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Red Raider Gridiron | Linebacker Preview and More Information on the 3-4 Defense

Practice Report:  The official site has the preview of the linebackers and video of DC James Willis and OLB coach Robert Prunty talking about the players.  I've compiled the non-transcript from that video as well as head coach Tommy Tuberville's post-practice comments:

James Willis (Defensive Coordinator): 
Brian Duncan, Bront Bird, and Julius Howard provide leadership and leaning on those guys.  Have guys that can do more than one thing.  Bird, Duncan, Howard and Sam Fehoko have played a number of positions.  Bird is lining everyone up.  Always a luxury to have senior leadership and the pressure of a game is always different than practice.  Can train the young guys.  So many have stepped-up during traning camp.  Cqulin Hubert has done well.  Mentions Bird, Duncan, Howard and Fehoko.  Tyrone Sonier has been a surprise, giving good depth at Mike, Will and Sam.  The goal is to get guys that can play now. 

Robert Prunty (OLB coach):  Duncan has been very intense.  Fehoko is very physyical, plays with leverage. 

Tommy Tuberville: 
Good camp, almost three weeks, guys are happy that school is starting.  Got a lot accomplished and more to do.  The weather cooperated some.  In pretty good physical shape.  DT Coby Coleman and S Jared Flannel had surgery and will be out for the season.  No practice on Thursday.  Start regular routine on Friday afternoon.  Thinks that this team could play this weekend.  There are some things they want to add.  A little bit away on special teams.  Good weekend of practice, take Monday off because of classes and the coaching staff puts the game-plan together.  Will have a two-deep done on Saturday after practice.  Still have a lot to look at on special teams.

I've been sick (I hate the summer cold) for the past three days and have been meaning to write about how this defense is going to look and spit-balling a two-deep.  Then Tuberville mentioned that he should have a two-deep ready by Saturday evening, so maybe that two-deep roster gets released on Sunday and we can start dissecting that over the weekend and next week. 

Also of note, Willis mentions that Hubert is having a good camp, but Tuberville said yesterday that Hubert has struggled.  A number of you mentioned this yesterday and I'd agree, that I'd bet that from a technical standpoint Hubert is struggling, but from just getting out there and knocking-heads, he's probably making plays. 

Batch Named to Doak Walker Watch List:  Congrats to RB Baron Batch who was one of the running backs named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List!

Notes, Notes and More Notes:  LAJ's Don Williams has a number of items this morning where he confirms that WR Darrin Moore and DB Don Hursey are on campus and practicing . . . Tuberville confirmed freshman DB's Tre' Porter and Urell Johnson will be in the defensive back mix this year . . . freshman DT Mike Jones has been dismissed from the team, no reason was disclosed . . . LB Tahrick Peak has finally shed the blue jersey, which means that he's no longer injured . . .

Defense Must Be Well Schooled:  LAJ's Don Williams writes about how the defense has been force-fed to adjust to the offense the entire fall practice:

For the last three weeks, right along with the heavy contact practices, Tech’s staff has placed equal emphasis on teaching — in meeting rooms and walk-through sessions.

Tuberville said his defensive staff has lined up players against blizzard of situations and formations they’ll face, forcing them to make adjustments.

"If we’re having problems with that starting Sunday and Tuesday in practice, that means we’ll have to cut back more," said Tuberville, whose team opens the season Sept. 5 hosting SMU. "We’ll have to limit what we do and what we go into the game with, but we’re not going to go into a game and make a lot of alignment mistakes, because you can’t survive in this league doing that — having one guy line up wrong and not getting everything carried out the way it should be."

Tuberville also goes on to talk about how the technique will be different for every player for every snap:

"Not one time in a game will any position ever line up in the same technique two times in a row," he said. "They’ll line up maybe inside technique or outside technique; that’s safeties and corners and linebackers. Defensive linemen, some might be in head-up technique, one might be in man technique. There’s times that we drop defensive linemen off in pass coverage.

"It’s a lot of different scenarios," he said. "Then all of it might change depending on the formation that (the opposing offense) comes out in. It’s a very mental defense, and we’ll be a lot better playing it as we go along through the season. But that’s going to be part of the growing up process."

