Friday, August 9, 2013

Practice Review 8/8/2013

I told you guys that I would have a preview for you yesterday, but I was way too excited to finally welcome Nike into my home. He is adorable, and I hate going to work now because I have to leave him alone for a few hours of the day. He’s so like my little brother in the sense that he wants to sleep right under me. In a day, I’ve already taught him to sit! Yayyy! Now the potty training will be a challenging road to say the least.

ANYWAY, let’s talk football!

Again, I heard the blaring speakers from the Jones, and I thought the guys were practicing in the Jones so I rode my friend’s bike across the street to see if I could catch some practice time. Come to find out, they were doing sound checks in the Jones (by the way, THAT JUMBO TRON IS GOING TO BE SICK)! I was kind of riding around and I noticed I could see the full practice field by sitting on the side of the bubble where there is a hill. I watched until a staff member approached me and ask me who I was. When I told him who I was I suppose he went back to Kliff or somebody and they said it was okay for me watch their closed practice. Note: I will not be able to watch practice again because I work as a community assistant at University Pointe and we’re getting ready to renovate all of the apartments. Pray for me as this can be a trying time, but the money makes it worth it.

QB – I’ve always been one to say that the QB race is dead even. After watching one day of practice, I can honestly say the starter is evident, but the back-up race will be close. I think Brewer is of course the leader. His poise in the pocket when things break down along with his experience does make for the idea candidate. Brewer seems to be way more confident than in the spring. When I say confident, I mean he’s attempting the throws that he may have second guessed in the spring. That’s coach Kliff’s “no thinking, just play football mentality” in full effect and I love it. I think he knows he’s going to be the starter, and if that is true, the back-up QB battle (to me anyway) is going to be very tight if Brewer is the guy. You can red shirt Webb all season, but if Brewer goes down and Webb is the next man up, I think this staff will gladly take Webb’s redshirt.

WR’s – Dropped balls still seem to be a problem here with the rotation guys. I think our starters are going to be solid. Yes, I do believe Marquez has improved his route running skills from what I saw. Yes, Amaro can be the best TE in the country next year – we’ll see about his attitude during rough times next year. Honestly there is not much to report from these guys. I will say I do believe that Kliff has taken more from New England than people believe. This offense (to me) is a dink-and-dunk style offense implemented with the hurry up. That leads to tired DB’s – which in turn – leads to a big play down field because of lazy eyes and slow reads. That’s a simplified way to explain what New England does.

Offensive Line – I know that guys have gone on the record and said that this offense is going to surprise some people (Kerry Hyder), but I just don’t see it yet. I know I have not seen them progress from spring to now, but from what I saw at that practice, it seemed like Coach Wally’s attacking defense almost always got the upper hand on the line. On more plays than not, our QB’s were on the move or simply just Manziel’ed it for a nice gain because the pocket collapsed very quickly. This goes back to why I’m leaning on Brewer more than I was before. He seems like someone who can handle the break downs, whereas Webb panics a little. On a side note, I do believe this O-line will be okay for the season because I have not seen any other Big 12 schools’ defense look at complex as this one. Will it be picked up eventually, of course, but in the meantime, expect this defense to make some early conference noise. LET ME GO ON THE RECORD and say that I believe the season will be determined by these guys!
Defensive Line – This is one area where I am not an expert to be honest. I think these guys have a solid rotation for sure. I know these guys have some getting in shape to do, but that’s compared to (what we assume) will be the fastest offense in the country. I’ve heard nothing but good news from the coaches on these guys, so I think the defensive line will be a solid group.

Linebackers – I am still a little all over this place with the names for these LB positions. I had it down pact when I was helping one of my friends learn the playbook, but now I can’t remember. Anyway, I know our guys are undersized here, and that’s my real only concern. I know these guys say heart beats talent, but I would question: We’re they not playing with heart under coach Tuberville because they couldn’t stop the run to save their lives? I know most would say they improved under Coach Kaufman, and I would agree, but they fell apart in the end finishing 74th in the rush defense category. I’m not here to discuss the Tuberville era, so please save the comments for VTM. I like what coach Wally is having these guys doing anyway. I saw great blitze combinations that were hard for the offense to pick up at times. These guys fly around, and I do believe that though we don’t have the biggest guys, we have guys that have something to prove. This group will be fine.

