The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2019.08.01

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

Leading Off

It’s August. Preseason practice is just around the corner, I think August 12th. I highly recommend the baseball video, really well done, and all about the fans that made this past season so special.

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Standout Recruiting. SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell ranks the top recruiting classes from 2011 through 2019 and Texas Tech’s 2017 recruiting class that included Zhaire Smith, Jarrett Culver, and Davide Moretti is the 11th best:

Texas Tech ran all the way to the Elite Eight in the class’ first season behind the emergence of Zhaire Smith. Ranked as the No. 194 recruit in America, Smith blossomed into one of the most unlikely one-and-dones ever as a ridiculously athletic wing who helped create the foundation for an elite defense. The team only got better after Smith went to the NBA thanks to a star turn from sophomore guard Jarrett Culver. Culver, who entered the program as the No. 312 recruit in his class, blossomed into a superstar and the eventual No. 6 overall NBA Draft pick. His big year helped take the Red Raiders all the way to the national title game.

Don’t overlook the contributions of Moretti, either: he would go on to become the team’s second leading scorer this past season and still has two years of eligibility left.

Texas Tech Football

One Month (Technically, This Was Yesterday).

Centers and Defensive Backs. An unlikely combination, but I missed an article yesterday so let’s go. A-J Media’s Don Williams writes about the center position and the options that the coaching staff is looking at to play the middle:

“That’s going to be a good topic in training camp,” Tech coach Matt Wells said. “I think you’re going to see multiple guys play center and that’ll be a key part of this offense, whether it’s Bailey Smith, Dawson Deaton, Jack Anderson, whoever it is.

“You’re going to see multiple guys play there, because first and foremost, I don’t know who it is. I also don’t know who our best guards are absolutely, so that has something to do with it.

“The other thing is, I believe you better have two centers ready to play.”

A-J Media’s Don Williams then wrote about the safety and cornerback situation and let’s just say it is fluid and essentially head coach Matt Wells has said much of the same:

“We’re not going to limit ourselves; I can tell you that,” Wells said, “because I think at some point in the season you’ll have to move guys around. You’re going to have injuries. You’re going to have somebody not playing well.

“If somebody tweaks something or whatever, I think you’ve got to be able to move guys around.”

A few things on both articles. Regarding the center position, I think that Jack Anderson was originally a guy that would play center, I think he played that in high school and was maybe where he was projected as a wee high school senior. If Anderson at center gives Texas Tech it’s best lineup of Dawson Deaton and Madison Akamnonu at guard and Anderson at center, or Deaton at center, who knows, but this will be a fun one to watch. Regarding the secondary, the one big wildcard is going to be Zech McPhearson and where he’ll be able to contribute because if he can take a cornerback spot, then that opens up a lot more things. Wells mentioned at the end of the article that if McPherson can play cornerback, then Adrian Frye can go to safety and I think this thing is a lot more stable.

Preview. LandGrant Gauntlet’s Evan Green previews Texas Tech’s season and ultimately predicts 6 wins in Matt Wells’ inaugural season.

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