Texas Tech Football Things: Ward Injured; Gilmore Progressing

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke to the media after practice.

 Kliff Kingsbury: Non-transcript below.

. . . I thought some good, some bad as usual. Good energy. Guys were playing hard. Need to run the football better and stop the run better. That’s been our emphasis the last two weeks. Get the run game going and be tougher against it

. . . [improved play of Lonzell Gilmore] it’s night and day, last year I don’t know if he understood our system, he’s always been athletic and a tough kid when he gets on the field, but this year I think he understands where he needs to be and using his techniques

. . . [the impact of the junior college players] I mentioned Saturday, very competitive group, Octavious [Morgan], Jaylon [Lane] and Vaughnte [Dorsey], in that back end, coming downhill, they’ll come downhill and hit you, they’re aggressive and they’ll mix it up with the receivers, and that’s been encouraging

. . . [play of the offensive line] not bad, I think Jack Anderson, who as a true freshman, am proud as to how he’s handled himself, he’s a powerful strong guy, the run game comes easier than pass-pro, Travis Bruffy is doing a nice job at left tackle, we’re not where we need to be but we’ll keep working these last four practices

. . . [Bailey Smith playing last year] really just knew what to do, were down some bodies, he was able to come in and he probably could have used a redshirt year, just understanding the offense

. . . [Smith’s progress] just needs to get bigger and stronger, he’s a young kid, got here when he was just 17 or 18 years old, so just develop physically more

. . . [Shimonek throwing the ball away during one play in Frisco scrimmage] I think so, he tried to make every throw and every play, in our offense as many times as we’re going to throw it as many playmakers we have, it’s okay to throw it away I thought that was a win, the two scrimmages he’s protected the ball well

. . . [what group of the defense will be different for Eastern Washington] I think all of it really, a lot of them are back, they’ve developed, the junior college players have provided depth, with Dakota [Allen] and Jordyn Brooks, that group will look different, with Broderick emerging, add Eli to the mix, Joe Wallace, it’s going to be a more prepared group physical and a better group

. . . [downfield blocking of the receivers] those guys are seniors, [Dylan] Cantrell and [Derrick] Willies, they take pride in that aspect, and those scrappy guys, Kekee Coutee and Cameron Batson, they’re getting the hang of it as well

. . . [Willies starting to show what they thought he would be] he is, he’s worked his tail off, it was paralysis by analysis and not letting his natural gifts show, and I’ve seen some real progress this spring with route running, releases and blocking . . . [Brayden Stringer] he’s continued to develop, we didn’t have that luxury to redshirt, he’s gotten bigger, strong and faster, he understands our defense better

. . . [goal for Saturday] just stay healthy, will be fun playing under the lights, not a lot of penalties, protect the ball and go from there

. . . [Morris calling the offense last week] yeah, it’s good for me to get back there and see it from that perspective, you can talk to both sides and encourage both sides

. . . [Will Kingsbury allow Morris to call plays in the regular season?] no

. . . [injury to Da’Leon Ward] it sounded positive coming off the field, so I hope that’s the case, he’s a tough kid, I’ll have to get with the trainers and see where we’re at . . .

As noted, Da’Leon Ward injured his knee, but Kingsbury didn’t sound terrible about it. That would be a blow to the offense if he was injured for any extended period of time and hopefully he is back quickly.

 LAJ’s Don Williams writes about Bailey Smith’s progression to starting left tackle:

Kingsbury said Smith’s progress has been “not bad, just has to get bigger and stronger. Those are things all those young guys have to do.”

In addition to competing for a job, Smith’s adjusting to a new offensive line coach. With Lee Hays gone after four seasons, former Tech center Brandon Jones came in from Sonny Dykes’ California staff.

“There’s lots of improvement on the offensive line,” Smith said. “We still have a ways to go, but we’re doing really well so far, in my opinion. Coach Jones has come in and done a great job coaching us up and getting us right.”

 LAJ’s Don Williams has football notebook including some thoughts by D.J. Polite-Bray on his senior year:

Among the players who have gotten the most consistently positive reviews this spring is D.J. Polite-Bray. He’s shown a physical style and been among the top tacklers in the Midland and Frisco scrimmages.

“The big difference is this is my senior year,” Polite-Bray said. “It’s my last time to go out and compete in the spring, and I just want to make sure I have fun with it, being my last one. It’s working out in a positive way for me.”


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