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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 03.01.10

Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-2) vs. Bethune-Cookman and Washington St.
Location: Dan Law Field : Lubbock, TX
Radio: Affiliates
Date Start Time Texas Tech
Starting Pitcher
Starting Pitcher
2.25.10 4:00 p.m. Chad Bettis
W, 2-0
Patrich Goelz-Bethune-Cookman
L, 0-1
W: 12-8
2.26.10 4:00 p.m. Jay Johnson
L, 0-1
Paris Shewey-Washington St.
W, 1-0
L: 3-6
2.27.10 4:00 p.m. Brett Bruening
W, 2-0
Joey Munoz-Bethune Cookman
L, 0-2
W: 14-12
2.28.10 12:00 p.m. Jordan Stern
L, 0-1
Paris Shewey-Washington St.
W, 2-0
L: 7-10
LF - Michael Reed (Sr.); CF - Taylor Ashby (Sr.); RF - Barrett Barnes (Fr.)
SS - Joey Kenworthy (Sr.)     2ND - Garrett Totten (So.);
3RD - Nick Popescu (Jr.)                                  1ST - Stephen Hagen (Jr.)
C - Jeremy Mayo (So.)
DH - Scott LeJeune (So.)

*Click on the score for boxscore. Texas Tech series preview (pdf).

The Game: A pretty tough outing from starting pitcher Jordan Stern (1.2 IP; 6 H; 6 ER; 1 BB; 1 SO). Yeesh. The bullpen pretty much picked up the pieces and pitched okay, but Washington St. took their 3 run lead in the 7th inning, well after Stern left the game. Nevertheless, when your starting pitcher can't give you more than two innings, you know it's going to be a rough game. One of the things that head coach Dan Spencer has tried to upgrade since he arrived is the pitching depth, in particular the starting pitcher depth. That sort of thing does take time and until conference play starts, Stern probably won't be a weekend starter, but you hope that Stern can figure things out by this time next year when he's a senior. Scott Erzinger, John Neely and Jay Johnson all pitched in relief. 2B Garrett Totten led the offense (3-4; 1 R; 1 RBI) along with DH Scott LeJeune (2-4; 2 RBI). Something to keep an eye on, RF/1B Barrett Barnes (2-5; 2 R; 1 RBI) had a decent day at the plate, but he also had 3 strikeouts. Young players have to learn to be patient, it will be interesting to watch his strikeout rate this spring/summer.

Recaps: LAJ's George Watson and DT's Adam Coleman have recaps of yesterday's game and the weekend games. Per Watsno, here's Spencer sounding somewhat positive after the game:

"Personally, I think we’re closer," Spencer said. "I’ll tell you, I feel better about it today at the end of the game than I did before the game just because of what we saw. Our bodies are still few, we only have 13 arms and we’re still trying to put it together, but we’re closer. I think the only way you can really find out what will happen is to run them out there under fire, and we’ve got some guys who are starting to show signs they’re going to be good arms for us.’

And per Coleman, Spencer again:

"Our schedule is such that there’s no gimmes, there’s no mid-weeks, there’s just nowhere to where you think you can experiment or ‘Hey we’re going to win this game, this is a win, we can come out and play poorly,’" Spencer said. "We gotta play well to be in the game. We gotta play well to win, to give ourselves a chance to win with Dallas Baptist coming in here on Tuesday."

Official Site Post Game Quotes:

Head Coach Dan Spencer on the team's performance today:
"Getting down early really hurt us. We didn't pitch well early and got ourselves in a hole. I thought we did a good job of fighting back and getting ourselves in a place where we had a chance to win. I think the daggar was (John) Neely pitches great and then (Jay) Johnson comes out in the seventh and walks two guys. You can't do that. He did give us a chance with a couple of zeros. (Scott) Erzinger did a good job out of the bullpen too. I think we're starting to sort of some things out in our pitching. But I was proud of the fact that our guys stayed with it and got back in the game and had an opportunity to win. At the end of the day, it stinks to get beat but if you fight and stick around, those things will help you stay on the road."
DH Scott LeJeune on the offense having to carry more of the weight when the pitching is struggling:
"It's fine. That's going to happen from time to time. There's going to be times when we are struggling on offense and our pitching is going to pick us up. It's going to happen throughout the season and we're just going to have to push through it."

