The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake: July 21st

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

Admin Stuff

 San Angelo Standard-Times’ Charles Bryce reports on Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt’s visit to San Angelo:

“We’ve got a good man leading our football program,” the Red Raiders AD said. “Kliff Kingsbury does things the right way. He operates with character and he operates with integrity. He’s a positive influence on the lives of these young men that he’s working with.

“He’s got a great staff, and we’re going to win. I’m going to stay bullish on that. I don’t know how many wins we’re going to get this year, but I can promise you this group of young men and this group of coaches were more disappointed than all of us in here about what happened last year.”

Texas Tech Baseball

 Interesting story about the Angels’ Parker Bridwell, from the LA Times’ Pedro Moura. Bridwell is from Hereford and was going to walk-on at Texas Tech, but was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 9th round and decided not to attend college:

He committed to Texas Tech, the closest university participating in Division I sports, and planned to play football and baseball. Only in the weeks before the 2010 MLB draft did Bridwell understand how much money he could make. The Red Raiders’ coach issued his standard recommendation: Sign if a major league team offers you more than $500,000.

The Baltimore Orioles selected Bridwell in the ninth round, in which the recommended slot figure is far less than that. But on the advice of an MLB agent, his father, Keith Bridwell, asked for $750,000. Soon after the draft, he said, the Orioles’ then-scouting director agreed to that figure in person.

Come the deadline, the Bridwells were told the commissioner’s office would not clear the bonus. A new, smaller offer was made. Talking as he drove along a Texas highway and angry to have a handshake deal reneged upon, Keith told the team his son would be going to college and hung up before Parker teared up in the passenger seat of the pickup truck.

“Dad, my dream was to play professional baseball, not college baseball,” Parker said. “I want to do that.”

Keith called back. Parker signed for $625,000 and flew to Florida to begin his minor league toil.

Good story of a kid from Hereford finally arriving.

Texas Tech Basketball

 SI’s Molly Geary has an offseason Big 12 power ranking and big question to ask for each team. She has Texas Tech 7th overall and her big question is if Texas Tech can return to the NCAA Tournament:

Chris Beard’s first season in Lubbock started strong with an 11–1 mark against a soft nonconference schedule and wins over West Virginia, Kansas State and TCU within the Raiders’ first six Big 12 games. But things went downhill from there with a 4–10 mark the rest of the way. Now, Texas Tech will look to make its second NCAA tourney in three years behind the senior duo of point guard Keenan Evans and big man Zach Smith. Shooting guard Niem Stevenson and wing Justin Gray also make up the core of the returners.

The team will feature a number of new faces as well. Florida transfer Brandone Francis, a former four-star recruit who struggled with the Gators, is now eligible, and a number of incoming freshman and juco transfers arrive, including Jarrett Culver and Daniel Mading. The Red Raiders will need to put their disappointing end to 2016–17 behind them as they begin a fresh start next season.

Texas Tech Football

Buy your very own Staking The Plains t-shirt at the Staking The Plains Threadless Shop. Click on that danged shirt (or the link).

 Texas Tech’s initial 2018 opponent, Ole Miss, will not be coached by Hugh Freeze, who resigned from Ole Miss last night. This is a delicious story and I believe Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde had the news first:

In a stunning turn of events, Hugh Freeze has resigned from Ole Miss. The move comes after the school found at least one call from the coach to an escort service on his school-issued cell phone.

Athletic director Ross Bjork said the initial phone call originally was “attributed to a misdial.” But further vetting of Freeze’s phone records disclosed a “pattern of conduct” that led the school administration to confront Freeze this week. Bjork said he and school administrators spoke to Freeze Wednesday night.

“Coach Freeze was very transparent, open, honest and admitted the conduct,” Bjork said, without specifying what that conduct was.

Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel has a tremendous take of Freeze, who believed he never did anything wrong ever:

There will be very few tears shed about it across the South. Mention Freeze to SEC coaches and you were as likely to get an eye roll as anything else. He propped himself up as a man of extreme faith – his religion on his sleeve, his Bible verses on his Twitter.

Yet as he scored top recruit after top recruit, it rubbed many the wrong way. Publicly, he was holier than thou. Privately, he was willing to drive the program right up a mountain and then off the NCAA infraction cliff, unconcerned who got crushed along the way.

And now this, an embarrassing scandal, the genesis of which stems not so much from his phone calls to escorts, but his phone calls to reporters, the cheap and temporary lies he told to save his own reputation through another National Signing Day.

There was never a concern for an injured party – be it Houston Nutt or all the recruits and their parents who the misdirection was designed to fool. They were the ones conned into sticking with the Rebels, led to believe everything was fine, when in truth bowl bans and sanctions that will crush competitiveness were coming. They were sold a false promise.

Kliff Kingsbury and a handful of other Big 12 coaches participated in ESPN’s car wash yesterday. I’ve made the decision not to download Adobe Flash so I’m not going to listen to the podcasts, but here is Kingsbury on Paul Finebaum’s show as well as Kingsbury on Ryen Russillo’s show.


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