The Morning Stake: August 9th

Passing of Luke Gonsioroski

I was wondering yesterday morning when news broke about Luke’s passing as to whether or not Texas Tech would really even be able discuss Luke since he never arrived on campus because the rules of the NCAA are sometimes ridiculous. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury did have a comment:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of Luke’s passing,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “Luke was not only an exceptional athlete, he was also an incredible person, great student and leader in his community. He was such an inspiration through his fight and unwavering faith. It was truly an honor to know him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and everyone whose lives he touched.”

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 A-J Media’s Don Williams writes about the bonding of the defensive line, the idea that perhaps anything to improve the play can’t hurt, as Mych Thomas and Broderick Washington took the lead in getting together with the other defensive linemen:

“It was way different last year,” he said. “Last year, everybody wasn’t in the group. We had people who were hanging out with other people. This year, we took more control, as in we need to come as a group and work together as team on what we need to do and accomplish.”

Washington and Thomas took the lead in making sure it’s more than idle talk. Washington was one of the team’s eight captains in off-season conditioning — one of only two in those roles who wasn’t a senior or a junior. Strength and conditioning coach Rusty Whitt lauds few, if any, players more than he does the 6-foot-3, 300-pound sophomore from Longview.

Thomas, a 6-2 senior from Dallas Skyline, began preseason practice weighing 320 pounds, which is 25 pounds lighter than when he first arrived on campus in the summer of 2016. That was his goal weight, and he’s been maintaining it.

“I’ve felt great with this weight,” he said. “This summer, I’ve been working my butt off in everything.

RedRaiderSports’ Will McKay talks with LB Jordyn Brooks about the linebacking corps:

And now, this linebacking corps with Brooks, Allen, and the rest of the crew will take their shot at a major bounce back season as a unit. The sophomore LB believes that turnaround truly starts with a change in mentality.

“I think having an edge. At times last year we would play lazy, and laziness will get you beat. Coach Spav talks all the time with us about playing with an edge. You’ve got to have an edge, especially with our position. We’re the quarterbacks of the defense, so we have to have an edge. I really think that’s something that’s changed.”

That edge Brooks wants his unit to have has found some fuel, too. It’s no secret that the Red Raiders have been flat out awful defensively for some time now, long enough that the Tech defense has become somewhat of a punching bag in media circles, and very few folks are expecting much to change in 2017.

You probably saw the headlines yesterday, about UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen saying something to the effect of, “raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have.” The actual Q&A with Bleacher Report’s with Matt Hayes is very good and worth your time to read. Here’s a portion:

B/R: So that’s reality for student-athletes playing at a major university?

Rosen: I didn’t say that, you did. (Laughs.) Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.

B/R: Wait, some players shouldn’t be in school?

Rosen: It’s not that they shouldn’t be in school. Human beings don’t belong in school with our schedules. No one in their right mind should have a football player’s schedule, and go to school. It’s not that some players shouldn’t be in school; it’s just that universities should help them more—instead of just finding ways to keep them eligible.

Any time any player puts into school will take away from the time they could put into football. They don’t realize that they’re getting screwed until it’s too late. You have a bunch of people at the universities who are supposed to help you out, and they’re more interested in helping you stay eligible. At some point, universities have to do more to prepare players for university life and help them succeed beyond football. There’s so much money being made in this sport. It’s a crime to not do everything you can to help the people who are making it for those who are spending it.

Miscellaneous . . . PalmBeachPost’s Joe Schad reports that Jakeem Grant is progressing quite well in his second year . . . The Ringer’s Kevin Clark has a long piece on how the 2007 Patriots built the modern NFL and of course that was Wes Welker’s first year with New England, along with Randy Moss . . . Heartland College Sports’ Pete Mundo ranks the Big 12 running backs and has Texas Tech at 9th overall . . .

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