Season 2, Episode 1 of The Brand was dropped yesterday at noon. I always sort of want these to be a bit longer with more explanation about what’s happening.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Nick Coppola writes about receiver Loic Fouonji returning from injury:
“Before the play starts, I like to visualize everything,” Fouonji said. “I visualize how I want to run my routes, what release I want to do, how I want to play against the corner and how I want my body to be whenever the ball is in the air for me to come and catch it.”
Fouonji had his work cut out for him before camp. He’s not only had to fight for his place in offensive coordinator Zach Kittley’s new system, but rehab from his injury.
Head coach Joey McGuire believes Fouonji has done both successfully despite the challenge. Kittley said Fouonji ran as fast as 23 miles per hour this offseason, and both coaches are excited for the “specimen” they have at their disposal.
“You’ve got to almost think of him as a transfer because you didn’t see him in the spring,” McGuire said. “He’s a monster. We need him to be really good because he is one of the guys who can really take the top off of the ball. He’ll line up there when the first offense goes out. He’s going to be on that right side.”
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams write about the position switch for safety Reggie Pearson:
This year, Pearson expects to be even better because of a position shift. He’ll be playing boundary safety for new coach Joey McGuire and new DC Tim DeRuyter.
“It suits me perfectly,” said the 5-foot-11, 202-pound senior from River Rouge, Michigan. “I’ve played it before, so I kind of know the ins and outs and stuff like that. It allows me to cover as well as be in the box and tackling as well as be in the post. I’m kind of playing all around the field, so I feel like that best fits me, because I’m able to display everything.”
Last year Pearson played middle safety and was the “help guy” last year and had to fix anything that broke.
Dallas Morning News’ Ryan Mainville returns to write 5 bold predictions for the season, which I’ll get to 1 of them in a second. Before that, make sure and follow Mainville on Twitter, who had his previous account hacked and is finally back.
O-line survives some serious concerns
Linebacker and offensive line are the two big question marks when it comes to position groups for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders lost a number of veterans on the line, a position where you can’t afford inexperience. But after some shopping in the transfer portal, it looks like the offensive line will be alright.
The returning Ethan Carde, Caleb Rogers and Weston Wright will give Texas Tech a needed veteran presence on the line. Michael Shanahan, Cade Briggs and Cole Spencer all were picked up from the portal and will have an immediate impact. Look for returners Jacoby Jackson and Landon Peterson to have more prominent roles this season as well. As always, injuries will play a key part in determining how this group plays out. But things aren’t as grim as they initially seemed.
Red Raider Sports’ Justin Apodaca summarizes the media availability (this media scrum and the prior one have still not posted on YouTube) from yesterday, hearing from coach is running backs and special teams coach Kenny Perry:
Coach Perry gave some insight on the kicker battle, saying that both kickers have been great and there still isn’t a decision.
“We still got a good battle going on with our kicker,” Perry said. “I think the competition is helping both guys. Honestly, they’re both the same.”
Perry said that he believes this is the best special teams’ group that he has coached in his career and that he believes they will be better than last season despite the loss of Jonathan Garibay.
“We want to be on top of the country every year and we’ve got the special teams’ players to do that here,” Perry said. “The best I’ve ever had, totally.”
Also present was tight end coach Josh Cochran who discussed Baylor Cupp and Mason Tharp (which you’ll need to click on over for deets).