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Tech football notes: Concussions taken seriously

Concussions taken seriously

Posted: August 7, 2012 - 11:13pm  |  Updated: August 8, 2012 - 12:44am
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Texas Tech's Terrance Bullitt goes through a drill on Tuesday.  Stephen Spillman
Stephen Spillman
Texas Tech's Terrance Bullitt goes through a drill on Tuesday.
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Concussions taken seriously

Some of Texas Tech’s key players with concussion histories are going to be participating in preseason practice on a non-contact basis only. Nickel back Tre Porter and inside receiver Austin Zouzalik, both of whom suffered concussions late last season, are in red jerseys — meaning no contact. So is split end Eric Ward, who had a concussion last year during August workouts.

Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said they won’t hit until the first game.

“Kind of like we did in the spring,” Tuberville said. “They’ll wrap up, but they won’t have any head contact. Players know not to block them if they’re on defense. If they’re receivers, to kind of lay off of them.

“Those guys are just a step away from ending their careers if they’ve had concussions. So we keep an eye on them.”

Scooters: Bad luck, no ban

Tech coach Tommy Tuberville says he doesn’t plan to be heavy handed with scooter usage in the wake of having two players involved in accidents while riding scooters this summer. Backup safety Austin Stewart ran into a bus on campus in late April, and freshman defensive tackle Anthony Smith suffered an ankle injury while riding a scooter on the eve of practice starting.

Tuberville acknowledged the bad luck, but said he had no plans to ban scooters when asked about it Tuesday.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of problems,” Tuberville said. “We talk to them all the time about it, but it’s just part of it. Everybody in the country’s got them. It seems like we’re the only ones having scooter problems.

“I would think the ones that are on them hopefully would use common sense, and if you’re 320 pounds, you don’t get on a scooter. You get in a car.”

The latter was a playful reference to Smith, who will miss the first few weeks of practice. The defensive tackle from Spring Westfield is in a protective boot. When Tuesday’s practice ended, he used crutches to join the team at the middle of the field.

Lineman playing catch-up

Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said he has seen impressive spurts from new offensive guard Brian Thomas.

Now the key for the transfer from Texas A&M, who has one remaining season of eligibility, is to stay on the field.

Asked how far behind Thomas is from a conditioning standpoint compared to his fellow linemen, Brown didn’t hesitate.

“A lot,” Brown said. “ ... He’s not anywhere close to where he needs to be.”

Thomas joined the Tech program in the summer after he graduated from A&M, where he was a two-year starter. The Pearland product doesn’t have to sit out a year, by NCAA rules, because he earned a degree at one school and enrolled in a graduate program not offered by his original school.

In addition to learning a new offense, the 6-foot-3, 319-pound guard is also battling a flare-up of acid reflex, Brown said.

Still, Brown believes Thomas can make an impact once his fitness is where it needs to be.

“When he practiced (Monday) he looked as good as anybody, maybe minus (LaAdrian) Waddle, on several plays,” Brown said. “Then there are sometimes, after he goes several reps, there’s a significant difference.”

Positive signs

Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said last week he would have a better idea after a week or two of practice to what extent his players coming off major knee injuries can help this year.

So far, he likes what he sees from running backs Eric Stephens and DeAndre Washington and receiver Alex Torres, all of whom are practicing for the first time since suffering season-ending knee injuries in 2011.

“I can’t tell a whole lot of difference, to be honest with you,” Brown said after Tuesday’s workout. “I thought Eric and Torres were really good (Monday), and I didn’t notice them falling off today. I thought DeAndre was significantly better today than he was day one.”

Stephens and Washington were the team’s top two rushers in 2011. Torres has averaged 52 catches for more than 600 yards a season in his first three years.

Brown said each player’s recovery will depend to a certain extent on mentality.

“A lot of it has to do with Eric and Alex are older. They trust their body more,” Brown said. “DeAndre’s still young. It’s the first time he’s ever really been injured in his life. That’s a little bit different challenge for him.”

Bright day for backups

During the 11-on-11 team period, split end Derreck Edwards made a leaping catch down the left sideline over cornerback Olaoluwa Falemi, and freshman running back Quinton White broke a big gain.

Backup quarterback Michael Brewer, who wasn’t accurate during Monday’s team period, was much better Tuesday. He completed the deep throw to Edwards, then connected with flanker Bradley Marquez and inside receiver Tyson Williams.

