Texas Tech Football Scratch Pad | The Secondary Shaping Up

We may have a starting lineup.

Yesterday, safeties coach Kerry Cooks, safety Thomas Leggett, and receiver KeSean Carter all were made available to the media and I’m going to be real honest, Coach Cooks talked incredibly fast and so today wasn’t my best non-transcript day. But I’m running out of time and I’ll do better next time.

Safeties coach Kerry Cooks:

  • As a football player, you get used to it. Right now, we’re not harping on the heat, it is about being mentally strong.
  • The good thing for us, is we had spring to go through and talk about leadership about who we could count on, those veterans that left, showed those good qualities so it is next man up and next man in, and the leadership is there.
  • For a guy that hasn’t played a lot, Doug Coleman has done an excellent job of being first in line, communicating the calls, being first in meetings, showing those guys that haven’t been here how to do it.
  • I think we’ve added a good crop of freshmen, they are not used are not used to speed of the game, how to make checks, and calls within calls. We tell them day 2 should be better than day 1 and as long as they are making progress.
  • [Players that are versatile] That’s critical, for the secondary and the conference, guys that can play cover safety or kick down to corner or boundary, the more versatile, the better you can be.
  • I think size is important, the misconception is that they throw 100 and run it once, you want bigger bodied guys that have to be ready to fit the run.
  • Every offense is almost like an up-tempo offense so I’m used to it.
  • The thing about Frye is that he has exceptional corner skills, but don’t consider how smart he is, he picked up safety quickly, he’s not a small corner, he’ a legit 6-foot and 190 kid, he’s ideal as to what we look for.
  • [On getting fired at Oklahoma] In this business, I’ve been doing this for 19 years, that’s what you sign up for, you have to go in with expectations of good things happening. The change mid-season there was going to be some more changes to come, you just keep moving forward, I wanted to stay close to home and I went to Irving Nimitz. I’ve known coach Wells and Coach Patterson, I’ve known Keith for a long time, I recruited against the Wells brothers while I was at Minnesota.
  • I don’t think it hurts your pride, you are taught in football that you’re going to get knocked down, that is the mentality and if you don’t have thick skin you’re not going to make it.
  • The great players are never satisfied, the great ones are always looking for a way to get better.
  • [If he knew any Texas Tech players while in high school at Nimitz] I knew Byron Miles, the fullback, the quarterback, Kevin McCullar came through here.
  • [Something about Kevin Sumlin] When I first got the job, he called me.
  • I think the challenge is not just understanding the pace of practice, they have a whole new staff and understanding expectations, the adaptation has been great, the more that they see, the better and more comfortable they get.

Safety Thomas Leggett:

  • I think I come hard every day, Doug Frye, Adam Beck, going out and having that edge pushes me to be my best and be better every day.
  • The walk-on freshman, Xavier White, he got me a couple of times, most of these other guys I’ve played against as during the spring.
  • I think he is a versatile guy, he’s always had an edge to him, when he gets out here, he’s serious.
  • The heat it doesn’t matter, we get hyped before we come out, we just compete during the day.
  • The pace, they go real fast, it is a bit unrealistic, and will help us with conditioning, getting set, it does take time.
  • We’ve always had a bunch of guys in the back-end, but we still have guys like Doug, Frye, and myself on special teams, I think the experience helps a lot.
  • I put on 20, I definitely feel better, just coming out and playing moving around hasn’t been a problem, just putting on the strength has helped me and I think I’m faster.
  • [Re. Coach Scholz] He’s going to tell us every reason why, it helps and motivates us more, there is a reason behind it.
  • Every room had 20 pounds on each person, the team is starting to mold into the team.
  • We have a bunch of young guys, our secondary is cohesive, be a brotherhood, that togetherness, we’ve been playing together for a long time.
  • [On walk-on guys getting a chance] My thing is that a rep is a rep, I’m still getting my work in, guys like that just put on during practice, those guys are athletes too, have to take each rep one and a time.
  • We work out together, corner, safety, spur, we all work out and do the drills, it helps us know every position, when we draw stuff up, regardless as to what position it is, we want to know it.
  • We know what we should be running, being on the same page helps.

Receiver KeSean Carter:

  • Moving fast, trying to get the schemes in and reps, me and T.J., making sure we get the script down.
  • It is fast, coach wants us to play fast, we’re only out here for an hour 50, so you have to move fast.
  • It is the tempo now, as soon as you get the play, you get lined up quick, then get the next play.
  • Learning the new plays and getting the steps down and making sure everyone knows what they are doing.
  • I’m learning a lot from T.J., he’s teaching me a the ropes, how to get off the releases.
  • Physical, how to be more physical on the line, how to get off the press really quick.
  • You have to drink a lot of water, when teams come, we’ll be ready and adjusted to the heat.
  • So many reads for the quarterback, they can make adjustments, everybody is doing something.
  • They told me during the spring they were going to move me outside, they told me they were looking for a more deep or vertical threat. I moved outside in high school.
  • Des Smith, he’s a physical cornerback, grabbing and scrappy. He’s making me better and I’m making him better.
  • [On how track has helped] The experience has been better, I’ve learned how to be better. False stepping, I’ve learned out to come out of my breaks and be more efficient with my route-running.
  • I was just working to maintain the speed.
  • It is just better now that I can run just be more efficient, I hurt my ankle and hamstring in the spring and I feel like I can be better in the offense now.

News, Notes, and Links.

Don Williams had a series of tweets where he laid out what he thought was possible starters and two-deep. I’m going to compile his thoughts here:

Matt Wells hasn’t signed off on it publicly, but signs are pointing toward converted corners Adrian Frye and Douglas Coleman being Tech’s starting safeties. They lined up there with the 1s today, and safeties coach Kerry Cooks sounded like those were his two main guys. Important to keep this in mind, though: If coaches don’t like what they’re seeing at corner, they know they can snap their fingers and move those guys right back outside because that’s where they’ve played in the past.

Here’s the defense rotation I observed today in the 30 minutes open to media: DE Eli Howard, NT Nick McCann, DT-DE Broderick Washington. LB: Riko Jeffers/Patrick Curley, LB Jordyn Brooks/Brayden Stringer. Hybrid positions (DE-OLB and OLB-S): Xavier Benson and Evan Rambo. With 2s at hybrid positions: True freshmen Tyrique Matthews and Quinton Williams. (Didn’t see Kosi Eldridge, who Matt Wells has said will be in mix right away at LB.) CB: Desmon Smith/Zech McPhearson, S: Adrian Frye/Adam Beck, S Douglas Coleman/Thomas Leggett, CB: John Davis/DaMarcus Fields.

Bears repeating that John Davis has gotten a lot of reps with the 1s ever since spring. Coaches are giving him a lot of evaluation time and good shot to play, regardless how it shakes out.

I think that starting rotation is about what we thought and based off of what we’ve heard about Xavier Benson and his improvement, him possibly starting is not necessarily surprising. The rotation in the secondary is also probably what was expected I think and I hope the Doug Coleman hype is real.

A-J Media’s Don Williams has his notebook from media availability as well as RedRaiderSports’ Brandon Soliz and you should check both of them out.

Video and Photos.


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