Texas Tech Football: Tommerdahl and Jones Discuss Spring

Well, this was a tough non-transcript. To disclaim, a non-transcript is where I watch video and try to type as fast as possible. I miss a bunch of stuff, but I also think that I gest the gist of the presser. This particular presser was incredibly difficult because both coaches talk incredibly quickly and it was really difficult.

With that being said, let’s go.

Special Teams Coordinator Mark Tommerdahl

I could give you a couple of names, but we really underperformed last year in special teams, but to say we have an MVP now would be really misleading on how we performed last year. Guys that show up a lot, Matthews, Morganstern, Schooler, really good linebacker type of guys, the nature of the offense, because we have so many receivers, they have to play special teams, a guy that played a lot of special teams last year was Loic Fouonji.

In anticipation of this question, we have to develop elite returners here. our return game was so inadequate last year, so much of having a good return game is having great returners, the kick return phase, on a daily basis, Chad Townsend, Myles Price in both, Marquis Waters, along with Dad Taylor, along with Tahj Brooks. Have a great mix of physical guys. Price is a wiggle guy, Townsend just goes to get it, no moves. our job to develop an elite returner. Chux [Nwabuko], I trust him, he’s just not dynamic and has a chance to make the first guy miss. A dependable guy is Whitfield, and have looked at Adrian Frye back there, Adrian has not been an elite returner there yet.

A physical guy, just turning it into a positive yardage play. Is this guy going to move the pile into a positive yardage play.

Austin McNamara really has a chance to be a top 10 punter in the nation, he already is, but do it for 3 or 4 years in a row. He works in his craft, good student and good person, he knows where this can take him.

Yeah, I think there is a lot we can do, it is the challenge that keeps us young, something that often gets overlooked is the history of Texas Tech special teams, I was sitting in Jones Stadium with an A&M logo on my chest, hearing the crowd chant Wesley Welker. From a practice standpoint and meeting standpoint, we get all of the time that we need, Matt Wells is a great coach for time in special teams.

I wouldn’t agree with that, having worked for both guys, you are always looking to take advantage of what’s given, we will always take advantage of fakes, we call them, but check out of them, Matt takes just as many calculated games as other coaches.

Secondary Coach Derek Jones

Marquis Waters is the one I know most about, I recruited him out of Del Ray Beach, we have a long history, we know exactly what he is, very passionate about football and a really good guy and need leadership from him. What he brings to the table is great for Nate Floyd and Kobee Minor. Malik Dunlap, I’ve known him since a junior in high school, we developed a relationship when he entered the transfer portal, he and Marquis had a relationship, once they entered the portal, it just worked out good for us. Malik hurt his shoulder and know a lot about his blueprint and what he brings to the meeting room. Those guys have played at the Power 5 level. I knew of Rayshad Williams coming out of high school, his high school coach and I are really good friends, he contacted me before he hit the portal he was looking for a coach he could have a relationship, it was a natural fit, he’s played with those guys out of UCLA, he’s very green in terms of what he is learning, he’s a very explosive kid and has a lot of explosion to him, excited to watch him this spring and see him.

I’ve seen Malik play a couple of different times, he’s just a big explosive athlete, very rare to find a guy that size that has that flexibility and explosion, there’s not going to be many guys that line up against Malik with his size, what that does with you, getting inside the red zone you have a guy that can be physical and cause problems. This is a guy that you can’t do that to, he’s very good student of the game, brings some flexibility to us, the objective is to get the top 5 guys on the field, allows you to get those guys on the field.

I would say, Adrian Frye and Damarcus Fields, never had a chance to coach directly until the season, seeing him now, the mindset and attitude, a different role as a leader, he’s done a really good job of doing that. Frye has made excellent strides, he had early success and didn’t play a ton last year, stepping into a role where he can be the guy again, day in and day out he’s been consistent and have been impressed how he’s taken new guys under his wing.

I think all of those guys we brought in along with Adrian Frye and Damarcus Fields have that ability. Frye was a guy that did that as a freshman, I’ve seen Fields create turnovers with his physicality, and those other guys are lengthy, that gives you a chance to separate someone from balls, we drill those things in practice and have been pleased up until this point.

