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New faces show up on Red Raiders defense

Posted: April 7, 2012 - 11:08pm  |  Updated: April 8, 2012 - 12:35am
Cornelius Douglas  Michael Strong Photography
Michael Strong Photography
Cornelius Douglas
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When Texas Tech finished six rungs from the bottom in the national total defense rankings last season, the Red Raiders looked like they could use some new blood on that side of the football.

There’s going to be some when preseason practice starts in August. The team comes out of spring practice with three newcomers starting on defense and four more as top backups. That includes players who transferred into the program, players who redshirted last season or, in the case of cornerback Cornelius Douglas, moved to defense after spending virtually his entire career on offense.

Douglas is a first-team cornerback, and new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman hopes newcomers such as Will Smith at middle linebacker and redshirt freshman Branden Jackson at defensive end can help a unit that gave up a school-record 471 points in 2011.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Jackson and 6-5, 282-pound Delvon Simmons — McKeesport, Pa., products who were two of Tech’s prized signees in 2011 — both go into summer as starters, Kaufman said last week. Jackson is at left end.

“Branden Jackson, I thought, really had an outstanding spring,” Kaufman said. “He redshirted last year. He’s gotten his weight up, his strength level up. I thought he did good.”

Kaufman said Smith, along with defensive tackle Kerry Hyder and safety Cody Davis, set the bar for defensive performance this spring. That was no surprise from Hyder, who was the team’s steadiest defensive lineman last season, or Davis, who has been first or second on the tackles chart each of the last three years.

But Smith, the 6-3, 226-pound JC transfer, was everything in February and March the Red Raiders could have hoped.

“From about day two, I could see it in him,” Kaufman said. “He understands what he’s doing. He gets his job, and he spends his time studying the offense, and that’s the difference between an average player and a really good player to me.”

Another JC transfer, Chris Payne, will be No. 2 to Terrance Bullitt at strong-side linebacker going into summer. And the No. 2 weak-side linebacker is redshirt freshman Justin Cooper, who took a spot on the depth chart ahead of junior Daniel Cobb, the team’s third-leading tackler last season.

Kaufman said he feels good about a starting linebacker trio of Bullitt, Smith and Sam Eguavoen.

“I’m not set on the depth, the quality of the depth, yet,” Kaufman said, adding that freshman signees Micah Awe and Kris Williams could get into the mix at weak-side and strong-side linebacker, respectively.

Tech was one of the earliest programs in the country to complete spring practice, finishing up with two workouts in three days after the March 24 Red-Black Game. The Red Raiders made a personnel move at that time, switching 6-3, 222-pound Pete Robertson from linebacker to defensive end. Robertson spent preseason practice last year at safety.

Now coaches want to check his potential as a pass rusher. He’s penciled in to train behind Dartwan Bush and Jackson Richards.

“We just felt like he needed to be at a position where he could go get the ball,” Kaufman said. “We felt that was instinctually what he had, and we were making a little bit of a robot out of him.

“You might say, ‘How big is he? Is he big enough?’ Is Dartwan Bush (6-1, 255) big enough? Obviously, he is. I don’t know what their sizes say, but you put them side by side and Pete’s probably, in time, going to be as big or bigger than (Bush).”

Stability at cornerback was on the defense’s spring objectives. Kaufman said Douglas and Eugene Neboh are first team at left and right cornerback, respectively. Jarvis Phillips, Jeremy Reynolds and Derrick Mays are backing up on both sides. Reynolds, a redshirt freshman, is another of the newcomers on the depth chart.

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said three skill-position players who missed spring — running back Eric Stephens, “H” inside receiver Austin Zouzalik and “Y” inside receiver Alex Torres — will be first team going into summer. Stephens and Torres are recovering from knee surgery, and Zouzalik was withheld from contact coming off a late-season concussion.

 

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TEXAS TECH FOOTBALL DEPTH CHART

Note: This is the Tech depth chart at the end of spring, according to offensive coordinator Neal Brown and defensive coordinator Art Kaufman.

