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August 28, 2011It's game week! Texas Tech's opener against Texas State is this Saturday, and to get ready for the season we've got four questions with Tommy Tuberville, Neal Brown and Chad Glasgow.
Did you all have a good camp?
TT: "Good camp. We've had three or four good scrimmages. The hay's in the barn pretty much with what we're going to do with camp. Now it's time to start game planning this week for Texas State. There will be a lot of technique things we will continue to work on during the week, but you just don't have enough time once you start the season to do all of your blocking drill techniques every day, and your tackling drill techniques, and also put a game plan in. So, we've done a lot of technique work through spring practice and through camp in the last month. Our guys are a little bit leg weary, they're tired. We've got to get into game mode now where we can put our game plan in, get them rested up after a good Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday practice, and get our legs underneath us, and get them ready to go on Saturday."
Biggest difference, for you, taking over a program from year one to year two is what? It's got to feel different this year than last year.
TT: "The big thing is knowing what we're getting into in terms of the teams that we are playing. I really had no clue of what level that we were going to play in terms of all our conference teams, where they were at; their speed, their fundamentals, what we needed to do to make ourselves a good football team that certain week versus that certain type of team, but other than that, you know, football is football. We started from the bottom, putting our weight program in, our training program, in terms of running and lifting. Then, of course, our lifting and training room, our equipment room, everything that kind of surrounds the football part of the program. It doesn't change much. I've seen good results from the first month that we were here until now, what, 17, 18 months. Guys are buying into the program. We're not there yet. We don't have the overall speed and quickness that we want to have year-in and year-out, but we're getting closer. I think that our offense and defense is kind of gelling, coming together, where guys are really learning how we play it. Now, we've changed defensively, but we really haven't changed the philosophy. We still want to be an attacking defense, coming off the ball on the snap of the ball, making things happen instead of sitting back. We've gone from a philosophy of basing out of a four-man-front instead of a three-man-front, but we played mostly four-man-front last year. We just didn't have enough defensive linemen on the roster to play a four-man-front to play it as much as we will this year. Things are looking up. I like our new guys that we have in positions. I like our new recruits that have come in. So, we just need to keep on keeping on, so to speak."
You mention speed. You're not as fast as you want to be, but you're much faster as a team this year than you were last. How much more explosive and faster have you noticed things in this first month of practices compared to where it was when you took over?
TT: "Well, you know, we went spring practice early, and we'll do that continually every year because I like a lot of offseason after spring ball while they're still here on campus going to school, getting stronger, and learning to lift. We're still a little bit behind from the waist down in terms of the leg strength I would like. We had too many injuries last year. We were upper-body strong, but not lower-body strong. You play the game of football with your lower-body. You've got to be able to get there with your lower-body before you can hit anybody with your upper-body. So, we've made a lot of progress there. I think it has kind of showed. We had, probably, 20 percent of the injuries in two-a-days this year than we did last year; pulled muscles, pulled hamstrings, and all those things. So, it'll pay off for us in the long run. Joe Walker and his staff has done a great job building a leaner football team I think you'll see. Our linemen, on both sides of the ball, have probably dropped two or three percent body fat. I'm not big on big guys, you know, guys that just look chunky. I like for them to look lean, and when they look lean they plan faster, they play quicker, and I've always learned that first step off the ball in football wins. So, we're not there yet, as a team, but we're getting closer."
Is the perception of your program where you want it to be, heading into year two of your tenure?
TT: "We're not close, yet, to where we can get to. I think we're going to have a good team. People ask, 'how many you going to win?' I have no clue. I think we're good enough this year, on both sides of the ball, to beat anybody we play. Now, obviously, we're going to play against the number one team in the country, as we speak, in Oklahoma at their place, and they've lost, what, one game in one hundred years at home? So, that's going to be tough, but, hey, no body gave us a chance last year and we beat a team that beat Oklahoma a week before in Missouri where, I think, we were a 10, 12, 14-point underdog. But, we've got the attitude, and if you keep the attitude, you've got a chance. I'm fired up about this team and about where we're headed, because recruiting. I never dreamed we'd have a recruiting class like we had last year, after the first year. There was so many negatives going against us, and so few positives with the change in coaching staff, we're very fortunate that we had, not a great season, but at least a successful season playing in a bowl game, winning a bowl game. And the coaching staff that we have is very energetic. They love selling this program, this school, this community, Texas Tech. To go out and have a top-ranked, and I'm not into rankings, but we got some good football players that are not only going to help us three or four years from now, they're going to help this year. They can play college football, and I've been around a lot of good recruiting classes. This is a good one, and if we can put this together a couple of times in a row, which I think we're on the road to doing it again this year, the sky is going to be the limit. We've just got to work through the tough times, which we are going to have, probably this year. There are going to be some times where inexperience is going to show up. Somebody is going to take advantage of a few areas where we're going to have some, not glaring weaknesses, but some weaknesses. So, I'm excited because every game is going to be new. We might go out and light it up the first game, we might not. But, there is going to be some games that I think we're going to have a chance to look like a good college football team, and it'll only grow from there."
