Little guys, big ideas
During Texas Tech’s first week of preseason practice, the Red Raiders have worked on a variety of ways to get the ball to their small, quick receivers — especially slot receivers such as Jakeem Grant and Javares McRoy and flanker Javon Bell. Every day, the offense mixes in sweep handoffs, reverses, short flip passes to receivers motioning through the backfield and so on.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said he’d like to run seven to 10 such plays per game.
“My gosh, we looked fast out there today,” Tuberville said after Thursday’s workout. “I would hope everybody saw how much quicker we looked from that position, all the inside receivers. We’re going to have a lot of options, knock on wood, and we’ll be able to do a lot of things with the offense.”
The 5-foot-6, 163-pound Grant and the 5-8, 167-pound McRoy both redshirted last year — McRoy’s being a forced sit-out after he transferred from Florida — so there were fewer options for receiver sweeps and end-arounds. Bell (6-0, 180) also is new, coming from a Mississippi community college.
Tuberville called Bell “the fastest guy out here.”
So the Red Raiders want to be creative with their new weapons.
“We did a little last year,” Tuberville said, “but we weren’t very good at it, because when we put one guy in, everybody kind of knew what was going on. Now you’ve got guys that are going to be in the regular rotation, so you can’t tell when we’re going to run something like that.”
During Thursday’s 11-on-11 team period, the offense used a flea-flicker to get a touchdown pass to flanker Darrin Moore.
Tuberville said that was the sort of thing that drove him nuts during his days as a defensive coordinator.
“I hated people to do things that weren’t structured, that looked like they were trying to trick you,” he said. “What they’re trying to do is just trying to make you think a little bit and open up gaps in the defense.
“We’ve got to find ways to use the little guys that can really run, but they want to play. They’re physical. They’re not guys that shy away from contact. We’ll be a little bit different in terms of what we do with those speed guys.”
Picking up pace
Today is the first day the Red Raiders can go full pads, the fifth workout being the first time it’s allowed by NCAA rules.
Then the Red Raiders will have their first preseason scrimmage at 5 p.m. Saturday. The scrimmage, like the rest of the team’s workouts, is closed to the public.
The Red Raiders have been in shoulder pads the last two days, and Tuberville said they probably won’t hit much today because he prefers not to have physical practices on consecutive days.
Asked who among his linemen without starting experience had caught his eye this week, OL coach Chris Thomsen singled out Alfredo Morales, Tony Morales, Le’Raven Clark — three members of the 2011 class — and sophomore Beau Carpenter. ... Tech coaches like new DE Pete Roberton’s long-range potential as a pass rusher, but OT LaAdrian Waddle had no trouble with Robertson in one-on-one drills. Waddle took Robertson to the ground the first time they squared off. The second time through, Waddle took him down and pinned him. ... Redshirt freshman Justin Cooper came out of spring as the No. 2 WLB, but he’s been practicing at MLB this week. Cooper broke up a Michael Brewer pass over the middle during the early team period. ... Also in early team, CB Bruce Jones, giving up 9 inches in height to FL Darrin Moore, still leaped and made an impressive breakup of a pass for Moore. ... One of the top camp battles in the first week has been for the No. 2 SE job, with Derreck Edwards and Marcus Kennard both making eye-catching plays. During the practice-ending team scrimmage, Kennard ran a deep sideline route and went up over CB Eugene Neboh to reel in a 30-yard reception. ... QB Michael Brewer hit FL Javon Bell with a 40-yard TD pass. CB Bruce Jones passed off Bell in coverage, and Bell caught the ball before S J.J. Gaines could get over.
Compiled by Don Williams