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DTN Daily Diatribe | Texas Tech News, Notes and Links | 2011-10-18

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I'm slowly but surely working my way back into a groove.  I still don't have any sort of television or internet access, which is nice because I'm spending a lot of time at home doing "dad" type of things.  I don't know how much of previews you'll get from me this week, but at the very least, I hope to get to work early and do a DTN DD.  As an aside, I read a couple of books on the way to Ethiopia and on the way back and the one that stood out to me was Jim Harrison's True North.  I absolutely loved this book, it's a bit twisted, but as a guy that was an English major, I thought it was fantastic storytelling and terrific prose.  It seems like its been some time since I read fiction that compelled me and this one hit the spot.

Haboob hits Lubbock - The Daily Toreador: News
I had no idea that  "haboob" was a weather occurrence and apparently it happened yesterday in Lubbock.

Week 7 Football Press Conference Quotes and Video - Texas Tech Red Raiders Official Athletic Site
For me, I always enjoy head coach Tommy Tuberville's comments the Monday following a game and today is no different.  I've always maintained that he's being honest about his assessment of the team and yesterday was no different.  I'm sure I could nit-pick some of his comments, but the general perception I got was that he doesn't like losing and that the entire team, coaches and players, need to make an improvement:

The number one thing for me as head coach is accountability, and that's for all the players and coaches.  Accountable for what they do and how they do it and being a team player. If we're ever going to win a championship around here, we have to learn that one word. Though we've been disappointed and sick to our stomach about how close it comes and yet it's so far away, I can see a lot of light at the end of the tunnel because last year at times I didn't think a lot of the players really worked as a team, accountable to each other. But the last two weeks and even the weeks that we won games, these guys were very accountable to each other about things that they did good, and especially the things that they let the team down on. When you start seeing that in the locker room before a game, after a game, guys trying to prepare a lot more, then you know your programs getting a lot stronger. We never want to accept losing. But if it takes that for us to learn to be accountable to their teammates, to their coaches, to their school, I think it will go a long way for us.

And Tuberville also talked about being accountable:

Right now we're right in the middle of it. I think that's one thing that I'm upbeat about. As most of you see in this business, you see a lot of ups and downs, and we see the same thing. But we see the battles that are fought in this room, in the classroom, that go along with the football games. So I've seen a lot of progress. And I'm proud of these guys. They've fought hard. You just had a young man up here who threw three interceptions in the last game, and I saw more players consoling him than anybody. Here's a guy that makes all these mistakes, but they understand what he's also done. I think the players understand when you throw the ball almost 70 times a game, if you're perfect, then you're not human. I think we're coming together as a team. Whether we're going to win many more games, I don't know. It's going to depend a lot on how much better we get. I see a lot of promise how these young guys are playing. We've got to get to the point of accountability where we can make a lot more progress as we go along.

I think overall, right now this is the right message to send to your team.  I had somewhat decided that prior to this season that at the end of the recruiting cycle, February, I'll have a much better idea of how happy or frustrated I am with the progress of the program overall and I'm going to stick with that.  I'm not encouraged by two losses at home, but they were two losses against ranked programs and from what I can tell, the games were close.

Coach's conundrum: When Moore returns, where will Torres play? | Red Raiders
This is me not knowing what's been happening for 2 weeks, which is that I had no idea that WR Alex Torres was moved from inside receiver to outside receiver, WR Darrin Moore's spot, the last two weeks and has produced in the TAMU and KSU game.  Williams writes that there may be an issue as to who gets that spot once Moore returns.  I say that you cross that bridge when you get to it.  Here's head coach Tommy Tuberville:

"He could use a break," Tuberville said, "but Darrin’s a good ways away from being a hundred percent, and Alex Torres is as good a receiver as there is in this league catching the football. That’s exactly what (quarterback) Seth (Doege) needs. He needs somebody that he knows when he’s going to throw it in the area, it’s going to be caught. It goes a long way when you have a lot of confidence in players."

Red Raiders football notebook: Injury update | Red Raiders
Sounds like CB Derrick Mays, RB Ben McRoy and WR Darrin Moore are all going to be out this week against Oklahoma.  Awesome. 

Red Raider Report Card | Red Raiders and Yeager: Report Card - Kansas State
The LAJ and have report cards from Saturday's loss to Kansas St.

Tech men enjoying 'family' atmosphere of Gillispie | Red Raiders
Head coach Billy Gillispie talks about the family atmosphere he is trying to create, as well as returning PG Javarez Willis:

"You’re probably going to hear me use that word a lot," Gillispie said at the time.

The Red Raiders have heard the word plenty since, and it hasn’t taken them long to find out just what it means to their first-year head coach.

"Everything we do is together," said sophomore guard Javarez Willis, one of three returners from last season’s team. "From eating to watching TV, everything we do has to be together — the whole team."

And Willis and returning PF Robert Lewandowski talked about how much better the conditioning and training is this year, which is fairly damning of the prior staff:

"I feel like this is the most influential offseason I’ve had in terms of conditioning," Lewandowski said.

Both Willis and Lewandowski indicated that conditioning is an area where the team could have been stronger last season. Though a few practices is hardly a large sample size, the Red Raiders seem to already be greatly improved in that facet of the game.

"We weren’t training in a way that could make us better (last year), Willis said. "Right now we’re getting pushed passed our limit. It’s going to bring the best out of all of us."

I'm not going out far on a limb to think that this year is going to be a struggle to be a .500 team, but I do want to see a team that is more physically conditioned and a team that is pushed quite a bit.  I think this program needed that.