Defensive Back – Since I am now writing while at work, I’ll make it quick. This group is doing well as it seems so far. We all hear the good news about Bruce. I think he’ll be a target down field against bigger and taller WR’s, and we’ll see if he man’s up to the challenge. This group as previous years would suggest can be very inconsistent, so again we’ll have to see. I saw quite a few times these guys get beat down field. (I was sorta further away and seeing the jersey numbers was slightly difficult) so I can say who was particularly doing what. They had refs during the practice, and we got a few pass interference calls when the ball was thrown deep so these guys will need to do better when finding the ball in the air.
Coach Haverty really gets after these guys! He pretty much was on the field with these guys (behind the safeties) yelling and coaching in between plays. I think he was yelling at our younger guys which is expected because they haven’t fully grasp the defense (all very normal). Both of our secondary coaches seem to still be coaching alignment. That is very important for us DB’s if you didn’t really know. Sometimes being too close or too far away in a particular play can lead to bad things (i.g touchdowns). Coaches also preach alignment sometimes to confuse QB’s into to making inaccurate checks at the line. 

Penalties - I mentioned we had refs at the practice, and I saw way too many penalties from both sides of the line of the ball. I know Kliff will fix that, but I did want to mention it because I know that was a problem for us last year. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

He returns to Texas Tech more than a decade after capping his sterling college career. He left Lubbock in 2002 with 39 school, 13 conference and seven NCAA passing records, including single-game completion percentage and career completions. It's not a stretch to say that Kingsbury, along with Leach, helped put this program on the map in the Big 12 at the turn of century. How dear a spot does Kingsbury hold in the hearts and minds of this fan base? I can't even begin to explain. But one word of caution: Kingsbury has been an assistant only three years, a head coach for none, and like a five-star freshman will be learning on the job.
I know many fans believe that this is wrong and that every analyst hates Texas Tech, but sometimes realization has to sweep over the South Plains. Though we could have one the best coaching staffs in due time, our coaching staff is just about unproven as our players with the exception of our head coach. We see guys like Jason Kidd talk about the transition from player to coach, and how he's taking a back seat to things right now in order to learn the ways to run the show. Yes, Kliff has been an assistant, and a great one at that, but even he himself has attested to the challenges of running a football team mixed with being an boss. Fans really have unprecedent in our new staff. Many believe that these coaches can "will" us to 8+ victories this season, but I always been preaching that at the end of the day, it is the players who need to have the accountability and dependability. A coaching staff can only do so much. No matter how great the scheme is, or how motivating the staff is for these kids, at the end of the day if our linebackers can't hold on to ball carriers or our o-line is getting out manned on the line of scrimmage, you can't blame the coaching.

Where We Fall short | Let's look at the facts. Our O line is unproven, and there is very little chance that we see a freshman come in and make that much of difference even if they have the size.  Running that uptempo offense is going to require some solid reserves though. I do believe Hayes and his assistants will coach these guys up to the best of their ability, but will that be enough? As much as we want to say that Brewer is the great next thing, I have to agree with Ubben that it's a bad sign as Brewer still hasn't drastically beat out Webb for the starting role. Now it could all be a ploy by Kliff to keep guys working hard, and staying competitive because he takes so much pride in his position, but in the same breathe, I've heard many locker room guys speak highly of Webb. I would say to a point where if they were to pick a starter, it wouldn't be a clear decision. Outside of Eric Ward, Grant, and maybe Amaro, I think this WR core is still unproven. There were way too many drop balls in the spring, and that could have been under the light jeeters, but that can't be an excuse in the coming weeks. SMU could be a cake walk, but then again, it could be something a little more.

Defensively with the loss of Chris Payne due to grades, we find the coaching doing another carousel of player movement. I like the fact that these guys are being coachable and doing what is best for the team and the scheme. I know some players like Bullit have been asked to gain weight, and still be effective so everyone on this team is stepping up. Also, Austin Stewart has come down to the linebacker position. The only problem I have with Stewart is his commitment to his grades and the film room has been. Our linebacker core is small that's for sure, so we'll see if these guys can play like Chris Payne, which is, play with so much heart that it covers what they are missing in size. I do think Tuberville had the right idea by going smaller to get faster, but that was very simplest idea from an SEC minded coach.

