The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2018.04.13

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Briefly

Buy your very own Staking The Plains t-shirt at the Staking The Plains Threadless Shop. Click on that danged shirt (or the link).

Texas Tech men’s golfer Fredrik Nilehn was one of 10 semifinalists for the 2018 Ben Hogan Award, which is the most coveted individual honor in collegiate golf (via official site). The men’s team will also head west to California this weekend for the El Macero Classic in El Macero, California (via official site).

The soccer team is in their preseason sort of season (kinda like football) and they played a spring match against Rice in Houston and lost, 2-1 (via official site), which moves the team to 4-1 on the spring:

“This match was a good reminder that it’s about what you do with your chances as opposed to how many you create,” head coach Tom Stone said. “With a 16-to-five shot advantage, as well as leading eight-to-two in corner kicks, you would think we would come out on top. Credit Rice as they did more with their chances than we did with ours.”

Congrats to track and fielders Vincent Crisp and Sara Limp as they were both named Big 12 Athletes of the Week (via official site).

The ladies tennis team will be on the road this weekend, taking on Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (via official site).

Softball is in Austin for a three-game set against the Longhorns, the first pitch for the first game is set for tonight at 7:00 p.m. (via official site).

Texas Tech Baseball

Baseball America has Texas Tech as a #4 national seed, hosting Illinoise, the hated Sam Houston States and Grand Canyon (via Baseball America).

Texas Tech Basketball

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Johnson awarded his post-season awards and awarded Texas Tech as the biggest surprise team (via SI):

It didn’t take long for Texas Tech to serve notice that it will be a legitimate force in the Big 12 under head coach Chris Beard. There was serious doubt heading into the season over whether Texas Tech would even make the NCAAs, let alone compete with Kansas at the top of the conference. Not only did the Red Raiders end up notching a double-digit win at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 2 and pose a serious threat to the Jayhawks’ league title streak, they earned their highest AP Poll ranking in program history (sixth, in mid-February), secured their highest seed in the tournament (No. 3) since 1996, and made their first trip to the Elite Eight. An ill-timed toe injury to standout senior point guard Keenan Evans prevented Texas Tech from ascending another rung.

Additionally, the Big 12 was awarded as the best high-major conference, which is true.

Texas Tech Football

This was pretty fun to watch, special teams coach Adam Scheier has some clips of Quan Shorts, blocking without holding for special teams.

And speaking of special teams, here are some sights and sounds from the special teams units.

Get to hear from Dakota Allen discuss the spring as well as the progress of Riko Jeffers.

Dakota Allen’s redemption story has been told over the past year and Allen said that what you saw on Netflix at East Mississippi (via DMN’s Chuck Carlton):

“I will say this more than anything, he’s a good young man,” Hocutt said. “And we were so excited to welcome him back to Texas Tech. He paid the penalty for a mistake, and he is determined not to let that one mistake define him.”

If Allen had exhausted his opportunities, he has now established himself at Tech. He was voted a captain just after returning and will almost certainly be a captain this year. As Gibbs noted, Allen will be a key part of a unit that could bring defense back to Texas Tech after leading the team in tackles.

“I feel like I went there with one goal — to get back at Division I level and it just so happened to be the school I came to first,” Allen said. “I’m happy about that, and I do feel like I made the most of my last chance.”

Funny.

Cornerback Octavious Morgan is hoping that year two after playing at Butler C.C. will hopefully make him better and credits the coaches for pushing him and making him a better player (via A-J Media’s Don Williams):

Instead of blaming coaches — after all, he was a highly touted signee dropped from the starting lineup — Morgan thanks defensive coordinator David Gibbs for not giving up on him.

“They always worked with me,” Morgan said. “That’s what I really appreciated. They never gave up — like, ‘Ah, man, you’ve got the potential. You’re just not doing it.’ They kept working with me. They (were telling) me, ’You can do it. You can do it each and every day.

“Coach Gibbs stayed on my tail, and I really appreciate it, because a lot of coaches would have given up.”

This article has made the rounds, is from the Associated Press, and is essentially about how Kliff Kingsbury’s time to win is now (AP’s Schuyler Dixon). Featured here is a quote from Rodney Anderson Allison, director of the Double T Varsity Club, and athletic director Kirby Hocutt:

“I think there’s a point here, we’ve got to win some games,” Allison said. “There’s a point that 6-7, I don’t think is good enough. And I think everybody would tell you that. We sure hope he’s here 10 years. That means we’ll turn this thing around and we’ve got it going in that direction where we’re playing in bowl games every year.”

Hocutt said he kept Kingsbury because the program improved in 2017 despite another losing record that was clinched with a 38-34 loss to South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl when the Bulls scored with 16 seconds remaining.

Most of what Hocutt means revolves around a defense that is improving and has some stability with defensive coordinator David Gibbs going into his fourth season. The Red Raiders also like to talk about 10 of 11 starters returning on that unit.

“With the momentum that I see each and every day within the program, it’s the culture, it’s the work ethic,” Hocutt said. “It’s the attitude within that football building and these young men I get to see every day. There’s positive energy and focus and determination. It’s exciting to see and obviously the results have to come in the fall.”

There’s also a quote from Tuey Rankin, a former player and season ticket holder, who said that there was enough money raised to pay Kingsbury’s buyout, which is what I had heard as well.

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