Tech brings energy Day One
Texas Tech welcomed the heat during the first day of fall practice Monday, because it meant the Red Raiders are one step closer to a new season and a chance to erase the memories of 2011’s disappointing 5-7 finish.
Coach Tommy Tuberville said he has seen a tangible difference in how his team is readying itself for the season, adding the squad feels a “sense of urgency.”
“We’ve had guys step up and talk about last year and how disappointed they were,” he said. “We had a chance. We weren’t a bad football team at certain points in the year. We just weren’t able to get it done.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are seniors who want to finish this thing up strong and do it the right way. You can tell that being picked ninth (in the Big 12 media’s preseason poll) is settling in with them a little bit, and it’s much better in terms of everybody pulling for each other.”
Tuberville said he liked the energy during an opening practice that lasted almost 2 1/2 hours. Several fans passing by the practice field in cars added to the opening-day environment with shouts of encouragement.
Other than that, the mood was all business as Tech got to work in preparation for the start of the season on Sept. 1.
“It’s good to be back out here,” defensive backs coach John Lovett said. “It’s good to have all these kids out here running around and getting back with it, and we can get our hands on them and start working with them again.”
The Texas Tech football team added a last-minute addition to its roster just in time for the start of fall camp Monday.
Cornerback Brandon Bagley, a transfer from the College of Sequoias (Calif.), rode a Greyhound bus all the way from California and arrived in Lubbock about 2 a.m. Monday.
Bagley was recruited by defensive backs coach John Lovett, who originally believed that Bagley, like the majority of junior-college players, would have to graduate from his juco before he could transfer.
During the recruitment, though, it came to light that Bagley was eligible to transfer immediately because he was academically eligible out of high school.
“I found out from (Bagley) before I found out from his coach,” Lovett said, “that he was a qualifier out of high school, and he’d be eligible to come in (this season). We kind of sat there and tried to figure out how to make that work.”
Bagley, listed as a 5-foot-10, 155-pound defensive back on Tech’s roster, originally committed to Washington State, but a late push by Lovett and his staff convinced Bagley to play for the Red Raiders instead.
He arrived on the South Plains just in time for Monday’s practice and made an immediate impression.
“He’s a guy that just got here yesterday on a bus,” Lovett said. “How many people do you know that are going to get on a Greyhound from California to out here? That’s a different kind of kid.
“He’s thrilled to death to be here. He’s excited to be here. He’s a really good competitor, a good kid and a good worker. I’m thrilled that he’s here.”
Bagley will have four years to play three seasons, and Lovett said “he will contribute this year.”
“We’re very fortunate to get him,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “It’s one of those situations where it kind of worked out in the end. We haven’t had that luck the last few years. It’s good to have something fall our way right before the season starts.”
Two of Bagley’s teammates at College of Sequoias, defensive backs Darren Doston and Stormy Butler, have committed to Tech as part of the 2013 class.
Frosh hurt in scooter mishap
One noticeable absence from Texas Tech’s first day of fall practice Monday was freshman defensive tackle Anthony Smith.
Smith, the 5-foot-10, 312-pound lineman out of Spring Westfield, sprained his left ankle in a scooter accident, Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said.
Tuberville said Smith will for sidelined for “a few weeks.”
“A 320-pounder on a scooter, that’s not a pretty sight,” Tuberville said. “You won’t see that anymore.”
Smith rode an exercise bike during practice Monday with a protective walking boot on the injured ankle.
Corker to miss time
Texas Tech sophomore wide receiver Shawn Corker will likely miss all of the team’s non-conference schedule after suffering a fracture to a bone on the outside of his foot last week.
Corker first announced the injury, which occurred when the foot was stepped on in a dorm room, on his Twitter page. Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Corker should be available by the team’s open date, which is Sept. 22, one week before its Big 12 Conference opener against Iowa State.
Tuberville said Corker had surgery on the foot “a few days ago.”
“You hate that because the coaches, the strength guys, said he just had a great offseason,” Tuberville said. “Luckily, if you’re going to do that, get it early and get it done and get back.”
Corker played in nine games last season and had two receptions for 15 yards.
Just because fall practice has started doesn’t mean Texas Tech is done with its summer conditioning.
Coach Tommy Tuberville’s staff has added a wrinkle to practice with exercises designed to ready players for the fourth quarter of games.
Players alternated several stations — including ladder drills, rope pulls, etc — with brief, high-intensity workouts aimed at improving strength and stamina.
“We’ve had great summer workouts, we’re in good shape, but we don’t want to lose that in the next 25 days,” Tuberville said. “We’ll shut it down 20 days from now, but we’ll do a fourth-quarter drill every day after practice. Five minutes, split up with five offensive guys, five defensive guys that will work together and push each other. It will be pretty grueling, but we don’t just want to come out and run. We want to work upper body, too.”
Compiled by Nick Kosmider