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Red Raider Gridiron | Defensive Newcomers; Duncan Named to Butkus Watch List

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GREEN BAY WI - AUGUST 14: Graham Harrell #7 of the Green Bay Packers passes during the NFL preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field August 14 2010 in Green Bay Wisconsin. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY WI - AUGUST 14: Graham Harrell #7 of the Green Bay Packers passes during the NFL preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field August 14 2010 in Green Bay Wisconsin. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
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Practice Report:  Quick update on watching the videos on the official site.  I typically use Firefox as my internet browser of choice and have tried watching the videos from the official site on Firefox and for whatever reason, the video just doesn't load or it doesn't load very quickly.  I then tried watching the videos on Chrome and Explorer and the video loads fine.  So if you're having trouble, you might trying switching browsers.

The official site has the practice report from yesterday's last two-a-day practice.  I've taken notes from yesterday's video media session and from Tuesday (not a transcript):

August 18, 2010
Tommy Tuberville:  Will push through, do a lot of situational practicing (short-yardage).  Troy Vincent did a good job with the talk, had a lot of good experiences about different situations, they were all zoned in on him and taking it all in.  RB Baron Batch and RB Eric Stephens will get plenty of work in scrimmage this week.  RB Benjamin McRoy is one of the most improved guys out there.  RB Aaron Crawford's attitude has been good and an improvement.

WR Tramain Swindall:  Feels that they have the best receiving corps in the nation.  Lots of depth and a very fast-paced offense.  The experience is a big part of the success, taking the young guys under the veteran's wings.  No comment on the quarterback, they are both making good plays and playing fast, it will be a tough decision for OC Brown.

OLB Julius Howard:  Linebacker corps looks good.  Just wants to step in and help the team, helping freshmen.  The freshmen and redshirt freshmen are plaing well.  LB Zach Winbush, OLB Daniel Cobb, LB Cqulin Hubert and LB Joe Carmical are all coming along good.  As is ILB Tyrone Sonier.  ILB Bront Bird knows the fronts, watched a bunch of film with Bird.  Bird brings a mental and physical aspect.

August 19, 2010
Tommy Tuberville:  RB Harrison Jeffers has a concussion.  Out at least for the weekend.  Last day of two-a-days.  Go to the luncheon.  Mid-day practice today.  Missing too many receivers and defensive backs.  Normal rash of injuries (reporter said that we're not used to injuries here).  Wants to get as much work in as possible.  Win with experience and good to have guys with experience that have played.  OLB Brian Duncan has been good about doing that.  Good to be able to come out and have extra contact, but two-a-days are overrated, the second practice is about timing, not about speed.  Want to make big plays in special teams and the plays is important to the players.  Been very pleased with the kickers and punters.  The kickers have been better in practice.  K Matthew Williams is still ahead as the kicker.  The punters are pretty even.  Can't teach speed, but RB Benjamin McRoy can run and he's very physical.  Thinks he'll show up this weekend.  DE Scott Smith has a bunch of ability and needs to get quicker and faster.  A pleasant surprise that he's been able to catch on so quickly.  Was skeptical about DL Lawrence Rumph not being eligible this spring, but gives the team some depth.

DE Scott Smith:  First week of practice was hot, lost a lot of weight, just trying to get better.  Likes the 3-4, lots of stunts opens up a lot of gaps.  Likes working with Prunty, they break-down the plays to make it easier.  The whole team is bonding well.

DL Lawrence Rumph:  Very rough getting used to the Division I system.  Very tough watching the teams practice, but it happens.  The team is coming together, getting to know each other, as a team.

Duncan Names to Butkus Award Watch List:  Congrats to OLB Brian Duncan for being named to the Butkus Award Watch List.  Well-deserved.

Notebook:  LAJ's Don Williams has a notebook from yesterday's practice, but he has actual quotes, whereas I have "not a transcript".  Williams was apparently able to get a little more out of Rumph than the video linked above to talk about his progress getting into the playbook:

"At first, it started out pretty slow for me," Rumph said. "The playbook was extremely hard for me to understand, but now I’ve been working with my teammates, staying after meetings to learn the playbook and learn the plays, where I line up at. I’m still having little doubts, but coach has been working with me, and I’m understanding a lot more now."

Tuberville also talked about DE Scott Smith:

"Scott’s a guy that has a lot of ability," Tuberville said. "He’s got to get a little bit quicker and faster and stronger as he goes along. He’s been a pleasant surprise in terms of being able to catch on as much as he’s caught on in a short period of time. Players really respect him."

Not Missing the Sand Pit:  LAJ's Don Williams main article this morning is about how the players do not miss the dreaded sand-pit, made famous by Leach and strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie.  To be fair, RG Mickey Okafor notes that he understood the benefit of the sand-pit and that sometimes punishment can look like hard work:

"It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do," he said. "It can be considered hard work; it can be considered punishment, so I guess you can kind of go both ways on it. I don’t think anybody wanted to roll in the sand. Other than rolling and getting water sprayed on you ... normal sand pit was fine."

And don't worry, there's still hard work happening, per OLB Julius Howard:

Howard said removing the sand pit doesn’t mean the Red Raiders are taking it easy. Howard describes similarly leg-burning workout routines on heavy sleds: A group of four lining up behind the sled and pushing it down the field, perhaps a dozen sets to a workout.

Walker worked at Auburn from 2003 to 2005 and again from 2007 through 2009, when Tuberville got to see him train players. The two share a belief in lower-body and core workouts being the best way to build football players.

"We do probably harder workouts with Joe Walker, because sleds are pretty tough," Howard said. "Sleds are just like pushing in the sand, because they weigh 300 pounds, 300 pounds plus. We’re pushing them up and down the field."

Rivals Rankings Updated:  Rivals released their updated top 250 list and Texas Tech is highly represented:

#111 TE Jace Amaro (No. 7 TE overall, No. 1 TE in Texas)
#171 C Tony Morales (No. 1 OC overall, No. 4 OL in Texas)
#171 RB Kenny Williams (No. 20 RB overall, No. 5 RB in Texas)

RRS.com's Aaron Dickens does a good job of looking at the these players, including quotes from Amaro and Morales, but here's Amaro on the 2011 Texas Tech recruiting class:

"It's the No. 1 class in Texas Tech history," Amaro said. "We're going to be bringing in a lot of good guys. I talk to those guys almost every day. It took me two years to get as close as I am with them with my teammates at my school right now."