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Red Raider Gridiron :: Sheffield and Potts Injured, Not April Fool's Day Joke

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This Is Not an April Fool's Day Joke:  It's amazing what can happen in a day, but you know me, I can't help but be positive and I'll try to put my own spin on things.  For me personally, work has been awful for the past week or so and part of what keeps me sane is thinking positive thoughts about our Red Raiders.  I can't help it, and if you choose not to read any further, I completely understand.  I should also note that I don't do April Fool's Day jokes.  I'm not funny or original, just ask my wife.

Sheffield Undergoes Ankle Surgery, Potts Cuts Hand:  This is obviously being reported everywhere (LAJ's Don Williams, DT's Adam Coleman and RRS.com's Aaron Dickens) and was the story yesterday.  I certainly don't want to discount the significance of Sheffield's surgery, but just for a second, let's think about what Sheffield was able to do with very limited snaps as a third and fourth string backup . . . that's right, he only completed 74.3% of his passes for 1,219 yards, 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.  Not bad for a guy that hardly got any repetitions in practice.  If Texas Tech didn't have two senior quarterbacks who both understand the concepts of the offense they are running and were down to true freshmen quarterbacking the team, then I'd be worried.  That's not the case and I really don't think that the time that Sheffield will miss to be a huge deal.  I'd much rather him get that ankle right and I'd guess that the staff probably saw that he wasn't 100%, despite having a long time to heal and told him that if he's not 100% by the time that August practices start, that he probably wouldn't get a true look as a starter because they couldn't depend on him being healthy.  With Sheffield having surgery, this hopefully gives him a clean slate in August.

And to top things off yesterday, QB Taylor Potts cut his hand, following through on a pass, on a helmet.  At the very least, this looks to put Potts out for the rest of the week, which again seems like a fairly minor injury. 

And I understand that Potts isn't everyone's favorite quarterback, but I'd like to ask everyone here at DTN to feel free to critique player, but do not attack players or call players names.  You have every right to be a fan and like or dislike play on the field, but I'll warn and/or delete comments where players are called names.  One of my long-standing rules is not to call other DTN users names, and I think this should be extended to players.  They don't deserve to be attacked personally. 

More after the jump, including a position switch for LB's Bird and Duncan and some excellent video.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said that this puts the quarterback competition at a stand-still because of the Sheffield injury:

"It’s going to go into two-a-days anyway,’’ Tuberville said. "It wasn’t going to make a lot of difference. We were going to come out with a guy probably leading a little bit at the end. We won’t make any decision now in terms of that. We won’t have a depth chart with quarterback. The last one standing at the end of spring will be the so-called starter at the end of two-a-days. Looks like that’s how it’s going to be anyway.’’

OC Neal Brown feels bad for Sheffield:

"He’s been playing really well,’’ Brown said. "I hate it for us, but I really hate it for the kid, because he’d gotten consistently better every practice we had. He’s torn up about it. The thing is, it happened early. He’s going to miss nine practices, but he’s going to be back June 1 and be full go. We’re going to get the thing fixed the way it should be fixed and not rush him back.’’

First, this should be good news to everyone who is a fan of Sheffield starting, with the thought that with Tuberville wants to put the quarterback competition on hold due to Sheffield's injury.  Second, with Potts getting a majority of the snaps for the rest of the spring, perhaps the silver lining is that OC Brown will have the opportunity to fully concentrate on getting Potts' mechanics better.  Finally, with Sheffield out, this gives guys like QB Seth Doege and QB Jacob Karam an opportunity to get repetitions that they normally would not have received had both Sheffield and Potts not been injured.  Again, OC Brown feels that both of these guys need work:

"Doege and Karam are going to both get some reps and to be honest with you, that’s a good thing," Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. "They need it. They need some work. So we’ll roll them out there."

Again, I'm absolutely fine with all of this.  Doege and Karam do need the extra repetitions and from reading TTUMAR's practice reports, both quarterbacks are rusty and need the additional work. 

Notes, Notes, and More Notes:  LAJ's Don Williams writes that Bront Bird has moved to inside linebacker and Brian Duncan to outside linebacker.  This is an interesting move, one that probably won't get much discussion because of the quarterback issues.  Here's Tuberville on the change:

"He’s got great acceleration,’’ Tuberville said. "I think in our blitz package and stuff like that he’s going to give us a guy that can put more pressure on the quarterback.’’

Regarding Bird, a 6-foot-3, 242-pound senior, Tuberville said he thinks the former Odessa Permian standout’s height helps him inside.

He envisions both linebackers benefiting from the switch.

"It’s a mental game, too, for an inside linebacker like Bront,’’ Tuberville said, "but he’s a senior. He can handle it.

"Brian Duncan, with him on the outside, he’s really going to help our speed game in terms of using more speed and getting another guy on the field that can really, really accelerate. His first three or four steps are really good.’’

And DC James Willis:

"He has natural pad level, natural body lean and he’s quick with his hands,’’ Willis said. " … It didn’t take long after watching a few reps and a few plays (to think) he may be better off there.’’

The flipflop of Bird and Duncan is the latest of several personnel moves the new defensive staff has made.

"With the few changes we made,’’ Willis said, "we’re much faster than we were day one.’’

I'd be interested in foot-race between Duncan and Bird and I'll really be interested to see how much faster the team is because of this move.  It was thought that Bird was the more natural outside linebacker, but I do think that Duncan is quicker than Bird and it will be interesting to see how well Duncan can adjust to this move . . . Tuberville said that DT's David Neill, Pearlie Graves and Chris Perry all left practice with what seem to be very minor injuries . . . LG Lonnie Edwards returned to practice . . . DC Willis mentioned CB's D.J. Johnson and Jarvis Phillips as players that have impressed . . . Tuberville had this to say about WR Eric Ward:

"Our cornerbacks don’t want any part of him right now, especially when we’re in man coverage,’’ Tuberville said. The coach added that Ward is having to process a lot, not only in terms of learning the offense, but also in reading coverages on the run. "He’s been fun to watch,’’ Tuberville said. "He comes out to practice every day. He’s going to be a heck of a player for us.’’

. . . surely that quote makes everything better . . .

Leach to Reimburse Frenship I.S.D.:  Fox34 is reporting that District Judge Sower ruled that the discovery requests made by Mike Leach were not relevant and has ordered that Leach reimburse Frenship I.S.D. for their legal expenses in complying with Leach's discovery request.  The amount is only $1,970, which is much less than the $10,000 reported last week, and the judge had this to say in an opinion letter:

"The records furnished to the court by Frenship are not relevant to the issue at hand in substance or date and therefore, there is no need for a protective order and these documents will not be turned over to Leach."

"The records will not be made part of the record unless requested to be done so by Leach. If requested, the court will file the records under seal as part of the record."

Multimedia:  TTOSR's Travis Cram with lots of video, including Tuberville, OC Brown, Sonny Cumbie:

 

And DT's Adam Coleman: