The Morning Stake: Kingsbury and Gibbs Talk Spring Practice

Surprise! Surprise! Yesterday was the first day that the coaches were made available to the media and defensive coordinator David Gibbs says he’s building a base defense, where the players will know where they need to be or they won’t play, and the players are eager to learn.

Back to Work. LAJ’s Don Williams, as was the rest of the media, was granted access yesterday and we get a bit of information as to the spring practice and we’re still (which I’m totally fine with) talking defense:

“I just know this: We’re going to be sound fundamentally,” Gibbs said Wednesday. “Structurally, guys are going to understand it. If they’re supposed to be in the A gap, they’re going to be in the A gap or they’re not going to go on the field. If they’re supposed to be in the B gap, they’re going to be in the B gap.

“Everybody knows their role and will execute their role, or they just won’t play. That’s the way it is from day one.”

And we’re taking things incredibly slow here, not worried about a lot of things until defensive coordinator David Gibbs gets the base defense down:

“I’m not going to keep installing things until we build a foundation and build a base,” he said. “It’d be easy to go out and put in five blitzes and blitz every snap, but to me, that doesn’t give you anything to fall back on when things get tough. We’re trying to build a base run defense where we can line up against formations other than our spread offense.

“When you play some of these fancy defenses where guys are moving and stunting and blitzing all the time, you don’t always have an answer for what goes wrong during the course of the game. We’ll have an answer, because we have a system.”

The DT’s Everett Corder also writes about the defense and Gibbs said that the players are excited and learning his defense:

“It’s just like training your own kids at home, it takes time,” Gibbs said. “But, they’re fine. They’re willing and eager to learn. Had no problems. Guys are asking questions, guys are improving and trying to learn. We’ve got 12 more this spring and we’ll try and make the most of them.”

Spring Primer. ESPN’s Max Olson has his Texas Tech spring primer, complete with offensive and defensive returners ready to take the next step, most significant position battle, etc. Go read the whole thing, but here is his redshirt freshman to watch:

Redshirt freshman to watch: Well, technically, he’s kind of a double-redshirt freshman. Linebacker Mike Mitchell is ready to break out after sitting out his first two years of college. The coveted Ohio State transfer is slated to start at weakside linebacker and brings freaky athleticism to the position. Expectations are mighty high for Mitchell this year, and Gibbs can find a bunch of ways to use him.

Also from Olson are key position battles in the spring:

Texas Tech: Defensive tackle
Rika Levi vs. Keland McElrath vs. Demetrius Alston vs. Breiden Fehoko

What’ll makes this group fun to watch is the influence of their new position coach, fiery co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith. He’ll push Tech’s big men like never before. Levi didn’t play up to the hype last year, but he’s looking much better this spring now that he’s dropped 20 pounds. Tech fans will be clamoring to see Fehoko, Tech’s top-rated signee, on the field as soon as possible. Anthony Smith, Marcus Smith and the injured Donte Phillips are also in the mix. Considering Tech’s inability to stop the run last year, finding the right combo here is important.

And the final spring preview is from Campus Insider’s Pete Fiutak who previews each Big 12 team (complete with auto-play video on the right, so be careful!) and has this to say about Texas Tech:

Extra attention must be given to … cutting down on the mistakes. Of course the defense that was among the worst in the nation has to improve after allowing over 41 points and 512 yards per game, but the Red Raiders have to do the little things right. The turnovers have to slow down after giving them away in bunches, and the penalties have to come to a halt after getting nailed more than nine times a game for over 89 yards – both among the worst in the nation.

Miscellaneous. The Associated Press and the NCAA will now have a computer whiz and bang and create automated stories . . . it is that time of year to go back and look at recruiting classes (this is blogging 101 for content and it’s a good thing to do) and DMN’s Tommy Magelssen takes a look at the 2011 recruiting class . . .


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