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Red Raider Gridiron | Texas Tech Football and First Week Impressions

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This is a summary of the practices that I haven't seen, but just read about and a lot of this information was burried in various DTN DD's. I thought a summary post would be better than just telling you to read the notebook or reference some other article.

OFFICIAL SITE STUFF | At the Texas Tech video page, they've posted the Red Raider Weekly segment on football practice. It's also on the Texas Tech athletics YouTube page. It's mainly Tuberville talking over some practice footage. I am sure that someone will find something to be upset about with what he said and I can't wait for that as sometimes I feel like the arguments on DTN are sometimes my version of Groundhog Day (indoor facility: "win moar and don't complain about the weather" vs. "the wind is windy need indoor facility").

Anyway, it was good to see some football. I do appreciate Tuberville acknowledging that this team needs to learn to stop the run and I couldn't agree more, this team has to stop the run and although Tuberville talks about running the ball, I think it's about running the ball more effectively as he and OC Neal Brown have run the ball at about a 40% rate for the past two years, which is fine with me.


The official site also has their first article on the spring practices and would just like to take the time to remind you how it takes time for freshmen to learn how things work and TE Jace Amaro affirms that:

"I think last year was a lot different just because I didn't really know many of the plays and how the system worked," Amaro said. "I feel a lot more comfortable and more relaxed now. I was a little uptight last year, and that kind of held me back from what I can really do. Just learning the whole system, that takes weeks and months of practice."

Amaro, who played in all 12 games his freshman season, finished with 57 total reception yards and averaged 4.8 yards a game. But that was not enough for the San Antonio-native. "A lot of people were really expecting a lot from me last year, and I didn't achieve my expectations at all," Amaro recalled. "This year is definitely going to be different."

It's not easy, but sometimes you have to be a bit patient.

MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE | I forgot to mention this on Sunday, but will mention it today, DMN's Mike Graham talked with DT Dennell Wesley, who I don't know if he ever gave a quote last year, had this to say about former defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow:

"No, not at all," Texas Tech defensive tackle Dennell Wesley said when asked if transitioning to yet another defense in new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman's 4-3 scheme was a challenge. "This coordinator makes things simpler than the last defensive coordinator. (Glasgow) just complicated things more than they were supposed to be."

Wesley then put down the 4-2-5 defense -- the scheme TCU will try to compete in the Big 12 with -- in favor of the 4-3 defense.

"(The 4-3 is) a much better defense to stop the run," Wesley said. "You've got more linebackers than cornerbacks on the field."

I'm not sure how to react to this other than the biggest thing that I read about the 4-2-5 last year was that it was supposed to be a simple defense to master because there weren't just that many moving parts. I don't know if this is one of those things where there's an aversion to wanting to learn something new, but most players are much more familiar with the 4-3 and are probably more comfortable playing in that type of defense as I'd guess that most players play the 4-3 in high school.

Still, there's part of me thinks that there's a difference between the idea that a defense is supposed to be easy to teach vs. a person being a good teacher to teach a simple concept. I don't know if Glasgow made things easy, but what I do know is that the defense continually looked absolutely awful almost from the get-go. Here's hoping for the best.

More after the jump.

82 | This was in one of Don Williams' notebooks and just as an FYI, WR Javon Bell will be wearing 82 and as Williams noted, Bell has some of the longest dreadlocks on the team. There will be no confusing the new 82 and the old 82. I have never been so ready to put something behind me than this chapter of Texas Tech football and I was incredibly close to not even mentioning it, but what the hell.

LEARNING TO RUSH | I don't know if this is something that really ever occurred to me, but when Williams talked with DT Delvon Simmons, he said his biggest adjustment was figuring out how to pass rush. I don't know if this is something that I take for granted because the spread offense is so prevalent in Texas high schools, but I think this makes some sense. Simmons also mentioned that one of his other problems was strength and I think from my point of view, that was Simmons' biggest problem. He just never looked strong at the point of attack and Simmons needs to be better, and he also looked like he had some baby fat and I'm hoping that he's somewhat transformed himself.

