My Holiday Gift to You: This is incredibly cheap (I can't change, ask my wife), but my holiday gift to you is a recommendation. I listen to DFW's The Ticket and one of the mid-day shows started talking about a book authored by Pat Kirwan called Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look. I've only started reading the first few chapters (this was an early Christmas gift from my wife) and let's just say that this is highly recommended. If you need to add something to your gift list this is a really good book and I think this will make a fantastic off-season and in-season project for the DTN faithful, which is to read this book and build the off-season around whatever pops in my or your brain regarding this book.
Tough Time Buddy: I'm trying really hard to get motivated about Weber St., but right now I haven't even started the TTU defense vs. the WSU offense preview and I'm not likely to get much done the rest of the morning. If I don't get this done please don't hate me.
Notes, Notes and More Notes: LAJ's Don Williams writes a very short notebook, saying that CB LaRon Moore and TE Sophia James may not be able to play on Saturday. No comment on Sophia. As far as Moore is concerned, I hope he's able to play. I think he's been a good player and great for this program, essentially acting as a coach when he was hurt during the spring and a good part of this year . . .
. . . RP.com's Travis Cram has a notebook, focusing on the younger players that have played this year due to injuries and head coach Tommy Tuberville said that he thinks this is now a veteran team:
"We have pretty much played everybody if you look at it," Tuberville said. "We have a veteran team now. They might be first year players, but a lot of guys have had to play a whole lot. There are a few guys you would like to get a little bit more playing time and experience in a game situation. Our main focus this week is just to get better and hopefully have a chance to win."
Some of You Might Find This Funny: Rivals.com's Tom Dienhart lists the top 3 dozen top assistants in the country, and although some of you guys and gals might not feel that he's done a good job, OC Neal Brown has a good reputation around the country:
25. Neal Brown
CURRENT JOB: Texas Tech offensive coordinator
THE BUZZ: Brown is one of the fastest-rising talents in the nation. He's a child of the spread offense, learning from the likes of Hal Mumme and Tony Franklin.
After reading the first few chapters of Kirwan's book, I've actually got quite a few thoughts on Brown and lots of other things. I do think that Brown is confident, but I like confident coaches and players, and I also think he knows what he's doing, but this is going to be a long off-season and I've got a lot of things to write about the program, the offense and the defense (this is what some may call a tease).
Chuck Carlton Plays the What If Game: This is totally original and I hate how the DMN posts something to their blog, that was originally part of a chat and then posts it on their college blog and then tries to pass it off as if it's some sort of article or insight into the program. Anyway, DMN's Chuck Carlton had a chat and he answered three questions, but the title of the article doesn't match what he actually wrote. And in retrospect, I have no idea why I'm even linking to it other than to hopefully stem someone else from posting a FanShot later today.
Weber St. Wildcats: LAJ's Don Williams profiles Weber St. head coach Ron McBride. Pretty neat as McBride was the head coach at Utah before the days of Urban Myer and wanted to take over a smaller program and rebuild the program:
"But I wanted to return to Utah, because I really like the state," he said. "I like living in the state of Utah, and the fact that the program was completely down ... that’s kind of what my whole career has been built on is rebuilding programs, so it was ideal."
. . . StandardExaminer.com's Roy Burton writes about how the Wildcats are hoping for a playoff spot in the FCS (how do they have time for a playoff?) and Weber St. quarterback Cameron Higgins says that a win over Texas Tech will put Weber St. in the FCS playoffs:
"If we win, we get to go to the postseason," Higgins said. "It sucks that we couldn't be in reach for the Big Sky championship, but there's also something bigger at stake right now that we can possibly get, make it to the postseason and possibly get to the national championship. There's a lot of stuff on the line."
. . . DT's Mike Graham profiles Higgins, who says that Texas Tech hasn't seen a team like Weber St. this year:
Don’t tell that to the Wildcats though. Weber State believes it has some advantages heading into Saturday’s game that could give Tech some trouble.
"Offensively, we know how fast they play," Higgins said. "We know that for us to have a chance in this game we have to keep their offense off the field as much as possible. Defensively, they are aggressive.
"I don’t think they’ve played a team like us all season. They’ve played a lot of spread teams this season and we’re more of a two-back, hard-nosed kind of team. Any given Saturday anything can happen."
Spencer Gets Extension and Funding for Renovations for Dan Law Field: This is a good thing. Per LAJ's George Watson, head coach Dan Spencer received a contract extension through 2015 and funding has been approved for Dan Law Field. I know, a lot of you may not like Spencer because results haven't transpired on the field and wins or losses, but I really like Spencer and I think he's got the program headed in the right direction. Again, I'm glass half-full, but I really do like what Spencer has done. And to get the approval for renovations to Dan Law is long over-due. Here's Spencer and Watson:
His latest push has been to renovate Dan Law Field at a cost estimated at $16 million. Spencer said fundraising efforts have produced enough money that he hopes the renovations can begin after the 2011 season, but he is cautiously optimistic about that target date.
"We’re making headway," Spencer said. "I feel we’ve got things rolling and a timeline to get it done and my hopes are to get started doing something this summer. I hope that’s not premature but I think that’s the reality of where we are and that’s our goal."
Spencer said his new contract will also help on the recruiting trail. He said other schools recruiting against Tech have used the lack of a new stadium against the Red Raiders when trying to lure potential players.
"They’d say ‘It’s important to Spencer but it hasn’t happened, so it’s not a sure thing he’ll stay,’ " Spencer said. "So with this new deal we can reject that notion that I’m not staying and that big things are in store for our stadium. In the coaching world, security is hard to come by and I’m very grateful. It’s huge for me and my family and again this is where I want to be. I think over time we can become a good program."
Red Raider Profile: The official site previews LHP Zach Fowler, who sat out all of last year with Tommy John surgery. Here's Spencer:
"Zach is a guy that we really don't know what we have with him yet, because until this fall he never threw a pitch here because he was hurt," head coach Dan Spencer said. "We are excited for him to be here. He is a great worker and a great kid. He is left handed and a big guy. He is in position to really help us this year."