I think the thing that most people don’t see is that these guys are 19 and 20 years old, when I inherited this group, this was the 4th coach in 4 years, this time last year I’m trying to coach these guys over zoom and they didn’t know me as a person. You have to instill a mentality and standards and think that is what will make you successful. Once you have an effect on the person, you’ll have an effect on the player. We were never really in a position to do a lot of rotation, it wasn’t anything negative against Adrian because, Zech was really playing well. Adrian handled it well, we had talks through the season, he’s stronger as a result of it and he’s able to lead us as a result of it.

Strangely, Marquis and I have a unique relationship, he and I have a great relationship he is a guy I was a mentor to, oddly when he entered the portal and he contacted me and he asked what his next step was, I was advising him and I helped guide him, and then I actually got covid and he called me and he said he wanted to commit and I said where, and he said Texas Tech, I think it was grandmother telling him that’s where he’s going [laughing]. Marquis knew he wanted to play for me and have more of that relationship, we’re the last line of instruction and mentorship when we enter the real world, he wanted a different football experience and he wanted to expand on our relationship too.

It has definitely been odd and been at one place for 12 years recruiting for 12 years, have long standing relationship, and coming here and not being able to go out on the road has been difficult, we can’t live in a world of excuses, by the luck of the draw, there is the transfer portal, rather than take guys I haven’t been able to see, or knowing guys want to play for Texas Tech I was able to get guys I had relationships with. I’ve had a social media presence that a lot of those guys are part of that platform and getting those guys to follow me, it’s been easy, you have to get out face to face to sell yourself, but they can’t get to us together and the transfer portal has been good in that regard because you know you’re not making mistakes taking guys.

Seth Collins is still making the transition, he’s still in the first stages of learning how to play, and he is still battling through injury, but he has the mentality of the group and he’s one of those guys. Seth does everything full speed and does extra things, so even he can’t do everything just yet. Kobee Minor, just getting a chance to coach him, he came in last year and missed 45 days because of covid and close contacts, and once you decipher ball games they don’t get a lot of one on one instruction, I’m getting the chance to coach Kobee for the first time. Really pleased with him, love the way he’s grown, but he’s at ground zero. He’s a guy that’s eager and hungry. Cam Watts, we use him at the nickel, probably spends more time with Patterson than me and adds depth in the secondary and contributing on special teams and he’s improved his body. Cam White came out of JUCO played sparingly, but he’s made tremendous strides, and understands the difference between a Power 5 school and JUCO, we need his ability, he’s twitchy guy. JonJon Davis, same boat as Kobee, so it seemed when they came back, they were gone for 12, Kobee, Nate, and JonJon are all young guys, JonJon is a smart guy. Nate is really been positive for us in the spring, moved from corner to safety, he went from 170 to 190 and he is a guy that brings football savvy, recruit as many corner guys as you can and get guys with ball skills back there. Really excited what he brings to the table.

[Describes covid experience, was diagnosed twice, missed the first 10 days leading up to the Houston Baptist game, first time seeing the guys perform was the Houston Baptist game. Had no symptoms first time. The second covid experience was in December, most likely a false positive on the first one. Was 4 or 5 days of being drained.]

I’m definitely not one of the guys making excuses, I feel sorry for the players, had not put any motion or man adjustments or done any game planning and there is no way to do it by zoom effectively. God bless Patterson trying to coach the entire secondary, I think what HBU did is study the things we did at Duke and they did a lot fo things we weren’t prepared for, those kids from Houston Baptist were fast and the quarterback was savvy, I was proud of the kids finding a way to win a ball game. On my end, I found out a lot of things I needed to know when I got here.

Don’t have exact numbers, but I don’t think we have a full group here, it’s 12 days, guys coming and going the whole time and very had to establish unity. Minor, Floyd, and Davis are all roommates, lose one and lose them all. Hard to get those guys reps or train them, and then I get quarantined. We made it through it and learned from it.

Defensive line coach Paul Randolph.


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