This is the biggest reason why I've hesitated trying to do any sort of 3-4 tutorial this offseason because I don't think that the 3-4 defense that I traditionally think will be the 3-4 defense that we'll see.  I keep getting the impression what we're going to see is a complete hybrid situation where players flow between spots seamlessly and although there are starting players, there really won't be starting positions. 

We also find out that Aundrey Barry is backing up Sam Fehoko at the "Buck" position, which is a hybrid stand-up or down-lineman position.  Go read the whole article.

The DT Is Back:  The Daily Toreador is back and Jon Arnold is busy:  the 3-4 defense and breaking season ticket records.

Rivals Recruiting Rankings: has released their updated national recruiting rankings and Texas Tech is 18th in the nation, even with 5 commits that haven't even received a ranking:

Tommy Tuberville  brings a different approach and reputation to recruiting for the Red Raiders and it's clearly working. To be fourth in the Big 12 right now in recruiting, following last year's eighth-place finish, shows marked improvement. Tuberville and his staff are backfilling 2010 while focusing on 2011 and beyond. Things are looking up in Lubbock.
Biggest gets: TE Jace Amaro, OL Tony Morales, RB Kenny Williams
Top remaining targets: ATH LaDarius Brown, LB Anthony Wallace, ATH Dominique Petties

This also means that in the Big 12-2, Texas Tech is just behind UT and OU and for whatever reason, isn't as high on Oklahoma St., which they have ranked at 25th. 

Mr. College Football Weighs in on Hot Seat:  Atlanta Journal Constitution's Tony Barnhart considers coaches who are on the hot seat, who will struggle, who will succeed and mentions Tubs as a coach who will struggle:

2. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tuberville will try to change the culture established by Mike Leach, which means Tubs will try to run the ball and play better defense. In the short term this has a chance to be ugly until Tuberville can get his recruits in place.

Top Texas Running Backs:  FSSW's Steve Hunt ranks the top 10 running backs in Texas and somehow, UT's Tre Newton gets ranked ahead of Baron Batch.  Just to refresh your memory here's Newton's 2009 (116 carries, 522 yards and 6 TD's) and Batch's 2009 (168 carries, 884 yards and 14 TD's).  I've got no problem with TAMU's Christine Michael being slightly ahead of Batch, but Newton? 

Video:  KAMC with a look at the offensive line.

Maybe I Just Don't Understand:  LAJ's Courtney Linehan, who I typically like her coverage, is writing today about how tough her job can be and how reporters don't cheer for teams to win or lose, but to just report the right information.  That's all fine, but then I don't get why Linehan needs to write this:

The fact that anyone with a laptop can sit outside Starbucks and blog makes us that much more dedicated to the concept of "seek the truth and report it." Even if we don’t get the story first, we should always get it right, and it’s humiliating when we don’t. But never assume that means we don’t want to be the first place to find the news. Even though the rubber banded print edition doesn’t show up until morning, we’re on the web, the iPhone, and goodness knows Twitter as soon as a story’s confirmed.

I still don't understand the traditional media feeling the need to continue to take pot-shots at bloggers.  This almost seems to imply that bloggers, like myself, don't want to seek the truth because I am a blogger?  I don't know if I'm being overly sensitive, but not all bloggers are created equal (DTN is not Deadspin and Deadspin is not DTN).  I've written what I believe and I try to back up what I think with facts or sound logic.  I think I've built up a pretty reputable brand since I started DTN and although I don't have an editor that tells me what I can or cannot write, I still try to be pretty careful with what I throw out there.  I may be critical, but I try not to be critical without a purpose. 

I know that despite my love for Texas Tech that I'll probably never get any sort of access, and I'm okay with that.  I'm not going to be accepted by most of the media because I'm an outsider, and that's fine too.  But I really don't need someone to diminish what certain bloggers do write by someone that is doing the same thing, but she gets paid to do it. This isn't to say that what Linehan or any other mainstream writer is any better or worse than any blogger.  That's the beautiful thing about writing and literature in general, which is that I may really love to read Ernest Hemingway while others may love to read Shakespeare.  Different voices and different opinions make the world go-round.