Texas Tech Preseason Practice Report: Ward Still Not With Team; Willies and Stringer Impress

Da’Leon Ward is still not with the team, dealing with academic issues, while Derrick Willies and Brayden Stringer have impressed this preseason camp.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury held court this morning and here’s the non-transcript.

Kliff Kingsbury:

. . . [How has the offensive line been doing] We got a ways to go, but the experience at the d-line has helped us, we have some good physical guys. We have a ways to go, but I what I’ve seen thus far.

. . . [Most physical offensive linemen] Terence Steele one of the stronger players on the team, Jack Anderson for a freshman, still working on his conditioning, he’s a power physical guy. I think the d-line has helped our toughness.

. . . [Recruiting players who focus on the run game] I hope so, big strong powerful guys that are used to mauling people, it translates on the run game and we have to coach guys up on pass protection.

. . . [Most improved players this preseason camp] Offensive players is probably Derrick Willies, and defensively, Brayden Stringer has stepped up this year.

. . . [Jett Duffey joining the team and progress] He’s been fairly limited, we’ll bring him along slowly.

. . . [Justin Stockton] Justin has had a great fall camp, last year was tough, we didn’t run the ball well, and people blamed him but we weren’t moving bodies, he battled this offseason. Nisby is a big body still moving forward and learning the system. Tre King has done a good job, DeMarcus Felton has done a good job. That’s four guys you can depend on and it’s exciting for Coach Juluke.

. . . Jacob Hines and Jack [Anderson] are getting first team reps, Madison [Akamnonu] and JuJuan [Delaney] we’re rotating through. Bailey Smith is getting some reps in the rotation, it’s a young group. Dewayne [Johnson] is a smart guy, has played a bunch, we’ll figure it out as we go along.

. . . [Top 7 or 8 offensive linemen] I think we’re still sorting that out, we have our final scrimmage on Saturday, and then mark down our depth chart and mark down our players at each position, I feel like we’re 7 or 8 deep. You’ve got Tony Morales and Madison that played in that last game and that’s encouraging for us.

. . . Try to correct the mistakes, walk through the mistakes and then installling at the same time, each day is a chance to get better.

. . . [How has Quan Shorts done] He has all of the talent in the world, Derrick [Willies] has really stepped up and played well, Quan did some things that last game. T.J. Vasher is another guy who has stepped up behind Dylan, they have great guys to watch, who practice hard every day.

. . . [Status of DaLeon Ward] He’s still not back, we’re kinda wait-and-see on him, he has some things he has to handle. We’ve been very fortunate to have [Justin] Stockton, [Desmond] Nisby, Trey [King] and [DeMarcus] Felton. Mason Reed has done some nice things at fullback. Yes, still related to academics. We’ll see how it goes, if he handles everything he needs to handle, maybe the first day of school.

. . . [Status of D’Vonta Hinton and Eli Howard] Hinton is back, we eased him into things and see how it goes, Eli Howard has been practicing.

The obvious big news is how DaLeon Ward is not currently with the team and still handling his academics. I suppose that the writing has been on the wall with this and you can see this as one of two ways: 1) just another dent in the armour for the offense; or 2) there are running backs who are there that are just as good as Ward. Personally, I think Ward was okay, but I’ve always like Felton the most and with a healthy Stockton and Felton to go along with Nisby and King, this group will be okay. I hope.

Also of note, is that D’Vonta Hinton returns from his academic issues and Jett Duffey is actually back and with the team.

 RedRaiderSports’ Will McKay writes about how Vaughnte Dorsey is aiming for a starting spot at safety, and Dorsey’s idea about how the competition at Texas Tech is at a high level:

“I feel like the competition level is very, very high here. Personally, I’ve never been a part of something so competitive like this is now. Everything we do is about competing. It’s a competition at all times, whether that’s with ourselves or with others on the team,” he said. “Nobody likes to lose. So, for one of us to have to lose to the other one, it brings out a bit of another character in you. It makes you want it more, whether its on the field, bowling, playing spades, or whatever it might be. We don’t want to lose.”

 A-J Media’s Don Williams has a notebook of items, mostly recapping the press conference but with some additional quotes that weren’t included in the video above. The first is Kingsbury highlighting the improved play of McLane Carter and Williams also clarifies that Eli Howard had a knee issue that he was working through, but as mentioned above, he’s back practicing.

 RedRaiderSports’ Brandon Soliz recaps the presser from today as well.


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