Texas Tech Football Notebook: Linebacker Versatility; Defensive Line Depth

Staking the Plains . . . Literally.

Robertson Named to Lombardi Award Watch List. Congrats to football man Pete Robertson for being named to the Lombardi Award Watch List, which goes to the nation’s top down lineman (even though Robertson will be standing up).

Jackson Motivated. RedRaiderSports’ Will McKay talked with defensive end Branden Jackson, who says that this team, on both sides of the ball, are working each day and putting in extra work:

“This year, the offense, they’re pushing themselves beyond the limits. This year, they’re not relying on how good of a unit they were at times last year. The offensive line isn’t sitting back talking about how they’re one of the best offensive lines in the country. You see these guys out here, and they’re on the field getting extra work in. They’re in the weight room more than anyone I know. I feel like the best thing about this offense as a whole is that they aren’t getting complacent. They want to get better, want to improve, and that’s going to make this season really, really good.”

Jackson also talks about how Gary Moore has pushed him this fall and Jackson is very excited about what David Gibbs is doing with the defense. Maybe the most encouraging quote I’ve seen in quite some time:

“Coach Gibbs just broke it down. You don’t have to be superman. A lot of people think you have to shed a block and make a play, but in reality, when we go back and look at film, if you just stay in your gap, hold your gap, let the linebacker that’s supposed to get that gap, then we’ll be good. So, the defensive line has been focusing a lot on not popping gaps and trusting our teammates. I feel like this unit has gotten so much better. We trust everybody to be where they’re supposed to be at.”

Linebacker Versatility. LAJ’s Don Williams writes that the back seven players are expected to be versatile and linebacker coach Zac Spavital says that he has some intelligent linebackers and he’s got a group that knows all three positions:

“I don’t just label them Sam, Mike and Will,” Spavital said, using coaches’ jargon for strong-side, middle and weak-side linebackers. “You can’t do that anymore with all the offenses and all the conflicts they put on your linebackers and DBs.

“They all know they’ve got to know all three positions. We’ve got a way of keeping a guy in a certain area if he’s not as comfortable, but Malik and Dakota are very intelligent and they’ve been able to handle it.

“If (we) say, ‘Hey, you’re going to play this,’ they can go in there and fit in and function, which is what we’re looking for.”

Notebook: Depth on Defensive Line. LAJ’s Don Williams writes that defensive coordinator David Gibbs knows that getting sacks may not be a huge problem, but it’s staying in those gaps:

“We’ve got some depth up front, some guys we’ll rotate in that we think can rush the quarterback,” Gibbs said, “but I’m not sure that’s been the problem around here. I’m thinking the problem around here has been, can we stay in our gaps in the run game? So that’s what we’re focusing on.”

Other notes:

  • Gibbs also says that the defensive line is a veteran group and knows for a lot of these guys that it is their last chance.
  • IR Cameron Batson is getting back #13, which is the number he started off with, but changed to #80 because Eguavoen would play on punt coverage.

More Baylor Fallout. Texas Tribune writes that Baylor may face legal fallout as a result of the Sam Ukwuachu rape trial, namely some potential Title IX violations. Also, our favorite Longhorn writer Chip Brown for Horns Digest has an open email to Baylor president and chancellor Ken Starr and all jokes aside, this is pretty good. Everything from a Baylor football player, Tevin Elliott, being convicted of two counts of sexual assault and four other women coming forward at trial and admitting that they were raped as well, which then leads to the idea that if the Elliott case just happened, you would think that Baylor would have been more careful in this instance (I honestly had no idea that this happened with Elliott).

Why should current or future Baylor students and their parents feel like this won’t happen again after BU football players Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu were convicted of raping female students on campus in the past three years?

As the school president and chancellor and a legal expert who has defended a high-profile registered sex offender (Epstein), what assurances can you give them that it won’t happen again?

And to cap this entire thing off, yesterday evening, Boise State denied knowing of any accusations of sexual assault, which is really not true because there are documents that prove that Boise State did know enough to get him out of Boise. Meanwhile, the Big 12 will adopt stricter transfer rules. One last thought, which is something that I suppose I can somewhat relate to a Baylor fan about, which is that Baylor fans are up in arms about the treatment of this situation in the media, pointing out how there’s so much misinformation about the “facts” of the case (as they’re saying). And I can relate to that because that’s the battle I felt I was fighting when Leach was fired and if you just ask your regular person off the street what happened with Mike Leach and Texas Tech and they’ll give you the same answer that ESPN gave on the television, not what actually happened. I doubt that anyone was feeling sorry for me or our program in our moment of crisis, but it was maddening at times. The difference for me is that a girl was raped and there doesn’t seem to be as much sensitivity to that aspect of it, but “protecting the program” is very important. And this isn’t just me, if you listen to the Ben and Skin interview, Skin mentions that he tweeted out a link of some guy they were going to interview and an army of Baylor twitter folks crashed his twitter mentions.

Miscellaneous. Auburn Uniform Database has updates to every college football program and their new uniforms, except for Texas Tech, which have not been released . . . SB Nation released their college football season preview, so there’s lots of time to waste there . . . USA Today has their Big 12 preview . . . Kliff Kingsbury was on 105.3 The Fan with Ben and Skin for an interview. Nothing ground-breaking, talked about recruiting players of character and playing for Mike Leach . . . DT’s Jeremy Krakosky writes that the wide receiver group is looking to improve . . .

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