COULDN'T PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY | I thought that Abilene Reporter-News' Zach Long's article on new offensive line coach was very revealing. There's a ton of good stuff there and would encourage you to read the whole thing. Thomsen is asked about moving to Texas Tech after a losing season and he understands the risk:

"I wanted the opportunity to coach Division I," he said. "I have a great opportunity to do that here. I don't sit around and worry about what's going to happen. You can't. Even if I was still at ACU, you never know. As much success as we had there, that thing could turn. Tech had an inordinate amount of injuries last year, and that could have happened at ACU. You can't sit around and worry about the future. You just do the best you can do and go forward. I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe we can win."

Thomsen is also asked about coaching running backs and the offensive line:

"I'm comfortable with either," Thomsen said. "But you're getting to coach five guys instead of one. It takes a little more coordination. And all those guys have to work together — the backs and offensive line.

"But more of my background is offensive line, without a doubt. That's most of what I've done as an assistant, and I've always stayed close to that, even as a head coach. I enjoyed it. I like it, and I have a passion for it. I like coaching those guys. I'm real excited about that. I think we have a chance to be good on the o-line. We have some good players — some good older players and some good younger players. Meshing that group is going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it."

I can't help but like Thomsen's hire, where as I'm on the fence about new defensive line coach Fred Tate, but I don't know if I have any reason to be excited about one or not as excited about the other. Maybe my thought is that Thomsen was a head coach of team that he turned for doormat to a perennial winner and I think to do something like that at a school like ACU, without a lot of resources, that you have to be an outstanding teacher or hire individuals who can teach what you want to get across. I think that's something that isn't discussed very much, although I think this is a big reason why there was such a swing in the defensive coaches. Otis Mounds was most likely only hired for his ability to recruit, not coach, and that's a huge problem when he didn't pull in any recruits. Tuberville did go back to some people that he was more familiar with and I don't know that I have a significant problem with that, but like a lot of you, the turnover on the defensive side of the ball is discouraging to say the least. I think that consistency is a big part of a teams' success, especially on the coaching staff and I think that Tuberville wanted to insert some consistency

MCROY | LAJ's Williams profiled Javares McRoy and I've gone to great lengths to talk about the receiver options here and here. There's no doubt that Javares is supremely talented, but it wouldn't surprise me to see it take a year for Javares to really take hold. The thing that I wasn't real excited to read was that Javares was still picking up plays:

"I’ve just got to learn the receiver plays first," he said. "I’m trying to learn the receiver plays; then I’ll learn the running back plays. As I go along, they said they’ll put me at running back. I feel like I can do it."

I don't know if Javares had to sit out all of last year with the lung injury and as a result he wasn't able to practice with the team, but if he's still learning the plays and getting comfortable, then you should probably temper your expectations.

NOTEBOOKS | There are two notebooks thus far (here and here)and this is definitely something that you should read because even here, I can't cover everything that's there. These are things that stood out to me: the starting defensive front four are DT's Kerry Hyder and Dennell Wesley with Dartwan Bush and Kindred Evans at defensive ends (keep in mind that Jackson Richards had an eye infection the first 2 practices and Leon Mackey had personal issues at home and missed the first 2 practices), although I think that this is a long ways from being decided, with the additional weight that Evans and Branden Jackson have added are very encouraging . . . Pete Robertson is at outside linebacker and I should mention that Robertson is 6-3/220 so he's a good size to play linebacker . . . don't forget that Urell Johnson, Shawn Corker and J.J. Gaines are all now at safety . . . speaking of safeties, D.J. Johnson and Cody Davis are running with the first team while Tre Porter and Urell Johnson are running together and Austin Stewart and J.J. Gaines are the other group . . . Chris Payne is getting noticed as a guy who likes to hit and can run and it's strange in that his recruiting weight was 215, but weighed in at 188, which is significant, but it still wouldn't surprise me to see him on the field more than not . . . the cornerback pairings were Cornelius Douglas and Eugene Neboh, Jarvis Phillips with Jeremy Reynolds and Derrick Mays with Thierry Nguema . . .