Football

Texas Tech Football Notebook: Wrapping Up the Spring

It’s a wrap, sort of.

This is the non-transcript from the last press conference after the spring game. As you all know, my non-transcript is me trying to type as fast as I can to get the gist of what’s being said and are not actual quotes. I did all of this early this morning, so it’s a bit rough (Youssouf’s football practices are really infringing on my blogging time), regardless, there’s a lot of content. If you want to watch the players, feel free, I simply ran out of time this morning.

I’m guessing that with the recruiting opening up and the coaches and recruits being able to travel, we will hopefully be talking a ton about recruiting through the rest of the spring and summer.

Let’s go.

Matt Wells, Head Coach

A lot of young guys needed reps, great to have a lot of great alumni back and for our players to say thank you for what they’ve done, we try to understand that we try to play for the guys before us. The spring game is big for me and to restablish and establish relationships, that’s important to me, today was about showcasing guys in the scrimmage part, we held out Schooler, Nelson, Fields, held those guys out of extended reps, obviously guys we held out were pre-spring ball injuries, and a couple of guys got sick, so we had a lot of guys held out, the showcasing and the one-on-one’s was what we wanted to do, our biggest eval were 1 through 14, we made a lot of strides and we are further ahead, I don’t think there is one day, I thought our guys came out intent, came out before, stayed after, I’m proud of how our guys prepare and go out and practice, they made strides and made work to do.

Erik Ezukanma unfortunately broke his arm on Thursday, good thing is that it is not going to derail his Texas Tech career, it will be a few months in the summer, we’ll see how he feels, he may be a quick healer, we’ll have a better idea in August, he’ll play a lot of football for us in the fall, we’ll know more in 6 weeks, just a freak thing, the surgery went well, he’ll be quick on the mend, he’s a tough man, one of our best workers and best people, our teammates will be there to lift him up.

We moved Jerand Bradley over there today, how about that we moved a 17 year old to that position, he a Loic were playing that position, JJ and Trey were playing the other position, but they can play both spots.

It was good to see LB More play, he played well today, position group, it was probably the running back room and tight end room both went up, Tahj and Chad both improved, Chad will play a big role as well will CamRon Valdez when he gets here. I thought Koontz god better, John Michael had a good spring and Mason and Jed should still be in high school, Mason made some nice catches. And the corner or defensive back room, Nate went back between corner and safety, Kobee Minor played better, Rayshad Williams played better and Adrian Frye.

Have fun, stay healthy, showcase a few guys and get out healthy and I think that’s what they did.

I saw some really good give and take, saw the offense drive down and the defense fight back, we emptied the benches a bit, it wasn’t about a winner or loser, I thought the defense had a really big spring, when you hold out, Morganstern, Cam White, Malik Dunlap, Riko Jeffers, Jessiah Pierre, Gilbert Ibeneme, a ton of guys we held out, I thought they did a nice job of the red zone in that first series.

We take pride in that, two groups of guys who have been for a couple of years and how you have to come to work every day, I think it also speaks volumes as to the transfers. Muddy Waters is a pro, Tyler Shough, TJ Storment, coming into meetings and staying late, I think you see a more confident team and a team that is more assured on abilities and on the edge of cocky, which is where I want it, but confidence based on the time they’ve invested and how they’ve played.

Erik broke his right arm, we were in a team drill, he just came down and braced himself. Nate Floyd was sick.

I think what you have is guys you saw today, Henry started taking 1st reps this spring, he improved, Tyler came in on day 3, really I think it is a testament to him and how smart he is and operate, and coming in and getting into business classes, both of the freshmen, Donovan Smith and Behren Morton, they are the future, they have the talent, they had good days and periods, they have struggled too, but they have a bright bright future, those guys as they go into the summer, player-led workouts, and they have to make strides to improve and that is the toughest position to gain reps because you only play one at a time, the scrimmage didn’t do anyone any favors because of the number of reps. I’m excited to watch that competition all summer.

I think Cumbie has a lot installed, different tempos and formation groups, as we get into the summer, we’ll go through different installs, we’ll then focus on different strengths at different positions, and what guys merit playing time, do we put Mannix and Rigdon at the same time, do we play with two running backs or two tights, I like where we are at, I think guys have bought into Coach Cumbie, a good vibe, I thought there was good give and take the last part of spring ball.

Yeah, best quarterback room we’ve had since we’ve been here, they are all good, it’s not close, they gained confidence in the offense and teammates gain confidence in them, without question better.

Riko Jeffers on the mic, most of the stuff on the 7-on-7, I thought he called out Myles Price before the touchdown catch. It’s tough when you get injured, Deaton, Xavier White, Riko, they became assistant coaches this spring, they were involved every day, that is leadership and maturity, Malik Dunlap is out there encouraging and coaching, I was encouraged by those guys by their maturity.