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown referred to the plays Edwards, White and Brewer made when asked about the depth.

“I thought our twos (second-team players) in team, our skill twos, were significantly better than our ones,” Brown said.

In brief

Tech players can practice in shoulder pads today for the first time. The first two practices are in helmets, shorts and jerseys only, according to NCAA rules. ... DE Branden Jackson made one of the most eye-catching plays of the day from the defensive unit. Jackson intercepted a Seth Doege pass during the 11-on-11 team period. ... Several defensive players made plays during the 7-on-7 period. S Cody Davis and CB Happiness Osunde intercepted passes, Osunde by getting underneath SE Eric Ward on a deep throw. S D.J. Johnson made a good break on a pass over the middle to bat the ball down. ... SE Marcus Kennard had one of the day’s best catches, snagging a 40-yard throw in the end zone from Doege in 7-on-7. ... Tuberville said the team will have a scrimmage on Saturday. ... Asked which receiver had improved the most since spring, WR coach Tommy Mainord named Javon Bell. The juco transfer is the third FL behind Darrin Moore and Bradley Marquez. Mainord said Bell had a difficult spring in his first semester with the program. “He’s kind of caught up with things,” Mainord said. “He’s kind of where we hoped he’d be the first two days.” Bell has changed uniform numbers, from No. 82 to No. 1.

Compiled by Don Williams and Nick Kosmider

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What about before?

Was Tech not taking the concussions seriously before this Fall?

As for Ward and Torres, just a good idea to keep them healthy. Our receiving fundamentals will steadily regress, as applied to the air raid remnant still with us, so gotta enjoy those who know the difference while we still can.

All if this like your favorite restaurant or singer. Some silent partner or promoter comes to a successful, clean and exciting enterprise, then fiddles with the menu just enough that things aren't right. What gave the simplest dishes their pizazz and kick, like better beans and better taters, now are just mediocre waiting on a few flecks of luck and taste every so often as cooks pass through from time to time. Or, once that singer gets to the big time, or very close, the fans only slowly realize after the fact that their singer added orchestras and sounds that had taken the singer away from what humbly got them to stardom (Garth Brooks, also retiring).


Concussions at Texas Tech

Once upon a time a player at Tech alleged he had a concussion. The head coach, in an effort to be certain the player did not aggravate the alleged injury, directed a member of the training staff to place the player in a first class media room with the lights dimmed for the protection of the player.

Now, you're not going to believe this, but the eventual reaction of the Chancellor of Texas Tech and his inner circle was to demand that the coach sign a confession pertaining to mistreatment of the player in the instance described above.

When the coach refused to admit in writing to something he did not do, the Chancellor and his inner circle decided to cite "insubordination" and employ said alleged act to fire the coach, disallow the period of remedy described in "The Handbook of Texas Tech," cheat the coach out of $2,000,000 in pay for the season completed, cheat the coach out of an earned $800,000 bonus, and cheat the coach out of $1,600,000 in separation pay described in an employment contract that was ten months old.

If I'm lying I'm dying.

That's the last thing I've heard about "concussions" at Texas Tech.

Go Tech.


Hey Facts

You are not dying.


News Flash

The title of this article indicates that taking concussions seriously is new at Texas Tech. I seriously doubt that this is the case, but it does seem to be another example of the way that the media insidiously attempts to change or influence public opinion through its rhetoric. In fact, there is NOTHING new about TT football taking concussions seriously or other injuries. It is "journalism" such as this that continues to give credence that the AJ is merely an attenuated mouthpiece for the Tech administration.



When's the funeral? Where do I send the flowers?



The funeral will be at the end of the season, but it won't be facts in the box



Mitt Romney for president 2012.


Facts, you're not lying

Of course, you're not telling the entire truth either. Like the majority of Leachanistas, you limit your recollection to the 2nd day in question, when Adam James admittedly manufactured the cell phone video of the "closet". Adam James most certainly fabricated the "electrical closet" portion of his allegation. Like I said, that part of your story is indeed true.

