I was going to include this in The Morning Stake but figured we might need to stretch our legs on this topic. Yesterday in a post-practice media scrum Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells said that he has suspended cornerback DeMarcus Fields, defensive tackle Joe Wallace, running back Da’Leon Ward, and receiver Corey Fulcher. A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. had about 8 seconds of Wells’ explanation:
Texas Tech coach Matt Wells discusses the status of Corey Fulcher, Joe Wallace, Da’Leon Ward and DaMarcus Fields, who are not practicing with the team. pic.twitter.com/FknBncWbDy
— Carlos Silva Jr. (@cmsilvajr) March 19, 2019
A-J Media’s Don Williams has quotes from the interaction:
“They could be back soon. They could be back in a while or could never be back. We’ll see,” Wells said. “We’ve got to get some things cleaned up off the field and we’ll get it done.”
Asked if the disciplinary action stemmed from the four players being involved in one incident or an accumulation of issues, Wells said the latter was more accurate.
“They’re all unrelated,” he said, “but they’re related in the fact they’re not doing the things we want them to do and they’re not practicing right now.”
If players are not kicked completely off a team and are being suspended, that’s typical because of grades or just not going to class or something like that. I think that Ward and Wallace both had year-long suspensions in 2017 where they dealt with off-the-field issues (I don’t know if I’d call them year-long suspensions, but I think they both sat out an entire year until they got their head right with class). This is total speculation on my part, but I do think it’s an educated guess at this point of my blogging career.
RedRaiderSports’ Jack Densmore has a recap from the media scrum in addition to the news above, and reports that the coaching staff is attempting to cross-train the offensive linemen between multiple positions, apparently, the more versatile, the better you’ll be in the depth chart. Wells also said that all of the tight ends have done well and he also talked about how Wells’ Utah State teams not only try to create turnovers but also try to score off of them:
– On the importance of turnovers, “You’ve got to stop possessions and the ways that you do that are turnovers, three-and-outs, fourth down stops. So, to create turnovers, we teach it, we coach it; rips, strips, interceptions, but we also coach how to score off of it. It just really became a peak for us last year at Utah State. We were second in the country in non-offensive touchdowns and that was not only special teams but defensive touchdowns and some of those were off scoop and scores. So, you’re teaching them the right technique on how to scoop. Coach Patterson and the defensive staff do a tremendous job at teaching that.”
There are also a few comments from offensive lineman Terrance Steele who said that the offense is faster and that Lonzell Gilmore and Broderick Washington have been two standout defensive linemen thus far.
InsideTheRedRaiders’ Jarrett Johnson has additional quotes from Wells, Steele, as well as Lonzell Gilmore, who said he dropped about 20 pounds to around 260 and was also asked about the pace of the offense:
— Gilmore has dropped about 20 pounds from 280 to 260 since last season. He called it “sluggish weight” from eating greasy food.
— “Coach (Dave) Scholz (the strength coach) came in and changed the whole culture. Now we’re eating all this baked chicken and stuff. I mean, I ain’t never eaten healthy in my life like that, but it feels good you know? When I’m on the field I feel like I move faster, don’t get tired as much and I’m at a good weight.”
— When I asked if Tech’s new offense is really that fast of a tempo Gilmore sighed loudly “phew!” I asked him what it’s like going against it as a defensive lineman. “Oh man, that first practice… that’s all I remember. We did about three plays, got a turnover and all of a sudden we off the field. Our second and third-string get off the field, we back on there and the next thing I know… I don’t know if we were out there for three plays or 50 plays, but we was exhausted, man. I have never seen an offense go that fast in my life.”