Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville told me today his quarterbacks recovered as expected from the injuries they suffered a week into spring practice.
Steven Sheffield had the broken foot, and Taylor Potts was felled by an injured throwing hand that required surgery.
"Sheffield's fine,'' Tuberville said. "He's almost a hundred percent. Potts is doing great. He's been working some camps. He said he's throwing the ball well.''
Upon Zach Thomas' retirement Thursday, Miami Herald columnist Greg Cote wrote a very flattering piece on the former Dolphins great. Though Cote makes clear his immense respect for Thomas, he predicted the former Texas Tech All-American will fall short of making the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
He might be right.
The Hall, with 260 members, is an exclusive club. Too exclusive, I remember Mel Renfro once saying on a trip to Lubbock. The former Dallas Cowboys star said the Hall should have double the number of honorees as what it had.
6 p.m.: North Dakota could be the most overmatched team Mike Leach has faced at Tech. They were Division II just a couple of years ago, which people confuse with I-AA. The difference: I-AA has 63 scholarships; DII has 36 scholarships. That's what UND is coming from just a couple of seasons ago. That being the case, Tech should break 70 and shouldn't allow double digits until garbage time. So the prediction is 70-13.
Texas Tech and Texas will have the honor of playing the Big 12 Conference opener this season, with ABC hoping for a game resembling last year's classic 39-33 Tech victory in Lubbock.
The Tech-UT game the night of Sept. 19 in Austin will be the lone conference game that day -- everyone else plays non-conference games. The risk to Tech is that it will be game three, when the Red Raiders are still trying to answer personnel questions at several positions.
Tech coach Mike Leach said exposure and TV dollars did the talking.
"It’s not really rocket science,'' Leach said.
Tech lineman Brandon Carter admitted Wednesday that the Red Raiders' effort and motivation sagged near the end of last season, once the chance to play for the national championship was out of the picture. After moving to 10-0 on Nov. 8 by trouncing Oklahoma State, Tech never played well again, losing 65-21 at Oklahoma, having to rally past Baylor 35-28 and losing 47-34 to Mississippi in the Cotton Bowl.
"It was hard,'' Carter said. "We were on a huge high note after we beat Oklahoma State.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe's comment Tuesday that the league could eventually consider the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington as a permanent location for the Big 12 championship game sounded like a good idea to Tech coach Mike Leach.
"I think it’s positive,'' Leach said, "because it's a set place you can fly into for everybody. It stabilizes the weather situation. That’s important. I don't know how important it is, but probably some, because there was a year a while back when weather was a big issue (in Kansas City).
Tech offensive guard Brandon Carter has added to his tattoo total. On the side of his head, the huge senior added artwork that includes a skull and a large spider web. It was a two-session job, Carter said, begun last week and completed Tuesday night.
Tech coach Mike Leach called the loss of defensive end McKinner Dixon “addition by subtraction’’ during Wednesday’s Big 12 Conference media day session in Dallas.
Dixon, who had nine sacks last season, had a year of eligibility left, but won’t be back.
“I think it’ll help our team,’’ Leach said. “There is a certain addition by subtraction that exists in football. Guys that are willing to pull the right direction as a unit are more important than individuals that can strum up some flashes here and there, so I think it makes us a stronger team.
Mike Leach repeated something he told us after spring practice, that he thinks the receiver corps overall could be better this year, even without Mike Crabtree. Not sure I agree with that, but Leach did downplay the difficulty of replacing Graham Harrell and Crabtree.
"I don’t think it’s really that dramatic,'' Leach told the Big 12 media day audience. "A lot’s been made out of it, but there was a time when nobody had heard of Harrell and Crabtree, too. A couple of years ago, the questions were along the lines of, 'Is this Harrell guy going to be any good? How's this Crabtree?