Mark Adams, good route, good catch, a little pressure on him, his boss Kirby was down there, Coach is an old high school quarterback, shoulder issues, we really wanted to recognize him, our staff and players support him, some of the players may want a try out after the game, that’s something that Kirby promotes is a tight knit group, Gerlich, Kittley, Tadlock, Sands, I know I left some of the coaches out, that is Texas Tech, we all stick together and support that basketball team.

Sonny Cumbie, Offensive Coordinator

I was really pleased with all of the quarterbacks, one pre snap penalty, that hurt us, the things that have slowed us down are ourselves, we handled ourselves well, I didn’t think they were rattled, they protected the football well and pushed the ball down the field with the play action stuff.

When we started we have a basketball team out there, we talk about catch radius, that’s what we’ve seen with Bradley, Loic, Trey Cleveland, when we call certain things, they know they are getting the ball, Coach Filani has coached them well.

It has improved in the spring, numbers wise we are down a few lineman, that’s an opportunity to build the depth, get the numbers higher, I thought they protected well today, one error in protection, the spring they are understanding the protections, and have done a nice job in the zone blocking scheme, we’re doing spring practice, we have a launching point to be read for the first game in the spring.

That run is what we’ve seen in 15 practices from Tahj Brooks, terrific vision and feet, emergence of Chad Townsend, XY back, Valdez arrives, Tahj has been our most consistent player on the offense.

It’s been, with any freshman, I asked about his girlfriend is getting ready to go to prom, he’s come out of high school, a lot of older players, Behren is taking strides this spring, you come early to compete and when you get to the summer and fall camp, you compete, I’ve been pleased with Behren.

Some of our bread and brothers, reacting and not thinking, this is a completely new offense, let’s good good at these things in teh pass game and players have to be confident, guys have shown improvement, I want them to go out and react and they did that this spring better.

It’s really important to create explosive players, taking shots down the field with all the receivers, that will help the run game, I think that will show this fall, I’m encouraged where we are at in the run game and throwing the ball down the field.

Shough has the ability to stand in the pocket and make all of the throws, ad it really opens you up what you can do defensively, his delivery is quick, he is a sharp player, that adds an element to our offense, whether it is quick out, a deep out, defenisvely you’re going to have to defend the entire field.

Tyler is straight ahead, for a guy that’s 6’4″ and 225 pounds, not side to side, but we’ll have to be smart in how much we’ll ask him to run, he ran a wing-T offense in high school, his ability to run the football and extend plays will help us a lot.

Donovan has scrimmaged very consistent, he’s going to make big plays, his practices have to get better, this is his first spring at quarterback, he hurts his shoulder during two-a-days, him and Behren are in the same boat, coming back from injury, he has the ability to throw the ball down the field and play really well.

Colombi has competed his tail off, not backed down, getting the ball out quick, he understands his strength and weaknesses, he knows timing wise, he’s had some big plays down the field, in terms of guys down the field, he’s done a good job of learning.

Keith Patterson, Defensive Coordinator

It’s the best spring we’ve had since we’ve been here, I like our depth at d-line and linebacker, and had guys step up, guys are stronger and more explosive, we’ve continued to take another step in the back end, coverage wise, we had good 15 good practices.

Without watching the video it’s hard to say, I like Rashad Williams, he made a couple of plays that were nice, Marquis Waters continues to impress me, Dadrion Taylor continues to improve and like the steadiness of Demarcus Fields and Adrian Frye, just have to continue to build in the back-end.

LB Moore has been good, he’s starting to get used to carry that weight, he’s up to 255, he’s going to be a good player down the road, you got a glimpse what Ty Wilson will become, Tony Bradford inside has played consistent all spring, him and Jaylon Hutchings, Devin Drew continues to improve, Philip Bilidi, and Nelson Mbanasor.

I think the mentality that we’ve had every day in the spring to compete and enjoy coming to practice every day with the right mentality and focus, in every single thing we’ve done though 15 practices is the consistency.

On Drew’s interception it is we look at the exit angles of quarterbacks and work on mirror hand drills, teach our guys to break the stack, the ball was deflected, create population to the ball carrier, you love to see stuff like that because we drill it, it is another indication of how he continues to impress.

I really like, they are aggressive, and it is the same thing with the offense, the mentality with the approach, the way Sonny coaches them, he coaches with a defensive mentality, he’s aggressive, our offensive line has responded to the aggressiveness, I like what I see, those quarterbacks can really spin the football and the receivers are going to continue to get better and like what I see from the offense.

Probably all of the above, you have a good taste in your moth and it inspires you into May, June, and July and preparing for fall camp, it is a good thing. Moore has really developed into the player I thought he could become, he’s just scratching the surface of what I thought he could become, he’ll get bigger, the jump he made from fall to spring is impressive.

I’m going to get an MRI on Monday, it is probably a meniscus tea, I’m guessing, I wasn’t going to show any signs of weakness, kids are giving me a hard time about it, I’ll get it taken care of next week, I’m just so proud of our kids, the mentality of the offense and defense, and to cap it off with the former lettermen yesterday and thanking them todya, Texas Tech football is headed in the right direction.

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