Odds and Ends
It's strange typing out 08.03.09 this morning. It doesn't seem like August should be here already, but it is, which means that practice is right around the corner, this Saturday in fact, before the big concert (more on that later).
Texas Tech Football
The first place to start this morning is with the LAJ's Don Williams, who has a pre-practice report. There's a ton of good stuff in the article and I thought we'd take it bit-by-bit. Williams writes about the battle at left tackle, talking about how at the end of the spring, it was between Terry McDaniel and Chris Olson and offensive line coach appears to be willing to let the two of them fight it out:
"I’m going to have to find out who’s going to win it,’’ said line coach Matt Moore, who didn’t put a time frame on making the determination. "They’ve both had really good off-seasons. They’ve pushed themselves harder than they ever have. Olson’s gotten stronger and has experience on his side, but Terry’s just so massive.’’
I have no idea which way Moore will go on this, but I really like McDaniel. He could be a four-year starter if he gets the nod, at left tackle, and that's almost unheard of. Olson is talented as well, nothing against him, and I get the feeling he's going to get some burn somewhere along the line, but McDaniel is pretty good.
Follow me after the jump for more news, notes and links on your Red Raiders.
Williams then writes about defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill and wanting 8 to 10 "playable players" to play along the defensive line. The strange thing here is that Williams mentions Ryan Haliburton by name as a player to step-up along the defensive line along with Chris Perry and Brandon Sharpe. Haliburton was okay during the spring, but he looked like a guy that still needs to add some strength and size to compete on the Big 12 level.
If I had to give my ten players: Rajon Henley, Richard Jones, Colby Whitlock, Daniel Howard, Brandon Sharpe, Victor Hunter, Chris Perry, Brandon Sesay, Pearlie Graves and Myles Wade.
And finally, looking at the defensive backfield, especially the safeties and the voluminous number of freshmen defensive backs. The most interesting thing here is that the defense didn't work on any nickel or dime packages during the spring. Huh. That seems strange. Here's McNeill:
"We wanted to wait until we got all the freshmen here,’’ McNeill said. "We’ve talked about the packages and what we want to do front-wise, coverage-wise, blitz-wise, but we didn’t want to do personnel finalization until the freshmen arrived.’’
Also of note, Texas Tech's practice is going to be worked around Captain Mike Leach's schedule, which includes going to to the John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson concert. Lots of other notes in the article, and I'll encourage you to click on through with notes on Kyle Clark, Joel Gray, LaAdrian Waddle, James Scott, Stefan Loucks and Aaron Charbonnet.
I posted the video on Friday, but TechPrezNB forwarded to me the accompanying article from NewsOK's Brandon Chatmon on DT Colby Whitlock, and as we discuss whether or not stars and offers matter with new Texas Tech commit Coby Coleman, let's not forget Whitlock, who had almost no offers and was lowly rated by the scouting services:
Few expected this type of impact from Whitlock coming out of high school. Several schools including Oklahoma and Oklahoma State passed on the opportunity to land him and Rivals.com rated him a three-star player. It's a good thing recruiting rankings and evaluations didn't matter to Whitlock.
"I'm not a person who that stuff means a lot to me," Whitlock said of being overlooked out of high school. "As long as some people are giving me looks I didn't mind it. I don't think that's real important, like the star rating, I think that's a joke, they miss (evaluate) a lot. Stuff like that has no importance."
I'll take Whitlock's word for it.
Again, I can't say that I understand all of the math, but Football Outsider's Bill Connelly (also of Rock M Nation) writes that Texas Tech had the best offensive line last year. And in terms of giving up sacks, Texas Tech's offensive line was significantly better than Oklahoma's line:
Not surprisingly, Texas Tech and Oklahoma possessed the best two pass blocking lines in the country. What is a surprise, however, was just how much better Texas Tech's unit was than everybody else. Third-place Boise State's SkRt+ was much closer to Middle Tennessee's (20th) than to Texas Tech's. Only Oklahoma had a SkRt+ within 100 of Tech's.
In case you were keeping score, here were the lines that finished in the nation's Top 20 in both Line Yards+ and Sack Rate+: Texas Tech (3rd in LY+, 1st in SkRt+), Oklahoma (5th, 2nd), Florida (1st, 8th), and Penn State (4th, 18th). Tech and Florida return a reasonable amount of experience here in 2009, while Oklahoma and PSU are lagging behind a bit in that department.
Fox34 is continuing their countdown of the top 25 players, and checking in at #5 is RB Harrison Jeffers:
It appears that former Red Raider Brandon Williams is doing well in his professional career. DMN's Tim McMahon writes that the Dallas Cowboys LB coach is happy with Williams progress:
"Victor Butler and Brandon Williams are what we consider doing things right now that give us hope that they have a chance to help us this year," Herring said. "They're showing some pass-rush skills -- things that are instinctive. They're explosive off the ball, quick get-off. Every day they're understanding the tempo and the speed of the game, learning how to use their fundamentals and their hands. They're showing some improvement every practice that gives you a feeling or hope that they will help us this year -- somehow, some way, at least special teams and definitely pass rush."
I found a couple of notes on recruiting, something that I really don't cover unless it's just finding video and links on new commitments, but thought I'd pass these two things along. New Texas Tech commit, WR Shawn Corker, attended some event earlier this week and this was written about his performance:
At WR, new Texas Tech commit Shawn Corker showed why he was one of the most coveted WR's in the state this year. He has no weakness.
And apparently another Florida WR, Kadron Boone, (he's a 4-star guy) is down to his final three teams: OU, Georgia and Texas Tech.
Big 12 Stuff: AAS's Kirk Bohl's asks if the Big 12 is overrated . . . The Oklahoman polled the players at the Big 12 Media Days and asked them a bunch of questions regarding the conference, including best and worst uniforms, best and worst fans, best and worst mascots, etc. (see the links on the right -- "Related Stories") . . . CT's Dave Matter writes that Big 12 defenses are still playing catch-up to the offense . . . DMN's Chuck Carlton lays out the likelihood of the Big 12 in 2009 running into the same scenario in 2008, a three-way tie . . . Tulsa World's Dave Sittler writes that the Big 12 North have become easy targets
Scouting the Enemy: SAEN's Brent Zwerneman writes about Nebraska Cornhuster defensive superstar, Ndamukong Suh . . . NY Times college football blog, the Quad, thinks the Houston Cougars are #30 team in the nation . . .