The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake: Offensive Players Discuss Defense; Reginald Davis Much Improved this Spring

A huge practice update, with some video of yesterday’s practice and a ton of updates.  The offensive players discuss how the defense attempts to strip the ball ALL  of the time, Taylor Symmank is making a move to kick as well, Reginald Davis is playing well this spring, Quinton White is moving to fullback at times and so much more!

Footbaww Updates. There’s three different LAJ articles from Don Williams with some practice updates: Gibbs’ defense determined to get takeaways; Texas Tech football notes; and Let’s try again: Red Raiders see more dedication from Reginald Davis after his 2014 season fizzled.

  • The offensive players talked a bit about how the defensive players are making a huge effort to strip the ball away and Jakeem Grant hasn’t fumbled yet, but it is new:

    “We weren’t used to that, coming at practice and them trying to strip us,” Grant said. “That just makes us better, to keep the ball high and tight. We had fumbles, turnovers this season, so we’re getting better as a unit — them trying to make the other team turn it over and us trying to eliminate turnovers.”

  • Apparently Taylor Symmank is trying to persuade special teams coach Darrin Chiaverini to be the kicker as well, where Symmank is battling with Clayton Hatfield.
  • Cameron Batson is backing up Jakeem Grant at the H-receiver spot, plus he’s now the holder on kicks, and has moved into the 5th receiver spot when Texas Tech goes five wide.
  • Quinton White is moving to fullback at times and apparently Demarcus Felton, who redshirted last year, is making his presence felt as an option at running back. DeAndre Washington said that, “I’m interested for you guys to find out about Felton.” Sounds encouraging.
  • Tony Morales is back at it, after missing the last four seasons with some sort of an injury, he’s back practicing and taking full reps in everything but 11-on-11 scrimmages. Really cheering for this guy.
  • The number of fans hoping that Reginald Davis turns it around is too numerous to count. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that Davis has stood out this spring and it’s high time that he does. Wide receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini said that Davis has improved his practice habits and has improved:

    “His practice habits have improved,” said Darrin Chiaverini, who coaches the outside receivers. “There’s no about it. He’s a man on a mission as far as wanting to prove people wrong. He didn’t have a great year last year, was inconsistent, had a lot of drops and things didn’t go his way, but he’s fighting to be better.”

    The other thing that was a bit telling was Grant talking about how it’s not about a quarterback playing favorites, it’s about you, the receiver, not practicing well. Davis is alternating with Dylan Cantrell at the flanker and one other depth chart note is that Ja’Deion High, a walk-on from Hereford, is backing up Devin Lauderdale. Good stuff in that third article and you should check it out.

Vikings Interested in Crabtree. Via Vikings Territory, it appears that the Minnesota Vikings are interested in Michael Crabtreee as a possible option at receiver. It’s interesting as to how the interest is a bit lukewarm, most of the problem being that Crabtree is oft-injured and not as productive as maybe expected.

Curtis Building Relationships. From Nola, Coney Durr is a cornerback and the #38 player in Louisiana, and has offers from Tulane, La. Tech, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky, but he specifically mentions how cornerback coach Kevin Curtis is really building a relationship with Durr.

“I’ve really been building a relationship with coach (Kevin) Curtis at Texas Tech,” he said.

Durr says that Texas Tech should offer soon. This is the reason why I think asking Curtis to recruit the toughest area should eventually pay off for Texas Tech. Recruiting is about relationships and I think this is how Curtis recruits.

Freshmen Ineligibility is Part of the Master Plan. We talked last week about how the proposed freshman ineligibility for certain freshmen who don’t meet academic standards is more about showing the courts and the rest of the world that the Power Five really cares about academics and it isn’t just lip service. From SI’s Andy Staples:

The subtext of Machen’s theory is this: If the schools don’t actually start doing what they claim, the courts will push them into the professional model that they have been hellbent on creating—with the exception of the giving raises to the labor force or the paying taxes parts—for years. Federal judges, especially ones not versed in the quirks of the economic model for major college sports, will tend to look at what schools have done. They will see conference realignment for the purposes of higher television revenue. They will see soaring salaries for football coaches and athletic directors. They will see a refusal to budge on any additional benefits for the athletes until the athletes started filing lawsuits.

But if the schools were to make freshmen ineligible—something that would be expensive for them for reasons I outlined last week—that might offer tangible proof they do care about the education of athletes in those two sports. If schools voted to further restrict organized practices and time commitments out of season, it might offer more proof of that dedication. Instead of merely saying they aren’t running quasi-professional programs, officials would actually do something to back up what the NCAA’s lawyers keep saying. (The flip side is if the schools keep voting against these measures, it makes the people in charge look like even bigger hypocrites.) Machen believes the university side has to take the lead on these issues, as most athletic department officials will understandably balk at such drastic measures.

“You can’t believe the coaches. The coaches are hired to win games. They’re going to be against it,” Machen said. “You can’t really believe the commissioners. They’re sort of in it. It’s really going to have to be the institutions to say, ‘Are we really serious that education is first over here or not?’”

Miscellaneous. ESPN’s Big 12 blog bros have a recruiting scorecard and if you want to catch up the rest of the Big 12, this is a good place to start . . .

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