than last year’s. But Tech had three linemen receive some form of all-America recognition and two — Reed and Vasquez — are gone.

"Anytime you lose guys like Rylan and Louie and Hamby, just the cohesiveness of that unit being together for two years is really the hardest thing to reproduce,’’ Moore said. "Those guys were together for two years in a lot of different situations and grew together as an offensive line, spent two off-seasons together, spent so many snaps together."

Williams article doesn't necessarily shed light on where players are shaking out, but I think that this is fairly set at this point of the fall practices:  Olson/McDaniel, Carter, Byrnes, Okafor and Winn.  As an aside, I'm working on some depth chart analysis for later this week and next week just so we're all familiar with the players and where you think they are in the depth chart.

  Running Back Haven:  DMN's Chuck Carlton is touching on something that I've been thinking for a while and actually didn't get down on the computer until yesterday morning, but Mike Leach has a deep and talented roster of running backs. Also in the article is Batch's goal of gaining 1,000 yards rushing, but his Captain feels differently:

"There's nothing sacred about rushing," Leach said. "If you get 500 yards rushing, and I get 1,000 yards receiving, I'm still 500 yards ahead."

I also liked this bit about how Batch is an inspiration to his teammates:

"I've learned toughness," Jeffers said when asked about Batch. "Baron has taught me a lot that will help me a lot for this year and now on, learning to deal with criticism and just keeping my head on straight."

  Texas Tech Football Notebook:  LAJ's Don Williams writes that Baron Batch may be ready to go . . . right now.  How bad do you think Batch wants it?  There's small blip of KAMC video of Batch catching passes on Saturday.  Also of note, RG Joe King is working on being that versatile offensive lineman, like Chris Olson, who can play multiple positions . . . punter Donnie Carona must get his punts off faster . . . the short list of punt returners continues to be CB Jamar Wall, RB Eric Stephens, IR Detron Lewis, IR Austin Zouzalik and IR Cornelius Douglas.

  Scrimmage Report:'s Joe Yeager has an article about the scrimmage earlier in the week and there's lots of good notes, including the idea that IR Austin Zouzalik has the best hands on the team, along with FL Lyle Leong and FL Alexander Torres.  The defense did dominate, yet again:

For the second time in three workouts, the defense clearly got the upper hand against the offense. The first time was attributable to higher intensity and greater emotion on the part of the defense. But today’s dominance was due to execution and awareness. The defense simply seemed to know what the offense was going to do before the offense did. Screen plays were sussed out and stifled before they could get underway. Defenders shed blocks and blasted running plays right at the line of scrimmage. And even when the offense picked up blitzes—which they did a great deal—the defense managed to blanket the hot receiver. It was another thoroughly impressive performance by Ruffin McNeill’s unit.

I also found this interesting, in that McNeill has started to break out the cornerback blitz twice thus far in practice:

Ruffin McNeill busted out the cornerback blitz today. Taylor Charbonnet blitzed at least twice in team drills. He got to the quarterback neither time. Detron Lewis burned the first blitz and Taylor Potts could not find Harrison Jeffers on the second; the ball fell incomplete.

Really, go read the whole thing.

  Potts Preparing for Opener:  Abilene Reporter-News Greg Jaklewicz who talked with Taylor Potts as he readies himself for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux:

"It’s not like those are warmup games. We can’t look at the third game," said Potts, who will get his first big test Sept. 19 in Austin against Texas. Remember, Tech shocked No. 1 Texas last year and the Longhorns, who earned a preseason No. 2 ranking Saturday from The Associated Press, won’t have to be reminded how costly that defeat proved to be when bowl matchups were finalized.

The article is very well done, including Potts' thoughts on being the man this year at Texas Tech and what he learned from Graham Harrell last year.  Go read the whole thing.

  Scouting the Enemy:  Co-starter RB Quentin Castille was dismissed from the team yesterday and Corn Nation looks at what this does to the Nebraska Cornhusker offense, which may include a name familiar to some of you, Rex Burkhead is in the #2 spot . . .

  Neglected Audio and Video:  KAMC with a small clip of Batch catching a pass, although the story focuses on the team ready to hit someone else . . .