Coming off a 5-7 season, Tech coach Tommy Tuberville faced inevitable questions at Big 12 media days about the pressure that will be associated with his third season in Lubbock.
Tuberville believes he's just getting started.
"Just being here a couple years, people have said, 'Hey, you're on the hot seat,'" Tuberville said. "I'd like to be able to coach some of these guys that we've recruited."
Tuberville said increased depth, particularly on defense, has him feeling optimistic about his team's chances after a disastrous campaign in 2011 that saw the Red Raiders lose their final five games of the season.
The coach said Tech has "doubled the talent" on the defensive side of the ball.
"We're making progress," he said. "That's what I look at as a head coach. We've recruited a lot better in the last two years than I dreamed we ever would when I got here.
"I had people tell me you can't recruit here, it's hard, you're too far away from everybody. ... But we've overcome that. We've bucked all odds in terms of recruiting."
Tuberville said a team needs about 30 players on defense in the Big 12 who can fill in productively on a day-in-day-out basis, adding that Tech only had 15 such athletes last season.
Reasons for increased depth this season: Tech has added a number of junior-college players -- linebacker Will Smith chief among them -- on the defensive end, while also returning most of the letterwinners from last season's team.
Tech will also benefit from the addition of players who redshirted last season, such as 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end Branden Jackson, who Tuberville says will be a "great player" for Tech this season.
Tuberville said new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman will be a major factor when Tech enters its Big 12 Conference schedule because of his experience in adapting to the league's varying, diverse offensive game plans.
"There will be dramatic change each week in terms of what offense you have (to face)," Tuberville said, "so you have to have someone who show to adapt to different offenses. That only comes with experience, and Art has been there."