What you and so many of your brethren conveniently omit is any mention of the first day of James' "confinement". That's the day that Coach Leach instructed the trainer (Steve Pincock) to place James in a place "so dark that the only way he knows he's got a **** is to reach down and touch it". James was then placed not in a first-class media room, but in the empty equipment shed, with no place to sit or lie down. Notice he didn't say to place him in a room with the lights "dimmed". He said "dark". That statement alone tells people all they need to know---Leach wasn't concerned about the player's safety. This was a punishment, and an inappropriate one at that. Leach's "treatment" was deemed "medically inappropriate" by at least one medical authority in the area of concussions.

Leach could have suspended James...he could have left him off the bowl game travelling squad...or he could have had the balls to completely kick him off the team. Instead, he chose to take James' act as a personal affront, so he did the "mature" thing and tried to humiliate him.

He contributed to his own demise as much as Adam James did.


Great job AJ

Thanks for the devisive article. Keep hate alive guys. Why Tubberville would even comment on these things is beyond me. I remember a visibly concussed Terrence Bullitt being put back into the Missouri game last yr. AJ and Tech need to stay away from articles like this. Let's focus on the future.


Credible Journalism

This is pandering... legitimate journalism would not touch


Unique Elby

Obviously Elby was a first hand witness to the goings on of that first day. Tell us more, Elby. This wouldnt be the same Steve Pincock that was still employed by Texas Tech that changed his story from the one he told the Dallas Morning News to the one he told during the deposition, would it? Leachanistas? Thats pretty good. Realists, would be more accurate, though. I guess your version of the story makes you a, lets see, Hancerella? Aint that clever. So underhandedness by TTU had absolutely nothing to do with the firing. It was all played above board. Those e-mails were all a part of a larger scheme dreamed up by the all powerful, handful of dregs, known as team Leach. Its funny how you Hancers give those nut jobs all the credit for all these terrible things they have done to thwart Hance and Tuberville, then in the same breath say how insignificant they are. And youre one of the worst, Elby. Youre BS about appreciating what the former coach did "but he got himself fired" is also only a half truth. He did get himself fired by not bowing and kissing the chancellor between the back pockets. If the chancellors ego is worth more than the embarassment that was the 2011 season, then maybe youre right. But youre hard line in the Hance camp. Are you a member of some super secret organization with an "underground website" like team Leach has? Elby, you can look at reality, back the Red Raiders, support Tuberville, and see what happened Dec. 2009 as a horrible scar on our reputation as a university of integrity. At this point Im sure youre formulating your glib reply, with all the Hanceisms, and spin weve been hearing out of media relations and their mouthpiece sports radio station, who was praising Leach as the second coming at the first of December 2009 and one short year later, actually accusing him of recruiting badly on purpose while shopping for other jobs, all without proof...again. Have a good weekend, Elby. The world has to have people that are wrong, too.


No, Coyote

Nothing "glib", just matter of fact.

I have no recollection of what Steve Pincock told the DMN, so I'll just stick with what is in the sworn depositions. Hell, even Leach's attorney (Ted Liggett) confirmed that James had been placed in a shed in an interview on KCBD TV---you can find the video on Youtube---on location from the shed itself! If you choose to believe that it didn't happen in spite of that, that's your prerogative.

In the meantime, I'll stick with the last statement of my original post, with a slight alteration.

Mike Leach contributed to his own demise as much as anyone else did.


The shed

Lets remember the shed was used by players during breaks. Its not like the shed where the guy from "Slingblade" had to live as a child. Im with you on one thing, Elby. Regardless of the right and wrong of things and whos a better coach, whats important is this season. Bottom line is even if Leach got screwed by a corporate minded douchebag with a horribly misguided sense of self importance, if the current coach had come in here and at least maintained the status quo, this entire thing, would probably be a non issue. With most Tech fans I know and work with, hell all of them loved Leach and the Tech atmosphere during his tenure. But they think the whole thing was handled very poorly (railroading the winningest coach, as evidenced by e-mails), and TTU seemingly in bed with Craig James, perhaps one of the most hated sports figures in Texas history. IRREGARDLESS, nobody will give a crap if Tech starts winning. You know it and I know it, it has to be this year. Period. Another year of "wait til he gets his guys in here" and "poor us, were injured", and half empty stadiums, 60 point losses, losing to the likes of Iowa State at home, no bowl games, etc. will pretty much completely alienate an already sceptical fan base and make a certain administrator look like the arrogant old fool people believe him to be anyway. Im hoping Tubervilles 2012 team makes us forget about Leach at least for a while.

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