The DB cores seems to be intact as far as positions are minus the boundary corner back position, which seems to be up for grabs. I honestly think Felemi was the best out of a depth chart that lacked any real candidates, so I expect the competition to wide open from now to conference play with the addition of the freshman, and JUCO players.

2013 Schedule 
Aug. 31 - at SMU W
Sept. 7 - Stephen F. Austin W
Sept. 14 - *TCU L
Sept. 21 - Texas State W
Sept. 28 - BYE 
Oct. 5 - at *Kansas W
Oct. 12 - *Iowa State W
Oct. 19 - at *West Virginia W
Oct. 26 - at *Oklahoma L
Nov. 2 - *Oklahoma State L
Nov. 9 - *Kansas State W
Nov. 16 - vs. *Baylor L
Nov. 23 - BYE 
Nov. 28 - at *Texas L
Dec. 7 - BYE 

*I'm looking at 7 should wins, but if you add a game they  may lose and a game they will be an upset, it comes to about 7 wins. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Test run....

Sooo I promise that I will be on this more once I get settled in and figure out how everything is ran. I also promise a quick big 12 breakdown in the next day or so. Until then I leave you with this quick picture of the TTU environment.

Reviewing The Spring Game


Ignoring the relevance of todays’ top picture, I wanted to break down some plays on defense where I think the secondary is going to have to improve.
My Opinion | I think the rest of the week will be all about the secondary, and Zac may work on the QB battle. Contrary to what every ones believes, I think the battle is very dead even. Both guys seem cool, collected, and able to bounce back from mistakes. Brewer has some edge, but that’s because of the small success last year. With a new system in place, I think it’s fair for the position to be fair game.  
On to the Secondary….

Here we are with a safety being one man high (or single high safety). We have Tre Porter (red injury jersey) rolled down somewhat eyeing the inside WR. The offense is lined up in what we called in high school Texas formation (2 wr’s on both side)

Now we are at the snap of the ball and our cornerbacks are playing off-man bail technique. I am not a fan of bail technique because I want to be pressed in a wr’s face at all times to potentially jump routes. Some will argue that playing off man requires excellent footwork, and I agree, but I just like roughing up the pretty boys. Anyway! Back to the play at hand. We have our bottom screen middle linebacker eyeing the number 2 wr, our bottom screen outside linebacker ready to attack, while the top of the screen outside and inside linebackers seem to be ready to pass off any threat that goes pass them, essentially sitting under routes. Our high safety is playing middle field and reading the quarterback.


This shot is what I wanted to talk about. If you take a look at the inside wr on the top of the shot, you will see him running free essentially when the linebacker is passing him off. Though it’s just a shot, it seems like our high safety is playing way too high in order for him to explode left or right. (In this case, make a play on the inside wr).

Due to the quarterback essentially looking away from the touchdown the play (for the offense) is busted and the defense escapes one, but even in this shot you can see a potential problem with running one high safety. That safety has to be able to “cover grass”. If not, then we will have more than a few busted plays like this that will result in teams like Baylor exposing us. In any other offense with a more seasoned quarterback, that WR is going to be a hot read.  




Monday, June 24, 2013

Quick QB overview:

Greetings earthlings! This is my first time to present any visible evidence that I exist on this blog. For starters I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Zachary Torres. I'm a junior here at Texas Tech working on my Electronic Media degree. My goal is to one day work at Entertainment Sports Broadcasting Network. Courtney and I met through intramural football where we built a very stellar 2-2 football season together. We often spend our time with very intense sports debates where friendships are often tested, and the Madden games are so intense, that it would cause my mother to wonder where she went wrong. Enough of that though, if you want to read any more crappy written bio's just log into your old MySpace account. Let's move on to the money makers.

