You’ll just have to take their word for it this spring and summer that Texas Tech football players are, in fact, Texas Tech football players, minus the emblem with which they’re synonymous.
The Red Raiders spent the off-season not allowed to wear the Double T around the Tech football facilities. Such are the motivational tactics for a team that finished 5-7 last year with a late-season 66-10 lay-down at Iowa State.
“As a program, players included, we didn’t feel like we earned the right to represent that logo that means a lot to a lot of people,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “The way we played certain games and the inconsistency that we showed wasn’t up to par and wasn’t up to Texas Tech standards. So we’re going to earn that this spring, this summer and then going into fall camp.”
The Red Raiders start spring practice Saturday and have spring scrimmages March 25 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, April 1 at the Ford Center in Frisco and April 8 at Jones AT&T Stadium on campus.
Kingsbury said the Double T logos won’t be reissued individually when a player or group of players is deemed worthy.
“No, it’ll be a team,” Kingsbury said. “It’ll be as a group. We’ll earn that together.”
Tech brought its own attention to the ploy Wednesday by posting a video about the subject on its Twitter account with reactions from receivers Cameron Batson and Dylan Cantrell and defensive lineman Talor Nunez.
“It’s really an embarrassment,” Batson said. “You come here, you sign your letter of intent and you don’t get to wear that Double T. That’s a big disappointment. Obviously, we weren’t pleased with the way we played last year, going 5 and 7. Coaches weren’t pleased. Fans weren’t pleased.”
”Wearing the Double T, when I first got here that meant a lot to me,” Nunez said. “Now I feel like it’s even meaning more that I have to go earn it every single day.”
The Red Raiders’ locker room in the Football Training Facility also is off limits for the time being, though that has to do with a planned renovation project. The goal is to have them back in the FTF locker room for the start of summer conditioning in early June.
Cornerbacks coach Karl Scott said the Red Raiders are making the best of it.
“I think the guys have kind of taken that and run with it,” he said. “There’s been no complaining. There’s been no bellyaching. It’s kind of made their life more difficult, whether it’s to go to the visitors’ locker room (in Jones AT&T Stadium) and have to come back up here (to the Football Training Facility) and get their laundry, then go back downstairs and change. They’ve taken it in stride.”