Video Recap: DT's Brett Winegarner:

Singletary's AC Shoulder Sprain:  LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes that the hopes that the basketball team finishes strong largely depends on the status of SF Mike Singletary and his shoulder:

Tech looked halfway there early Saturday, taking a 14-point lead on the Cornhuskers after 16 minutes. Then Singletary went down in the second half, again landing hard on his right shoulder, and opened the opportunity for an 18-0 Nebraska run.

"When Singletary went out, when he was injured," coach Pat Knight said, "everything kind of slowed down."

And SF Brad Reese says that other players will need to step up against Baylor on Tuesday:

"He's important to us but we've got to have other players who are good too, who can step up," forward Brad Reese said. "We need Mike on the defensive end sometimes, and it also hurts us when he's not out there because sometimes we need a big bucket from him."

NFL Combine Notes:  BON's Peter Bean was at the NFL Combine over the weekend and had a fantastic diary of his first experience covering this event.  Here's Day 1 and Day 2.  In fact late last week, I credited a NewsOK article for asking RG Brandon Carter about Mike Leach, but it turns out it was Bean that actually asked the question:

And in any case, he added, he always grows out his hair out in the offseason--for his Mom. Had he been speaking to anyone other than a group of reporters, someone would have let out an "Awwwww..."

If there was any doubt that he's taking this process seriously, Carter squashed it when asked what he had weighed in at. My jaw dropped when he said: "329 pounds." Down a full 16 from the 345 he played at this season at Texas Tech.

Near the end of his session, after Carter finished talking about the challenges of adjusting from the wide splits of the Air Raid, I realized that no one had asked him anything about Mike Leach, so I jumped in and asked whether he was disappointed with the way that things had ended for the Captain. Forgetting that he was one of the few players who hadn't stepped up to bat for Leach during the drama, I fully expected him to express his disappointment, so his answer surprised me:

"I always liked Coach Leach as a coach," Carter said. "He made questionable calls this year. There was definitely an issue with him. But what happened happened, and I hope he finds somewhere else to coach, because he's a great coach and I know he brings success to programs. I wish him well, and I think eventually, he’ll move on to bigger and better things."

And now you know, the rest of the story.  And how about Carter losing 16 pounds from the end of the season?  The guy is working hard.

Carter on the Combine:  DT's Adam Coleman talked with Carter about the NFL Combine process:

Carter competed in the basic drills conducted at the Combine. He said he benched pressed 225 pounds 22 times, ran the 40-yard dash in 5.36 seconds, ran the 3-cone shuttle drill in 7.87 seconds and the 20-yard shuttle drill in 4.94 seconds.

But he will have a chance to improve those numbers come Pro Day.

"I don’t think I did as good as I wanted to," Carter said. "I didn’t hit anywhere near some of the numbers I have been putting up. I don’t know if it was due to not getting any good sleep or just stress with everything, but I get another chance to do it at Pro Day on March 11. So I’m going to do it all again and try to have better results."

Carter said Pro Day should provide him with a more personal workout with scouts, making it as important as the Combine. Carter said he plans on being back in Lubbock on March 9 in order to prepare for Pro Day. He will not be the only former Red Raider participating either.

Spring Previews:  FWST's Jimmy Burch previews all Big 12 teams heading into spring practices (go read it for a good recap of most of the teams).  Here's the bit on your Red Raiders:

1  Who plays quarterback? New coach Tommy Tuberville has vowed to make minimal changes to Tech's spread offense. But he wants a clear pecking order with his quarterbacks. That puts seniors Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield in a winner-take-all battle during spring drills. Both should enter spring drills on even footing with the new staff.

2  Who generates the pass rush? New defensive coordinator James Willis loses Tech's top four defensive ends from last season to graduation, including sack leader Brandon Sharpe (15). Willis plans to run a 3-4 scheme and figures to turn to JC transfers Scott Smith and Donald Langley for immediate help in the trenches.

3  Will Tuberville increase emphasis on the ground game? Based on his history at other schools, the answer is "yes." How much that desire will impact the continued use of Tech's wide offensive line splits from the Mike Leach era will be determined. If Tech calls more running plays, the Red Raiders have a strong candidate to shoulder the increased workload in Baron Batch (884 rushing yards, 14 TDs last season).

More on Smith and Langley at 10:00 a.m. this morning.