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Tech football notebook: Texas A&M transfer leaving Tech football program

Thomas, Johnson leave team

Posted: August 13, 2012 - 11:10pm  |  Updated: August 14, 2012 - 12:17am
Texas Tech backup quarterback Michael Brewer has much work to do to close the gap between him and starter Seth Doege, but head coach Tommy Tuberville said he's making progress.  Zach Long
Zach Long
Texas Tech backup quarterback Michael Brewer has much work to do to close the gap between him and starter Seth Doege, but head coach Tommy Tuberville said he's making progress.
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Thomas, Johnson leave team

Offensive lineman Brian Thomas has left the Texas Tech team, a spokesman confirmed Monday, a disappointing development for the Red Raiders considering Thomas was a two-year starter at Texas A&M before coming to Tech.

Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 319-pound guard, had issues with conditioning and acid reflux, Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said after the first few practices last week. He missed Friday’s practice and Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage.

“He’s got too many physical issues,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said after Monday’s practice. “He was second team and went down to third team. Physically, he couldn’t make it through a complete practice.”

Thomas, who has a year of eligibility left, earned a bachelor’s degree at A&M and transferred to Tech for graduate school. It looked like a godsend for the Red Raiders: a team with little offensive line depth getting a player who had started 25 games at another Big 12 program.

Thomas began last week backing up left guard behind Beau Carpenter, a sophomore getting his first chance to be a full-time starter.

Tuberville also said Monday that sophomore safety Urell Johnson has left the team to transfer to Southern Mississippi, which is near his hometown New Orleans.

Johnson, a 2010 signee, made no push to play for the Red Raiders. Aside from the starters, he was behind younger safeties Austin Stewart and J.J. Gaines on the depth chart.

“He wanted to try it and see where he was going to be going into the first week,” Tuberville said. “He just didn’t make a move up. He wanted to get close back to his mom back home, and so we gave him a release to go to Southern Miss.”

Kennard keeps it up

Marcus Kennard keeps putting together one good workout after another, helping his case to back up split end Eric Ward.

The 6-foot-3, 203-pound senior had already made a couple of tough catches in tight coverage Monday when he came up with another that had coaches and teammates oohing, aahing and complimenting him for several minutes afterward. Kennard ran a route about 25 yards down the left sideline, then made a turning, twisting catch when the pass went behind him.

He’s battling redshirt freshman Derreck Edwards for playing time.

Two-back look

Several times in Monday’s workout, running backs SaDale Foster and DeAndre Washington were paired together in a two-back formation. That’s in addition to the usual two-back sets that feature fullback Omar Ontiveros.

Third-year offensive coordinator Neal Brown said Saturday the Red Raiders have been using two-back looks quite a bit more than at any time in his first two years.

Brown said that could extend into the season, because Ontiveros has become more well rounded. The 6-1, 236-pound junior from Austin Westlake has been an effective run blocker in the past, but Brown said he’s improved at pass protection and catching the ball since the end of last season.

Still a gap

During Saturday’s scrimmage, Tech coaches devoted a lot more snaps to second- and third-team players than starters, which meant backup quarterback Michael Brewer got a lot more work than Seth Doege. Brewer threw four touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions in the red zone.

Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said he’s happy with Brewer’s progress, but there’s a gap between the senior who is No. 1 and the redshirt freshman who’s No. 2.

“He’s making good decisions, making good throws,” Tuberville said of Brewer. “He’s just not near as polished as Seth in a lot of things: running our NASCAR (no-huddle offense), running our play-action stuff, fakes.

“But he’s coming on. He made a lot of progress in the spring, and I think he’s going to have a chance to play some this fall. we’ll have some different things for him to do, too, that Seth won’t do.”

In brief

DT Anthony Smith probably will redshirt if he’s not able to practice by the middle of next week, head coach Tommy Tuberville said. The 5-10, 312-pound freshman from Spring Westfield has been out with a high ankle sprain he suffered in a scooter accident. ... Tech has 13 scholarship offensive linemen, and only eight practiced Monday. The key absences included starting OGs Beau Carpenter and Le’Raven Clark. Starting OT Terry McDaniel returned on a non-contact basis. All three have concussions, Tuberville said. ... Starting safeties D.J. Johnson and Cody Davis had good scrimmages Saturday. “Our first-team safeties probably played as good as what we’ve played the last three years in terms of assignment and technique,” Tuberville said.

Compiled by Don Williams

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Chaos

They walk away, they get hurt, they're not in shape, they get arrested, they don't make their grades. In the past we recruited a certain type player to fit our style and our program. They stayed. They learned. We won. This regime will never be forgotten. And you folks are painfully aware of the reason.

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Amazing

We are the only football program in the country that has these problems.

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Actually

To hear some tell it, Nashville, we were the only team last year in the country with these problems(injuries, attrition, and other rotten luck) thus the collapse at the end of the year (5-7). So I agree with you, every program has these things happen. At what point do you apply that line of reasoning to last years disaster? Just curious.

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@coyote

Last years injuries was probably one of the worst in the country. Couple that with the lack of depth and you end up with a disaster. This year our depth is much better, but probably not good enough to have that many injuries as last year. Hopefully the injuries that we sustain this year will be overcome by the depth. That being said, I don't think injuries leading to another losing season would keep Tubs from being fired. So I guess all the Tubby haters can pray for injuries, because that is the only thing that will keep this team from being successful.

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Nashville & Coyote

The truth is you're both right. Injuries impact every program, as does attrition. But, as NR says, the sheer number of injuries we suffered last year was is far from the norm. As I recall, we had 20+ players undergo surgery due to injuries suffered during the regular season---15 of which required season-ending surgery. You can point to any team in the nation and say "everyone deals with injuries", but last year was an anomoly in that regard for Tech. The combination of injuries + a lack of EXPERIENCED depth (especially on the defensive side of the ball), was a recipe for disaster. This year should be better with a healthy roster and a year's worth of experience.

At the very least, Tuberville finally has a roster stocked well enough to show whether he has anything left in the coaching tank or not. If we stay healthy, and we don't see improvement, people are going to see "attrition" in a lot of fans' patience.

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True

Hey, Im willing to go all in on the man this year up to the point you suggested, Elby and honestly I think given the circumstances of the last few years, all Tech fans would literally go nuts to see us all swimming in the same direction at the end of this season. This is a prime opportunity for Tubs to prove his detractors wrong. Contrary wise if the team tanks ie 6-6 or worse with that talent, regardless of the reason, will cause a total implosion of the fan base. No one, even the staunchest Leacher or Hancer (words I would like to see disappear from our collective vocabularies) wants to see that. We all want to see a return to the atmosphere that existed a few short years ago regardless of who the coach is. I think we all agree that this is a make or break year for the coaches, players, fan base, even the administration whos credibility is being highly scrutinized and could be validated with a fantastic season. If we can go all in to support this coaching staff one more year, we can also go all in on its dismantling if the unthinkable repeat of last season and the harshest public ridicule of the leadership who, right or wrong, led us to this point.

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