Texas Tech Football Notebook: Kickoff Luncheon; Baylor Fails Everyone

We report on the kickoff luncheon was yesterday afternoon. Additionally, we discuss a Baylor player being found guilty of sexual assault.

Kickoff Luncheon.

LAJ’s Krista Pirtle recaps the Texas Tech kickoff luncheon and she recaps every speaker, so make sure and go take a read. A couple of highlights are that Texas Tech sold the second most season tickets this year, second to 2014, and Tom Stone stole the show (as he usually does). Defensive coordinator also asked the defense to stand up and then asked the crowd not to cheer for the defense until they get a third down stop of a turnover. Gibbs also said that goign up against this offense has been great for the defense:

“These guys, coach (Kliff) Kingsbury and coach (Eric) Morris, these guys are freakin’ smart,” Gibbs said. “The players are explosive. So to stand up here and act like we’re going to be a genius and all that, no. But here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to be well coached, hold each other accountable, create some turnovers and get some third down stops. Then we’re going to turn the ball over to our offense and let them go do what they do. We all know our offense is very explosive. To practice against these guys is a blessing for us.”

Notebook: No Quarterback Decision. LAJ’s Daniel Paulling writes that Kliff Kingsbury was non-committal as to naming a starting quarterback and maybe a good theory to have is that Kingsbury may not name a starter until classes start. Just throwing htat out there. Not sure when that will be, but that seems like a good idea. There are a couple of other notes there, including Paulling talking to Branden Jackson and Pete Robertson and asking them who is the team’s best pass rusher and some injury news as D.J. Polite-Bray has a sprained ACL and will miss the opener.

Quinton White Talks New Role. RedRaiderSports’ Will McKay talked with RB Quinton White, who is transition to his new role as fullback on the team:

“I’m actually starting to get pretty good at it,” White laughed. “Last year I liked it, but I wasn’t physical enough to do it. I gained some weight, started picking boys up, and it’s fun blocking for the boys behind me, opening up holes so they can see and get out on it. It’s still essentially a running back, but it’s body on body. You can’t just make everyone miss. You’ve just got to put your body on them. Fullback is really a heart thing, man. If you don’t have heart, you can’t play fullback.”

Freshmen Receivers Will Play. EverythingLubbock’s Andrew Doak talked with offensive coordinator Eric Morris about what freshman receivers will play the first game and said that four freshmen will play against Sam Houston State, Tony Brown, Jonathan Giles, Keke Coutee and Donta Thompson.

Ukwauchu Found Guilty; Baylor Fails Everybody. I’ve been linking this as we go along this past week because for whatever reason, I found this whole story disturbing on a couple of levels. Yesterday evening, Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was found guilty of sexual assault that ocurred in October of 2013. If you want to read a damning look at what Baylor did, or more accurately didn’t do, then take a look at this Texas Monthly. I don’t know where to begin other than this is a horrible situation for the victim and that’s most likely getting lost in this entire deal. It appears to be that the ire of lots of folks, including myself, is that Baylor accepted a player that was alleged to have assaulted his girlfriend at Boise State, which was allegedly the reason from his dismissal, onto Baylor’s campus where he just assaulted another girl. Here’s one of the disturbing parts from the Texas Monthly article:

That’s a playbook that’s familiar in Ukwuachu’s case, as well. While Jane Doe went to the hospital immediately following her encounter with Ukwuachu and spoke with an officer there, detectives suspended the case after taking a report and investigating. But it wasn’t until months later that the details made their way to a prosecutor’s desk—and once they finally did, assistant district attorney Hilary Laborde found enough in the investigation to pursue felony sexual assault charges against Ukwuachu. The incident between Ukwuachu and Doe occurred on October 20, 2013, but he wasn’t indicted until June 25 of the following year. (In Elliott’s case, it took the police two weeks from the time the victim reported the incident to the time he was arrested.)

Per testimony from her counselor at Baylor, Cheryl Wooten, Doe was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the encounter. When Doe sought to avoid Ukwuachu on campus, the school didn’t move him out of the classes or tutoring sessions the two shared—instead, she had to adjust her schedule. Eventually, Doe found her own scholarship reduced, and she transferred to another university after the 2013-14 school year, while Ukwuachu graduated in May. (If Ukwuachu is acquitted at trial, he’ll be playing football as a graduate student.)

It took eight months for Ukwuachu to be indicted, but that indictment also went unreported for more than a year. That’s significant when you consider that Waco is a city with a population smaller than 130,000, and the man accused of felony sexual assault is a football player for one of the nation’s top programs. Local sports media seemed curiously incurious about Ukwuachu’s suspension for a violation of team rules, though rumors certainly indicated that some people on the school’s campus knew which team rule Ukwuachu violated: Baylor fan boards included students telling each other things like “you’re hearing the same things that I’m hearing and it’s serious” and “If you like guys like Tevin Elliot[t], then you want Ukwuachu on this team.” Yet still, it would seem no local reporters on the Baylor beat managed to make the trip to the downtown courthouse to type the name “Ukwuachu” to confirm if the rumors were true.

Lots of folks are calling for head coach Art Briles to answer what he knew or didn’t know and when he knew what he know. I would expect Briles to say that he didn’t know why Ukwuachu left Boise, but here’s the problem for me: 1) Either Briles didn’t do a good job of vetting the situation, which means that he either was extremely negligent; or he did know and he was taking a chance on a player to give him a second change. The problem of course, is that if it is option #2, then Briles knowingly allowed a player who had previously been allegedly with assaulting a female onto campus, where he then raped a girl. If I’m Briles, I don’t know how I sleep at night with either one of those scenarios.

Not only do I think that Briles should answer to this girl, but Baylor failed this girl too. Big time.

And every girl at became a victim too (USA Today’s Dan Wolken):

That sounds nice, but in reality this was an avoidable situation for Baylor. Without the cult of the coach and the mythical narrative of second chances, any legitimate, objective investigation into why Ukwuachu was thrown out of Boise State would have yielded significant enough concerns to move along to the next defensive end.

Of course mistakes happen, some of which could never be predicted. Of course there are going to be issues with a team of 18-to-22 year olds. Of course some people deserve second chances.

But the idea that football exists at a place like Baylor to harbor and rehabilitate someone with a documented history of issues like the ones that got Ukwuachu thrown out of Boise State? That’s lunacy, and it shouldn’t be acceptable for anyone sending a daughter to college.

Briles and his administrative enablers were willing to ignore that risk because Ukwuachu was good at football, just like Alabama’s Nick Saban rationalized Jonathan Taylor’s domestic violence issues at Georgia (he’s since been dismissed).

Miscellaneous. The ESPN Big 12 blog bros round tabled it up and a few of them think that the Texas Tech offense is being a bit overlooked . . . DMN’s Michael DuPont has five bold predictions for the year . . . Athlon Sports has the Big 12 freshman that should play and includes the easy one, DT Brieden Fehoko, but also includes Connor Dyer and Madison Akamnonu, which is a bit of a reach considering that Texas Tech has a pretty veteran offensive line . . .


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