Football

Texas Tech Football Notebook: Practice Reports; Season Possibly in Peril

Not looking great Bob.

Head coach Matt Wells spoke to the media on Saturday and we’ve got some catching up to do. Additionally, discussed is the recent thought that season may be in peril.

  • Pace of practice was good.
  • Education of players by the medical staff, more than anything, the coaches have to be the example. Distancing in the meetings, locker room, splitting times when eating and continue to education and hold each other accountable. We’re all responsible for our health. Will do the quarantine the right way. The medical staff was very good and very transparent to the players. Asked the players if the staff can do anything better.
  • Inside Weston Wright, Jack Anderson, and Dawson Deaton. Will Farrar is guard and center, has gotten better. Landon Peterson, Zach Adams, Casey Verhulst, Josh Burger, Caleb Rogers, Ethan Carde are the tackles. Coach Farmer likes to cross train. All of the tackles play guards. Only been in helmets for 2 days. No physical evaluation thus far.
  • Home an FTF (football training facility) locker rooms are being used (this is the split locker room being discussed).
  • Everyone is concerned about playing this year, parents, boosters, everyone. Minimally monitoring things with the news.
  • Thinks the team is better and more competitive depth. Gotten the returning guys doing great jobs in the offseason and quarantine. The lines are bigger, defensive backfield is deeper, the offensive line, the running backs, and receivers, including the freshmen receivers doing better.
  • Came in pretty good shape. In good shape and cut practices back a bit. Everyone getting team reps and 7-on-7 reps, will play into better shape.
  • Players like football, a sense of being more normal, but with the masks, and splash shields, nothing is normal.
  • Thompson would tote the rock in week one and take the lion’s share of reps. SaRodorick has to earn it and his ability to earn it is based on more competitive depth at this position. Expectation is for him to be an all-around back including a receiving running back. He’ll be a better overall running back.
  • Raider position, guys are getting cross trained, Kosi Eldridge and Brandon Randle is running with the 1’s, they are the main 2, Coach Cosgrove puts other guys in that spot. Early on in training camp, they all look the same in some respect. Randle is fully healthy.
  • Full pads takes away how much they know and if they are reacting. The pads comes physicality and exposes how much they know and how much they don’t know. Get a better gauge on what those kids know.
  • With grad transfers, recruiting those guys out of need and they need to impact a certain position. They need to be left alone at 1 position, and not cross-train them. Leave them at 1 spot and let them continue to learn. Eric Monroe is at the Bandit or boundary safety spot. Burger is at left tackle, could more to right, but just let him see things. Chadarius stays at running back, Randle not moving him to the other spots, but stay at Raider. Let them live and learn a little bit.
  • Krishon Merriweather did earn that right during the spring and earned that right.
  • At the spur position, make sure we’re putting Demarcus Fields in the right spot. Cam Watts, JaMarcus Ingram. Trying to keep Cam White at boundary safety, Cam White at the spur position.

Eli Howard and SaRodorick Thompson gave the follow up interviews. I typically don’t get too much into their quotes (just only so much time). Howard does mention that pass rushing, the defensive line needs more production and said that Jaylon Hutchins, Tony Bradford, Nelson Mbanasor, Nick McCann, and Devin Drew, are the 2-deep and they have the right mentality.

It is being reported that the college football season may be in balance. Via the Associated Press notes that a handful of players have united to save the season. Michigan defensive back Hunter Richards:

“We came to the conclusion, We Want to Play, their message might have been conveyed differently but at the end of the day the message wasn’t too far off from what Big Ten United wanted to promote,” Reynolds said. “Which is we all want to play sports this fall. Every athlete, I’m pretty sure, wants to play their sports. They just want to do so safely.”

The rumor is that the Big Ten is set to cancel the season with the thought that the rest of the conferences will follow. I suppose this all started when the MAC postponed their season to the spring, which was the first domino. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that no decision has been made, but is concerned with Myocarditis with the student-athletes who might catch COVID-19 and the lasting effects:

“Are we in a better place today than two weeks, ago? No, we’re not,” he said.

Bowlsby cited “growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis.”

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

The university presidents will ultimately make the decision about whether or not to play.

I would only add that if you were going to blame anyone, just blame the virus and that we didn’t do what we needed to do as a nation (and you can blame whoever you want there, but it doesn’t matter who you blame because we are what we are) to suppress the virus. For those of you who don’t follow the English Premier League, they finished out an entire season of a relatively close-quartered sport and contact sport in a sense without issue. This wasn’t just England, but the German Bundesliga, Italian and maybe even Spanish professional soccer teams all finished and played. All pretty much without issue.

The problem here is that none of these commissioners want to force unpaid players to play a season. So this #IWantToPlay movement by the players was somewhat necessary for them to voice their opinions. But the conference commissioners and university presidents don’t want blood on their hands (not literal blood, but long-term effects on the players and the virus) despite the players’ wishes.

And make no mistake, I think that just listening to Wells and the players, Texas Tech is doing the best thing that they can in order to protect the players and I do think that Texas Tech and most universities are doing their best.

Whatever you think, I would hope that you understand that the media is not at fault. Sure, there are probably some media members who are spiteful about the prospect of playing, but I guarantee you that there are significantly more that want to see a season be played. I’m not 100% certain about this, but I believe that Don Williams was furloughed twice already and my guess is that most sports writers would be out of a job if the season were canceled, or at least furloughed until there’s something to report. The “media” doesn’t want that. If you want to point out certain writers, then sure, but 98% of the writers out there don’t have secure jobs and it’s pretty lazy to blame the monolith of “the media” when that’s really probably not accurate at all.

I didn’t get a chance to write much down about Sunday’s press conference with Zech McPhearson and Erik Ezukanma. Ezukanma did say that he put on 7 pounds of muscle and looks really great.

Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams notebooks that appearance

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