How much different is this camp to you personally than last year when you're trying to install everything and you're dealing with a lot of youth and all of that? You've been here a year. Things are established now.
NB: "It's definitely easier. I think the kids understand what we are trying to do. They know our coaches better. There is less controversy quarterback wise, and things outside of here, coaching stability and those types of things. This group, I've been more excited about coaching this group probably than the group last year. They've been eager. They put in a lot of work during the offseason."
How has the quarterback competition gone? Is that still going on into game week or is Seth Doege your guy?
NB: "Seth Doege has definitely played the best of all of the quarterbacks. I'm excited about him. He's ready for his opportunity. He's put in the work. Really since I got here 19 months ago, he's worked extremely hard. He's a student of the game, he's a gym rat, throws the ball extremely well, and he's been accurate this camp. He's done a great job with leadership. It's his time and I'm excited for him to see how far he takes us."
You lost two very productive players in Detron Lewis and Lyle Leong. Not much experience is back, but how about a guy like Darrin Moore? He's emerged and Alex Torres is healthy. Talk about some of the guys on the outside.
NB: "That's our biggest question mark going into the year. Seeing Seth perform, I feel comfortable with him. Obviously, we have a lot of experience back on the o-line. We have experience back at running back. Now we lost two really good players. We lost Taylor Potts, he was a really good quarterback, but I feel Seth Doege is going to be able to step in and fill those shoes and maybe even exceed his abilities. At running back we lose Baron Batch, who obviously is a good player for he was a draft pick in the NFL. But I feel good about Eric Stephens and I feel really good about some of those young guys. I feel like we can be better at that position. At wideout we lose Lyle Leong and Detron Lewis, two of top five or six productivity guys in the Big 12, and those are going to be the biggest shoes to fill. That's what we've been trying to do all spring and all fall camp. I think Darrin Moore is a guy that's most ready to step up. He had a huge spring. He was our leading receiver in the spring and he's been our leading receiver in fall camp so far. He's a guy that needs to step up. We need him to be our go-to guy. He's a 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 kid, about 220 pounds, he's physical, and he can run. I really feel like he's a guy that's not on anybody's radar screen that can really pop up and really have a huge year production-wise for us."
You mentioned some of the newcomers and some of the guys you mixed in everywhere. How exciting has that been? You guys had a really good recruiting class, maybe even better than you thought now that you've had a month to work with them.
NB: "Well it's exciting. We were excited about those guys coming in and a lot of them have been who we thought they were. They've added a lot of team speed. Bradley Marquez is second on our depth chart right now behind Darrin Moore at our Z-receiver spot. He's super fast. He's transitioned from being a running back in high school to playing wideout. He's not a finished product by any means, but he's a guy that we can get the ball into his hands in several different situations. He's going to play early and he's going to play a lot. The three runningbacks we have, DeAndre Washington, Ronnie Daniels, and Kenny Williams, we're definitely going to play two of those three. All three of them could play, but I don't want to get them all stacked up in the same year. But, those guys are talented. Jace Amaro gives us something in this offense that we haven't had. He's 6-foot-5, 250 (pounds), and runs really well, so we're excited about him. I should mention the o-lineman, Le'Raven Clark, Alfredo Morales, excited about those guys. Jakeem Grant's been a little banged-up this camp, so the jury is still out whether he can step up and help us this year, but I think the rest of those guys I mentioned will."
Chad, as a refresher, explain the 4-2-5 defense to people who might not have paid attention during spring football. Explain your scheme, what you want to do here at Texas Tech.
CG: "Well, first of all, we're going to play with four defensive linemen, two linebackers, and five secondary guys. Of those five secondary guys, three of them are safeties, and we believe it's going to give us more speed on the football field, and allow us to play with good leverage all of the time. That's kind of the basics of the 4-2-5 and why we do it."
You installed that scheme in the spring? I'm curious to know, when fall camp started, how much carry-over was there with the guys, and did they retain it quite a bit?
CG: "They had a lot of retention about what happened, and this fall we started again at ground zero, and started with the very basics. It was fun seeing how much they did retain, and we installed everything in four practices, and have kind of come back and repeated everything since then."
I think, some of the things at TCU that you did, you were different each year, and I think you've talked about this, 'one year we were good at man-to-man, one year we were good at zone blitz, it just depended on what we had.' Do you have an idea, with this defense, yet what you will be good at, and maybe what you won't be good at yet?
CG: "Well, that's the beauty of the package. We can play zone coverage, we can zone blitz, we can play man coverage and do those things. What we're not as good at, we're going to continue to work throughout the season. Where, the later you get in the season, the more answers you have to things because offenses are so good these days."
Does it make you nervous that you may end up in a position where you only start one senior on defense, or is that, in a way, kind of fun for you? Or, is that, in a way, kind of a good thing, kind of fun thing for you, you know, 'we can kind of build this group,' from a big picture standpoint?
CG: "We've asked the kids that have come in, and everything that has happened with them. We're going to go play the best players. If we could play thirty players on defense, we'd love to go do that because it's going to be better for us as a football team. How they go out in practice, and once we get into game stuff, how they go out and compete on a week-to-week basis in games. The better we play, the more reps we will get out of it."
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