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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 09.22.09

Texas Tech Football

  Defensive Line Changes Roles:  LAJ's Don Williams writes that the defense showed their ability to sacrifice, perhaps personal success, to help the team by switching positions and filling in for players that are suspended on injured.  Here's CB Brent Nickerson, who hasn't been mentioned as also having to fill-in, but he certainly did, learn to play safety in a week:

"I’ve never been part of a game like that,’’ Nickerson said Monday, "but what that shows me is we have a lot of soldiers and warriors on our defense, guys that are willing to do anything for a win.’’

And defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill on his team:

"They’re ready to handle things,’’ defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill said. "It’s a two-way street. I think the kids trust us enough to know we have the team’s best interest and their best interest at heart. We trust them, but they also trust us. Once you get that, now you have something special. Now you can demand more of each other.’’

And DT Richard Jones makes me giggle:

"To sack Colt McCoy, especially — maybe a future Heisman winner, future NFL player — it was just amazing,’’ Jones said. "I was, like, in shock. I couldn’t believe it. I actually beat a tackle on a speed rush. I’m more like a powerful man. But it was fun. If I had to, I’d do it again.’’

  Football Notebook:  LAJ's Don Williams writes that the reason that RB Harrison Jeffers has been limited on the field is because he's lacking in pass-blocking, a direct result of the offensive line struggling.  Here's Leach on Jeffers, Eric Stephens and Baron Batch:

"The biggest difference is Eric’s more consistent," Leach said Monday. "We have three running backs who I think are neck and neck. We don’t have a guy that I think is ahead of the rest. You’ve got Harrison, who’s the most explosive. You’ve got Stephens, who’s the most consistent, and you’ve got Baron, who’s the most experienced.

. . . RG Brandon Carter talks about the points that Potts wins with the team by taking "the hit":

"We weren’t sure how he was going to react to that," Carter said. "Now that we have seen it, it makes us even more comfortable to have him back there. He’s not going to get all hectic, (and say), ‘Oh, what do I do now? I got hit.’ It’s football. He understands that. We were glad he reacted the way he did."

. . . head coach Mike Leach says that WR Austin Zouzalik is the starting Y receiver, the spot that Detron Lewis usually mans . . .

  The Last Time I Talk About Helmet-To-Helmet:'s Aaron Dickens listened in on the Mike Leach Big 12 media teleconference and he was asked about the helmet-to-helmet on Kindle to Potts:

On whether they coach their players any differently because of the helmet-to-helmet rule:
ML: "You don’t coach any differently. You coach your guys not to do it. It will be real interesting to see how it’s handled. yeah, I think everybody saw it."

On Texas defensive end Sergio Kindle’s apparent helmet-to-helmet hit to Taylor Potts:
ML: "I thought he was extremely tough. Despite being the victim of really obvious helmet-to-helmet contact, he didn’t really allow him to phase him, he continued to play well."

I cannot remember where I read it, but UT defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said that if it wasn't called then it wasn't a penalty, sorta like a holding penalty, and I think that's a real easy rationale to get out of having to comment about his player leading with his helmet, which is fine, that's his prerogative.  The fallacy with that argument is that just because you're not caught doesn't mean that it's not right.  If I steal something from a store but no one ever catches me, the act in itself is still wrong (unless there is some sort of moral reason I could fall back on, i.e. I was stealing bread to feed my family).  If Muschamp feels that it was a legal hit, then I hope Kindle and every UT defender levels the exact same hit and that Muschamp coaches his players to hit that way the entire season.  I think if that happens, everyone gets what they deserve.

  A Loss Is a Loss:  LAJ's Adam Zuvanich writes that despite the good showing, a loss is still a loss, and I would agree, it's time to move on:

Playing in front of the largest crowd to witness a football game in the state of Texas, and with a national television audience tuned in, many said Tech played the second-ranked Longhorns closer than they had expected, perhaps earning the program a greater measure of respect. And for several Tech fans who I spoke with over the weekend, or who posted comments to our stories on, that was satisfying enough.

And there’s been praise all around for quarterback Taylor Potts – who was making his first start on the road, withstood several hits in the pocket and still gave Tech a chance to win – as well as for how the defense performed without two regular ends and a starting safety.

The bottom line, though, is the Raiders are the only team with a Big 12 loss, and they already have as many regular-season losses as they did all of last year.

  Houston Cougar Links:  It's somewhat sad, but the only new news coming out of Houston on the Cougars was an article in the Tulsa World on how the Cougars have a big opportunity in Texas Tech . . . the previously linked's Aaron Dickens article has some thoughts from the Captain on Houston:

On the differences between Texas Tech’s and Houston’s offense:
ML: "They’re into motion more than we are. They motion players around some. I would say that would be one of the biggest things."

On Houston Director of Quality Control, and former Texas Tech quarterback, Kliff Kingsbury:
ML: "He was really a good player here at Tech. I think he was certainly the quarterback that lifted off the passing here at Texas Tech. When we first started, a lot of folks thought I was nuts to throw the ball and thought that Kliff was some guy out there that was just average and throwing it too much. Of course, he went on to rewrite the record books, not just at Tech but nationally. He was really instrumental to where we are today."

On what stands out the most on film about (Case) Keenum:
ML: "I think he does a really good job of leading the offensive unit. I think those guys really draw from his energy and tempo out there. I think he really does a good job. the one thing that he does that all good quarterbacks do is the unit kind of feeds off of them and he makes the other players around him better. i think he’s a good example of that."

  Texas Tech & Big 12 Links:  FWST's Dwain Price has a notebook from yesterday's teleconference . . . NewsOK's Big 12 Power Rankings has Texas Tech sitting 4th . . . TWAHS has thoughts from Saturday's game as does TR's dedfisher, who had additional thoughts after the post-mortem . . . Husker-Extra with a bit on QB Taylor Potts and some Big 12 conference notes . . .

Texas Tech Basketball

  Second Commitment:  I'm falling a bit behind as the commitments, both basketball and football are piling up, but Pat Knight and received his second commitment of the year PG Javarez Willis (5-11/170), a point guard originally from L.G. Pinkston in Dallas, but is spending a year at Christian Life Center Academy to get his grades in order (fun fact, former NBA'er Karl Malone is Willis' uncle).  Here's Willis' recruiting profiles:  ESPN, Rivals and ScoutLAJ's Courtney Linehan talked with Willis about Texas Tech and what he brings to a program:

"People say pretty much the same thing, they want you, this and that," he said. "I got tired of it. I didn’t want to deal with recruiting anymore, and anyway, I felt like Texas Tech was a home."

Describing himself as "an attacker," Willis compares his style to former Texas guard D.J. Augustine. Recruiting Web site said he averaged 14.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as a high school senior. Although he’s good at creating scoring opportunities, he said his best skill is his leadership.

"I pick players up," Willis said. "I lead."

Lots of good information in the Linehan article. 

ESPN's profile has a short scouting profile:

2009 prospect Javarez "Bean" Willis looks to score from behind the arc off the catch or dribble where he is streaky but has good elevation and release on his jumper. He also likes to attack the rim mostly going to his left where he is strong enough to finish through contact. Willis is an average athlete but competes at all times especially on the offensive end of the floor. At times he will take tough contest shots but he does play hard.