Depth Chart Thoughts. The depth chart was released yesterday afternoon and this might be the only depth chart that is released all year. If you recall, the depth chart never changed last year, or if it did change, it didn't change all that much. The depth chart that was released before the first game was relatively static for the remainder of the year. It was guess-work on our end to figure out how and when things changed.
The biggest surprise is the fact that the coaches said that Tevin Madison and Jah'Shawn Johnson would be in the two-deep and sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Both players earned the field cornerback spot over incumbents La'Darius Newbold and anyone else that was going to test that spot. Madison was always one of the players that was mentioned, by either the players or the coaches when talking about the cornerbacks. I can't help but think that if Madison and Johnson are already in the two-deep, I wonder where Nigel Bethel II would have eventually landed as he was the more lauded prospect. One other note about Madison is that he is from Alabama and made all-state there even though he was injured the latter part of the season. Not only that, he played receiver as well.
Everything else pretty much fell into place, except that there are some freshmen that are making some moves, namely on the offensive line where Justin Murphy and Robert Castaneda have moved their way into the two-deep, Murphy at left tackle adn Castaneda at center. Those are both surprises considering there are more experienced players there.
Freshman IR Cameron Batson is returning punts this year and won the job over Jordan Davis. I was reminded on Friday that Sadale Foster mainly had this job in 2013 and the fact that I don't recall many, if any flubs, at least lets me know he was pretty reliable.
Generally speaking, the coaching staff appears ready to take some chances with some freshmen in the two-deep and the obvious risk is you just don't know if they are ready for the big time stage. From an outsider's perspective, or a person who has never been part of a practice or watching game film, what coaches want more than anything else is consistency. Of course being able to play at a high level is important, but if everything is pretty much equal, a coach will play a player that is more consistent over one that has inexcusable lapses in judgment.
And the depth chart isn't set in stone. There will be adjustments along the way. Last year, we saw it with injuries to players and a rotation of cornerbacks and safeties until Tanner Jacobson and Justis Nelson found their way into the starting lineup.
Running Back Preview. Here's running backs coach Mike Jinks along with DeAndre Washington and Quinton White discussing the running backs.
Team and Grant Ready. Yeah! The Daily Toreador returns and Jeremy Krakosky writes about how the team, in particular IR Jakeem Grant, is ready for the season to start:
"A lot of guys, especially me and the older guys, are ready to get back into action," Grant said. "Coming into this season we want to show the whole nation that we are a different team, and a more exciting team. Also, training camp is coming to an end. We got most of the wrinkles out, so going into the first game I feel like it's going to be great."
Need to be Have Attitude. The SAEN, via the Houston Chronicle (I think there is a partnership between the two papers), has Tim Griffin previewing the Red Raiders, a general preview here and an article here. In the article, DE Branden Jackson talks about how the defense approached the spring and the year:
"It's a very violent nature for us," Tech junior defensive end Branden Jackson said. "If you could have seen us for the first two or three practices, there was practically a fight on every other snap. This defense we have, everybody just has an attitude."
Miscellaneous. Texas Tech has a freshman walk-on defensive end / linebacker, Talor Nunez, from Midland Lee, and his little brother, Kaleb Nunez, is just a junior this year at Lee, weighing in at 6-3/230. Kaleb caught 51 passes for 806 yards as a sophomore . . .