Starts moves to tackle
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said during Big 12 media days late last month that heralded recruit Michael Starts would start fall camp at defensive end.
That lasted two days.
On Wednesday, the 6-foot-4, 303-pound freshman from Waco La Vega was moved to defensive tackle.
“He’s so big,” Tuberville said. “He’s got a lot of punch. With Anthony Smith, ‘Crash,’ over on the sideline (after suffering a sprained ankle in a scooter accident) not doing anything, we had to move (Starts) inside. That’s where he’ll be.
“Heck, he’s 300-and-something pounds. He’s not quick enough off the corner at that size to make a difference. But we need more help inside, and I think he’ll give us some help inside.”
Defensive line coach Fred Tate said he has been impressed by Starts’ strength through the first three days of camp, while also acknowledging the young player still has a lot to learn.
“Mike’s a big powerful guy,” Tate said. “He probably played defensive end in high school, but his body and his weight won’t allow him to do that. We need fast, edge rushers on the outside. He’s a powerful inside guy. He’s real raw. We’ve got to keep working on his fundamentals, and we’ll see where he goes.”
Tuberville has indicated that he’d prefer to redshirt Starts this season, but depending on the depth at tackle entering the season, he might be pushed into action.
“Eighteen-year-old freshmen ought to be standing on the sidelines drinking water during a game, wondering where their helmet’s at,” Tuberville said. “But we’re going to have to call him to battle. I like his spunk. He jumped in and went after some of the offensive linemen today. He went by brute strength, not a lot of technique, and that’s what we’ve got to work on.”
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville wasn’t thrilled with his team’s energy level during practice Wednesday, its first in shoulder pads.
“Disappointed in the intensity,” he said. “We got in a tempo the first couple of days, and then today we got in a routine, got to feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit, which is normal, but it ain’t normal for a team that got its butt whipped last year. If we’re going to win some games, we’re going to have to coach and practice like a team that’s going to win every game.”
Tech did more 11-on-11 team work than it had the first two days of camp, and the running game was the focus. Senior Eric Stephens received the bulk of the first-team carries and continues to look strong as he rehabs from major knee surgery.
The two best running plays, though, came on reverses by redshirt freshmen inside receivers Jakeem Grant and Javares McRoy, with each breaking off big gains after taking handoffs.
Despite those highlights, Tuberville lamented the team’s performance Wednesday, but he was also confident the Red Raiders won’t have two off days in row.
“We’ll have a better practice (Thursday),” he said. “... The effort was good. It’s just that when you have 105 guys out here, you’ve got to have 105 going and you’ve got to have 105 giving great effort, not average effort with half and great with the other half.”
Several players were held out of practice with flu-like symptoms, Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said.
Offensive linemen LaAdrian Waddle and Deveric Gallington and wide receiver Bradley Marquez were among the players not present for the third day of camp.
“That happens,” Tuberville said. “As I told the offensive line, ‘Hey, when you get somebody hurt, you’ve got to be ready to go in there and play, and play like the guy in front of you.”
Freshman signee La’Darius Newbold, projected as a CB when he signed, is working at S. ... SE Marcus Kennard made one of the day’s best catches, snagging a 35-yard touchdown pass from Michael Brewer in the team period. Kennard made the catch over CB Derrick Mays. ... CB Bruce Jones intercepted Brewer in the team period. ... CB Jeremy Reynolds had an impressive breakup, blanketing freshman WR Reginald Davis on a deep ball and reaching in to knock away the pass from QB Brant Costilla. ... FL Darrin Moore and CB Cornelius Douglas have started August workouts the same way they ended spring practice — facing off in spirited head-to-head battles and taking turns getting the better of each other. ... In 7-on-7, QB Seth Doege hit a deep pass to SE Eric Ward on one play, but CB Happiness Osunde broke it up when Doege tried to come back with another deep throw for Ward.
Compiled by Nick Kosmider and Don Williams