Texas Tech Football
Congrats to RB Baron Batch who was named to the 2009 Doak Walker Award watch list. So yesterday, Taylor Potts was named to the to the Davey O'Brien Award watch list and now Batch is recognized for his play. This is actually an impressive and well-deserve feat for Batch, who has battled back from serious injury to be one of the toughest and most talented running backs I've ever watched at Texas Tech.
CFN has come out with their preseason poll and your Red Raiders check in at #33, which seems a little high for me, behind the likes of North Carolina and Tennessee. This bit seems a tad extreme, and although I'm concerned about the pass rush, I don't think that desperate is the right word:
What to expect on defense: A desperate hope for a pass rush. After losing Brandon Williams to the NFL and McKinner Dixon to academic issues, the Red Raider line needs to figure out how to get into the backfield on a regular basis. Daniel Howard has a great burst and could be the breakout player on one side, while part-tackle, part-end Ra'Jon Henley will be counted on in a variety of ways. In a dream world, Brandon Sesay is half as good as his hype after coming out of the JUCO ranks last year.
Smart Football's Chris Brown is on vacation but dug up an article from former TAMU coach Bob Davie about some of the practice drills that helps the Texas Tech quarterbacks throw all of those damned completions:
Settle-noose: This is basically a warm-up drill. The receivers begin out quarter speed and shuffle between two cones, "settling" nearer to one than the other, as if they were two zone defenders. The quarterback takes a drop -- again, reduced speed -- and throws the ball, aiming for the receiver but away from the nearer "defender." The receiver uses good catching form and bursts upfield after making the catch. You can see how this simple drill sets up the entire theory of their offense, which relies on finding seams in the zones and quarterbacks throwing between defenders.
Pat-n-go: This is another simple drill. Most teams use a form of "route lines," or quarterbacks dropping and receivers running routes on "air" -- i.e. with no defenders. The one clever insight here is that one group of QBs and receivers lines up on opposite from another. This way they can complete a pass, have the receiver burst as if scoring, and simply get in line on the opposite side of the field, rather than have to run back through. Just another way they get more repetitions.
Routes on air: Probably their best drill. The coaches line up garbage cans or bags or whathaveyou where defenders would drop for a zone. Then all five receivers and/or runningbacks line up, and they call a play. Five quarterbacks (or four and a manager, etc) each drop back and throw the ball to a receiver. Here's the deal: if you're the QB who should throw it to the first read, you drop back and throw it to him. If you are assigned to the third read, well you drop back, look at #1, then #2, then #3 and throw it to him. Same goes for #2, #4, and even #5. Moreover, every receiver who runs the route catches a ball and practices scoring. Then the quarterbacks rotate over -- i.e. if you threw it to #2 now you throw it to #3, etc -- and a new group of receivers steps in. This way quarterbacks absolutely learn all their reads and practice it every day (how many reps like this does the third or fourth string guy at another school get?), and they also practice throwing it to all their receivers. Each time they do this
7-on-7 and man-to-man: These are what they sound like, and most do these drills. One-on-one or man-to-man involves the receivers going against press man in practice, while 7-on-7 is like a real scrimmage, minus the linemen.
The Press Democrat's Matt Maiocco updated the WR Michael Crabtree contract negotiation with the San Francisco 49ers and this seems like a fairly wide gap:
My wife, Sarah, asked me a good question last night: How far apart are the 49ers and Michael Crabtree, in terms of actual dollars?
Answer: First, it seems to me that the major difference is more philosophical. Like the real-estate market, it's all about comparables. Crabtree's agent, Eugene Parker, wants one set of comparables as the basis, while - as I understand it - the 49ers believe it's pretty straight-forward based on where Crabtree was selected in the draft.
So if I were to take an educated-but-uninformed guess, I'd say the sides are in the neighborhood of $8-10 million apart in guaranteed money.
Scouting the Enemy: SAEN's Brent Zwerneman writes that QB Todd Reesing is a big reason for Kansas' success . . . Corn Nation's Husker Mike previews the Oklahoma Sooners . . . Rock M Nation's Bill C's takes a look at the Kansas State offense beyond the box . . . Waco Tribune's John Werner writes that the Baylor Bears hope to improve based on their experience . . .
Texas Tech Basketball
Former Red Raider Charlie Burgess continues his quest to make the Belize National Team and talks a bit about playing for Bob Knight:
Charlie Burgess, National Team
"Oh man that was a great day because not only will I remember that but everybody remembers I played on that team. He passed it off rough you know as one of the all time winningest coaches in Kentucky and with Bob Knight they just took it to another pedestal.Everybody knew he was a great coach but after he achieved that, it was like all things possible you could do."
"What was that like playing with the man regarded as one of the greatest basketball minds in the United States basketball?"
"Oh it was challenging, extremely tough because everyday was like a test, you test your mind everyday. He puts you through certain situations and sees if you could overcome them or not. So it just builds your character as a person and as a man. I got a lot of respect for him because he made me a lot of who I am today."
"Did he throw any chairs at you?"
"No, unfortunately I haven’t gotten a chair thrown at me but I got a couple of f-bombs dropped on me but apart from that it was a great experience, I can’t really complain too much about it. I wouldn’t change it for the world."