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Bethel's absence could affect Red Raiders' depth at secondary

The Red Raiders can be optimistic about their young secondary.

Posted: July 5, 2014 - 10:33pm  |  Updated: July 6, 2014 - 12:22am
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Texas Tech's J.J. Gaines will be in the mix at safety for the Red Raiders. (Stephen Spillman)
Texas Tech's J.J. Gaines will be in the mix at safety for the Red Raiders. (Stephen Spillman)
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Nigel Bethel II had the talent to push for a starting job in Texas Tech’s inexperienced secondary.

He was the four-star gem of the 2014 recruiting class.

But, his stay was short in Lubbock after he was dismissed from the team less than 24 hours after hitting Lady Raider basketball star Amber Battle — who was suspended for the month of November on Friday — at the student recreation center June 28.

Texas Tech Athletics said in a news release that it “has a zero tolerance policy on this type of behavior.”

So Bethel, a 5-foot, 9-inch cornerback from Miami, is gone, and the Red Raiders have to look at other options in its defensive backfield.

Still, the Red Raiders can be optimistic about their young secondary.

When the depth chart was released after spring practice, the secondary was manned by four sophomores — Justis Nelson, J.J. Gaines, Keenon Ward and La’Darius Newbold. Senior Dorian Crawford, sophomores Dee Paul and Thierry Nguema and redshirt freshman Jalen Barnes were listed as the backups. Ward and Gaines are probably set to start at strong and free safety, respectively.

Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt has said Gaines, who was performing at a high level last fall before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury five games into the year, will be hard to unseat. And Ward proved to coaches in spring practice that he’s able to lay out hits to go along with his speed.

But nailing down the identity of the cornerback opposite sophomore Justis Nelson was one of the major pre-spring objectives, and that is where Bethel figured to try to make an impact.

Newbold enters the fall as a first-teamer. But, like every other spot on the team, that could change in August. Dee Paul may be the most likely candidate to win the job if Newbold doesn’t lock it down. Newbold had his ups and downs this spring, and while Paul is one of the best athletes in the secondary, you can expect to see him on the field in some capacity.

Nguema is considered a frontrunner for the nickel position.

But where the Bethel dilemma could affect Tech the most is depth.

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You could always

Put Amber Battle in.....she's good at firing opponents up and getting hit.

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Zero tolerance? What a joke

I noticed that TTU dumped Amber's apology on July 4th. How convenient...

She admitted she started the fight. It was obvious anyway, as you don't get a suspension for getting punched in the face. So if there is true "zero tolerance" she too should be dismissed from the program and not just given a suspension for November.

I read a quote on a sports site: TT women's basketball is so bad that they are taking down football with them.

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New Light

If Amber started the fight, I think if I'm Bethel I go get a lawyer.

Otherwise gender equality is just liberal drivel.

Right?

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ESPN

On July 1st a article on ESPN SPORTCENTER the writer said that bethel for any reason should not of hit Battle with force he did and he said any football player that hits women should be dismissed from a team.

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Oh well then!

THAT settles it!

jb and ESPN are in agreement....

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I'm pretty gray on this.

I'm for gender equality, but there is a difference in weight and upper body strength, as well as different levels of interpersonal violence.

Did Battle push or hit Bethel? What I read was that she admitted to "first contact". Please define the first contact made. Isn't pushing a part of basketball these days?

As far as fairness goes, I've been wailed on and/or struck by women a couple of times in my life. I didn't feel the need to punch them out. One broke a bone (hers, not mine), so I figured that was natural consequences.

On the other hand, I've been around women trained in the martial arts, and a confrontation with them would be both unfortunate, and majorly different.

For me, I guess it comes down to; "Did Bethel need to punch Battle out to protect himself from injury or further injury?"

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