Offense

Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Class-Exp

SE *Eric Ward 6-0 203 Jr-2L

Marcus Kennard 6-3 205 Sr-1L

Derek Edwards 6-1 177 Fr-RS

IR Austin Zouzalik 5-11 190 Sr-3L

Jakeem Grant 5-6 163 Fr-RS

Javares McRoy 5-7 166 Fr-RS

Jordan Davis 5-9 165 So-RS

LT *LaAdrian Waddle 6-6 322 Sr-3L

Rashad Fortenberry 6-4 279 Jr-Tr

LG Beau Carpenter 6-6 291 So-1L

Alfredo Morales 6-3 309 So-1L

C *Deveric Gallington 6-3 321 Sr-3L

Tony Morales 6-2 309 Fr-RS

Jared Kaster 6-4 268 Fr-HS

RG *Terry McDaniel 6-6 329 Sr-3L

Kyle Clark 6-5 288 Jr-1L

James Polk 6-6 330 So-1L

RT Le’Raven Clark 6-3 309 Fr-RS

Matt Wilson 6-6 277 Fr-RS

IR *Alex Torres 6-1 200 Sr-3L

Jace Amaro 6-5 255 So-1L

Tyson Williams 5-11 210 Sr-RS

Aaron Fisher 6-2 194 Jr-2L

FL Darrin Moore 6-4 220 Sr-2L

Bradley Marquez 5-10 195 So-1L

Javon Bell 6-0 184 Jr-Tr

Shawn Corker 6-1 201 So-1L

QB *Seth Doege 6-1 205 Sr-3L

Michael Brewer 6-0 185 Fr-RS

Brant Costilla 6-4 229 Jr-Sq

FB Omar Ontiveros 6-1 239 Jr-1L

RB Eric Stephens 5-8 195 Sr-3L

Kenny Williams 5-9 215 So-1L

DeAndre Washington 5-8 191 So-1L

SaDale Foster 5-8 193 Jr-Tr

Ben McRoy 5-8 163 Jr-2L

Defense

Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Class-Exp

LE Branden Jackson 6-4 255 Fr-RS

Kindred Evans 6-3 239 So-1L

Chris Knighton 6-1 248 Jr-2L

LT *Kerry Hyder 6-2 275 Jr-2L

*Leon Mackey 6-5 255 Sr-1L

Donte Phillips 6-2 275 Fr-RS

RT Delvon Simmons 6-5 282 So-1L

Dennell Wesley 6-2 285 Jr-1L

Lee Adams 6-1 269 Jr-Tr

RE *Dartwan Bush 6-1 255 Jr-2L

Jackson Richards 6-3 248 So-1L

Pete Robertson 6-3 222 So-1L

SLB *Terrance Bullitt 6-3 217 Jr-2L

Chris Payne 5-11 188 So-Tr

MLB Will Smith 6-3 226 Jr-Tr

Blake Dees 6-1 226 So-1L

Zach Winbush 6-1 230 Jr-2L

WLB Sam Eguavoen 6-1 225 So-1L

Justin Cooper 6-0 219 Fr-RS

Daniel Cobb 6-0 227 Jr-2L

LCB Cornelius Douglas 5-9 198 Sr-3L

Jarvis Phillips 5-10 196 Jr-2L

or Jeremy Reynolds 5-9 175 Fr-RS

or Derrick Mays 5-10 180 Jr-2L

Thierry Nguema 6-0 160 Fr-HS

SS *D.J. Johnson 6-0 198 Sr-3L

*Tre Porter 6-0 207 Jr-2L

J.J. Gaines 5-10 187 Fr-RS

FS *Cody Davis 6-2 203 Sr-3L

*Tre Porter 6-0 207 Jr-2L

Austin Stewart 6-2 202 So-Tr

Urell Johnson 5-11 181 So-Sq

RCB Eugene Neboh 5-10 188 Sr-2L

Jarvis Phillips 5-10 196 Jr-2L

or Jeremy Reynolds 5-9 175 Fr-RS

or Derrick Mays 5-10 180 Jr-2L

Happiness Osunde 5-9 178 Sr-1L

Specialists

Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Class-Exp

PK Ryan Bustin 5-11 176 So-RS

Kramer Fyfe 5-7 166 So-Sq

P *Ryan Erxleben 6-1 193 Jr-2L

Ryan Bustin 5-11 176 So-RS

  • Comment
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1
4

Just wondering?

