KAUFMAN SPEAKS | Texas Tech's new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman spoke with LAJ's Don Williams and with Double-T 104.3's Chris Level and Aaron Dickens. Obviously, one is in print and one is just audio.
We'll tackle the LAJ stuff first, and Kaufman said that this wasn't about X's and O's:
Kaufman said he and Tuberville didn’t have to talk much about Xs and Os because they’ve worked together before and share identical philosophies.
"He said, ‘Let’s do the same things we’ve done before,’" Kaufman said. "He didn’t have to tell me what he wanted. I know what he’s all about. He knows what I’m all about (as far as) our beliefs and thoughts and that kind of stuff.
"I think the priorites are, hey, we’re going to be fundamentally sound, be able to get lined up and keep them playing hard."
This is seemingly the thing that bothered me the most about what happened last year, or at least this is part of it. I think that I'm in the minority, but I do think that the talent on the defensive side of the field wasn't spectacular, or it was young, and I also think that there was a disconnect between what the staff was wanting to implement and what happened on the field. There were so many miscues, which at times, I think it's incredibly hard for fans, because we don't know what the call is, to determine if the problem was the player being lined up in the wrong spot or the player was just man-handled by the offensive line.
I know that the part about not speaking about specifics will bother some folks, but it doesn't bother me. In fact, during the radio interview, Kaufman said that defensive line coach Terry Price and defensive backs coach John Lovett already know the terminology, so that's not going to be an issue or an excuse. Last year, obviously, Glasgow was the only person that new the terminology going into the season and into spring practices and that, perhaps, ended up being a lot of pressure on Glasgow to teach a new system to a new staff.
The one thing I do like is that, at least for me, this is all I want to see:
"I don’t really know what they’ve ranked or what they’ve done," Kaufman said Wednesday, the day after he was hired to be the Red Raiders’ fourth defensive coordinator in four years. "I knew they went to a bowl game two years ago, and this year they didn’t. The main thing is, we’re going to play confident, know what to do, play hard and be fundamentally sound."
Yes, I really just want to see a defense that is fundamentally sound. That's all.
Also on the radio, he talked about having a scheme that is adaptable to multiple personnel looks and that's the thing that he liked about it, which was that it could bend and twist to do what he wanted to do. Recruiting will be the #1 priority, but he doesn't have to put in something new since everyone is familiar with the scheme. Kaufman doesn't have much of a feel for the personnel on the team, but that will come and I think that's going to be one of the bigger things that Kaufman will have to do, which is maybe figure out where some guys need to play as I think the defensive line really needs to be re-worked.
Either way, I do think and hope that this is easier for the team and staff to teach this system. I feel bad for the players having to go through four systems in four years, but I'm hoping that the familiarity with what Tuberville, Kaufman, Price and Lovett bring to the table will have a calming effect on the team. That's my hope.
FOSTER READY TO PLAY | RRS.com's Mike Graham writes that Texas Tech signee WR/RB Sadale Foster is preparing to arrive in Lubbock. Foster does confirm, which is what I sorta expected, that Foster will see some snaps at running back:
"We've talked about me playing running back," Foster said. "They've talked to me about playing several positions. We've talked about me working out at the running back position as well as other positions. I'm happy to help there if I can."
The article states that RB Kenny Williams is the only healthy starting running back, but I guess I'd also add RB Ben McRoy as a healthy option, but ideally, RB Ronnie Daniels gets his act together to give some nice depth and Foster would then be able to focus on being a returner and inside receiver.
I also liked how Foster is excited about the academic opportunities that he'll have at Texas Tech:
"I'm really excited to start the academic thing," Foster said. "A big thing that sold me on Tech was the academics and we didn't get that kind of support at my school. Yeah, I'm excited to start the academic part of it. I love football, but I'm here to be a student as much as an athlete. Really excited about classes."
I like that.
More after the jump.
RACE ISN'T AN ISSUE FOR WHEELER | Rivals' Olin Buchanan asked some of the Army All-American players whether or not it mattered if the head coach at the team they were to eventually play for was African-American. Interesting that it does matter to some, but doesn't matter to others. Texas Tech commit WR Dominique Wheeler said that it didn't matter to him:
"I don't look at it as racist or anything like that as to who the coach is," Dominique Wheeler, a four-star wide receiver committed to Texas Tech, said. "I don't care. As long as I like him and we get along his race doesn't matter.
"I want to play for the best coach I can that will develop me well and give me the best education."
CRABTREE SHAKES DIVA LABEL | Quietly, WR Michael Crabtree has dismissed the idea that he was a diva coming out of Texas Tech and Sacramento Bee's Matt Kawahara talks to Crabtree's teammates about how good of a teammate Crabtree is. I never understood how or why he was labeled a diva and I'm glad that he's being seen as a hard-working receiver that does everything to make his team a better team.
I also started to think about Crabtree yesterday, as RGIII made his announcement to go to the NFL, and there was a huge press conference in Waco and it was covered by a lot of people. There are few things that bothered me when Leach was here, but not getting to know Crabtree as a player and a person while at Texas Tech. There was the occasional article about how Crabtree was into fashion, but I don't remember him being in the limelight after games. I wished there would have been some sort of press conference when Crabtree would leave for the NFL and I don't know if that was Crabtree or Leach not wanting to do that, but yesterday reminded me that once he played his last game of the year for Texas Tech, he was gone. I really wanted there to be some closure, some celebration in Lubbock, and that never happened and yesterday reminded me of that. Again, I'm not sure why that did or didn't happen, but I wish that it did.