QB Position Battle |There is no question that whoever is under center for Tech will have the opportunity to put up video game numbers throughout the season, not only does Kingsbury have great hair and sunglasses, but he has helped propel his past quarterbacks to un-real heights. One can only assume that the same can be achieved at Tech. With limited playing time last year Brewer gives off a certain excitement to him, that kind of excitement that can only be achieved when you throw 4 td's and NO interceptions and complete over 70 percent of your passes. Granted it was not very much to analyze and most of it came in garbage time, but hey the dude was one for one in the bowl game......that one pass being a touchdown! With the loss of Darren Moore that leaves a hole in the explosive category. It's not hard to note that whomever is QB will have to find ways to get the wide outs opportunities and will most likely have to extend a few plays via their own feet. This is why I think that Brewer will have the best chance to survive a thinner O-line and provide maybe a few key mobile plays at the QB slot. Of course this is all prediction and could very well be a 180 from what I say. This is only a quick hypothesis on what my be expected at the reigns of the air raid. Through out the year I hope to bring you more in depth knowledge over situations being Texas Tech until then.....stay classy raiders.   

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Secondary Preview

Well I had to work today, but I was able to trade shifts! Lucky me because I needed to work on this blog. I've  only been working on this thing all day, and I'm also waiting  on Zac. We have much to cover, and discuss.
Field Cornerbacks | Now as we stand in the coming season, we introduce an entirely new secondary. Some could argue that Bruce Jones is somewhat of a returning starter in the cornerback position considering Douglas spent most of the season on the bench due to injury.  According to Texas Tech's official site, he had 6 starts out of the 13 games he has played in. Not many numbers on the stat sheet, so you can say he did his job and held the position down, which most would argue he did. I know he did some rotating with Mays as well, but that's old news. Now as the starter, and I would say one the leaders of the defense (and team), Jones has no time to be average. He'll have to be a ball hawk. He's on the short side for sure listed at 5'7 with 171 lbs on him, so there are some areas of concern. I understand now that we have a field corner and a boundary corner in this 3-4 scheme. As it states right now, Jones is going to be playing to the wide side of the field making him the field corner. That corner can be of smaller size, but he has to make excellent open field tackles. It goes without saying again that Jones will have to be more than average because every week he will be targeted.
“He’s got a lot of confidence,” Kingsbury said. “He’s not the biggest guy, but he’ll take chances, which we like. He’s aggressive out there, puts his nose in the run game. There’s a lot of things we like about him.” 

I think it's great that he takes chances and jumps routes when he gets a feel for what he see's during the course of the practice competitions, but that's just it  - it's practice. I cant speak on his dedication to film study or things of that nature, but if he's one of those guys that plays instinctive, then he's either going to be really explosive, or extremely unlucky.
Jeremy Reynolds is playing back up to Jones as it stands right now. I expect that a juco player or maybe even one of our recruits from the high school level may challenge Reynolds for the spot, but I'm getting to that. I don't  know much about him, but I do remember him being listed as hurt for most of the spring. If memory serves me correct, he was starting on the boundary side. I'm sure there will still be some of the type of competition.

Boundary Cornerbacks | I will be honest with you, I did not expect Olaoluwa Falemi to be the one listed as the starting boundary cornerback, and honestly I don't know how long that will last. Being as it is, I am still competing to make this squad, so I've been asking about these guys, and most guys say Falemi is pretty fast. Non of those people I've talked to were able to give me a confidence answer as to him being able to keep the position. I think Falemi was the best of the few, and that isn't saying much. Of course, as the boundary corner you are suppose to be big and physical which is why Derrick Mays was the initial starter, but I think he also suffered an injury early on in the spring. Falemi is listed at 5'9 -157, which to me isn't quite ideal for a set-the-edge type of cornerback. Make no mistake, Falemi and I are cool. I am strictly talking football. I do not want to doubt anyone based on size, but it is an area of concern.
As I listed earlier, Mays got hurt early and missed out on spring, but from what I seen of him last year (Minn Bowl Game) he has much to improve on. I think he needs to master his footwork for the man coverage. I know this defense will be in a tampa two look more times than not, but if you can't run man on this level, your defense will get exposed- FAST & EARLY. More time in the film room may also be my suggestion, but this is mostly off a few games (mostly an eye test). I expect this battle to be wide open right now.