Wonder if Happiness can coach?

5
0

Looking good

I'm just a little bit worried about size on the interior defensive line. Hope they don't get pushed around like they did last year. Better coaching, technique and experience should help.

3
4

I Figured it Out

The underground bunker is located under the Kent R. Hance Chapel. So when they dedicate the place, Hance will be able to come up for 11 seconds, wave at his admirers behind You-know-what-kind of glass, then duck back into the bunker.

The height of self-agrandisement must be to associate your name with that of our Maker.

Astonishing. But predictable.

4
0

@Mojo

Mojo,

I do not think the weights are 100% up to date. Simmons and Wesley are both from what I have heard between 290-300 LBS. That is a good start. Hyder is gaining weight as well, Mackey is going to have to get in the 270 to be a every down guy instead of a 3rd down player.

Don't forget that Anthony Smith is coming in at 5'10" 295 LBS, and he played some running back in high school. Lollar is also 275 and as strong as an ox. Both guys could be the wild cards.

0
1

Optimism is Good

It's always good to be optimistic. The proof of any real improvement will come when the season starts. Things do look promising, but nothing is for sure at this point. Compared to last year's defense, this defense can only be an improvement. I hope Stephens and Torres will be ready for the season it will make a big difference in the offense.

This list has Brewer listed at 6'0" I thought he was like 6'2" or something like that, does anybody know first hand? Wreck'em!

0
0

Brewer

Yeah he 6' maybe a shade taller but not 6' 2" kinda like when we signed Crabtree he was 6'3" out of high school and measured a hair under 6'1" for the draft.

1
5

Today's Comparison

Nolan Ryan and Kent Hance. Ryan had a confessed issue with Ron Washington and he stuck with him. Hance had a contrived and now proven fraudulent issue with Mike Leach and cheated the man out of his job and earned pay.

Ryan, as is his style, turned the confessed issue into pure gold.

Hance, in what we now know is his style, turned the non-issue into the destruction of the program.

And there you have today's comparison.

1
5

Let's Change The Name of the Football Team

We should be called the 66ers. You all know why.

3
1

Red, go back in your cave

Red, go back in your cave

0
0

Clutch

Thanks for the info Clutch. I figured the coaches realized we were a little small on the D-line but I didn't know if much could be done about it. Sounds like a few of them are bulking up a little. That will certainly pay off. I'm thinking they will try to redshirt the incoming freshmen D-lineman unless one of them makes a big impact when they arrive. You hate to waste any player's eligibility if he's not going to play much. I'm intrigued by the incoming freshmen, especially Michael Starts out of Waco.

1
0

All about the push

Last year I watched, repeatedly, how the DL just stood up right when the ball was snapped. No push at all. I don't want to put all the blame on our old DC but it was pretty apparent to me little teaching was actually happening. Watching this D change has been a nice change. I think with the 4-3 will cover up some holes and with Art as coach we will see some intimidate improvements. We won't be a top 25 D, maybe back to the bend but don't break under Ruff. Here's to hoping they exceed my predictions!

0
0

It Really Doesn't Matter Much

The defense may improve some, but unless we take care of the injuries (via proper conditioning), and get back to making first downs and touch downs, we will continue to lose and by large margins like last year. The idea is to score more points than the other team. Can't do that with a horrible (that's right, I said "horrible") offense and an inept play caller (N. Brown). There, it's out and I'm not sorry.

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