Free Safety | Everyone that knows Texas Tech football knows that this is undoubtedly the position that will be missed the most. I mean we had a stud in Cody Davis,  and a very solid player in D.J Johnson playing in the back of that defense. There will be big shoes to fill, and I think this position will make or break the defense. I have some concerns with the safety position as it stands right now because I've seen a few times where Jakeem was able to slip past the safeties due to them biting, or wanting to make a play on Amaro during the spring game. Offenses will sometimes bait a player right at ten yards to freeze a safety and literally #atmo because that pause gives a WR a chance to get wide open. Also, when players with speed like Jakeem command safeties to respect their speed, you will see players like him go on a go/fly/fade route to give (in this case) Amaro some room right in the zone between the linebacker and safety to make an over the top catch. With Gaines being the front man right now, I just hope that he is learning the disciplines of the position. I hear that Austin Stewart is probably the better athlete, but may lack the discipline to be a starter. I hope he gets on track and learns to learn the importance of knowing the playbook and watching film. Being that I played safety for 10+ years, I know all too well that it's not an easy position to learn. I also understand the transition period is rough mentally. All I'm saying is, it may be tough right now for Gaines and Stewart to be what we define as perfect, but they will get there with continuous reps and study.
Strong Safety | Last, but not least, the free safety position. Tre Porter is one of the guys who I think has sort of locked down their position, and the battle is for back-up. At 6' even and weighing in at 202, Porter is solid. I don't know much about his speed, especially with him being in a red jersey all of spring. He did manage to play through his injury all spring, and I respect him for that. Injuries happen to the best of us; ask Kobe, so for him to want to come in and learn the system while getting the reps shows commitment. As far as his skill set goes, last year for me, he was the Achilles hill for this secondary at times with his lack of coverage skill at the nickel, and also the immaturity. I recall a few times where he got beat man to man, and instead of getting back and brushing it off, he turned around to point blame. I don't think that's anything to be concerned with because I fully expect this guy to be a full fledge leader; I'm just recalling my in-game eye test opinion from last year. Overall, I look for him to be a staple in this defense this coming season.
New Additions | The LAJ has great article on the new comers, which I assume most of you have read already because I stole it from Seth. Since there isn't much information to dissect, I'll wait to form an opinion on the new guys. They are all new to the division 1 lifestyle, and I know all too well that there is quite a bit of free time in the summer for athletes... we'll see how these guys adjust mentally and physically.


First Morning News Post!! Coming later in the afternoon will be the secondary write-up. Zac may be tackling quaterbacks when he gets off work. I wanted to check on the older guys and see how things were going in the NFL.
MORNING NEWS | Chris Level talks about our former starting quaterback, Seth Doege, who may be working his way into the two-deep with the Atlanta Falcons. I think Seth Doege received a lot of the blame for a vanilla play-call last year that cost us more than one game towards the end of the season, and people doubted that he was an NFL quaterback. More than one scouting report said he lacked the arm to play on the next level, and that may have been the key reason he went undrafted. I was able to talk to Seth for a quick second at the Spring Game. I personally think he was very good quaterback. I believe early in this coming season, fans will miss Seth and his leadership. Not to say anything negative about Brewer or Webb, I like both of them, but there will be growing pains for whomever is the starter.
Cody Davis | While we are talking about Texas Tech guys on the next level, you guys make sure you check out Cody Davis's Student of The Game Blog. He is the reason I started my blog a year ago, and he has some great stories for the stars of  the future. We all know Cody played safety for us last year. He had an amazing career during his tenure at Tech, and now he is with the Rams. 
ESPN | Ubben ESPN is considering Texas Tech and Baylor as two teams that could really make some noise in 2014. It's funny to me because I consider this to be one of those "not to offend you" type of deals. He's basically writing off Texas Tech for 2013, but expects in year two of the bromance for Tech to make some noise. Still not win the Big 12, but make some noise.  What do you think? Also he has a Big 12 ranking with Texas on top. Not surprising. 
 I expect Year 1 to be pretty average for the Red Raiders, but in Year 2 for Michael Brewer in Kingsbury's fast-paced offense, we could see him blossom into a star. When you've got a game-changer at quarterback, you're simply going to win a whole lot of games in the Big 12.