January 20, 2012

Tuberville talks Feb. plans

Texas Tech football head coach Tommy Tuberville returned from the recruiting trails to Lubbock Friday and attention is quickly shifting from a solidly committed 2012 recruiting class to spring football.

The spring football practice sessions are tentatively set to begin Feb. 17, depending on the weather.

"I'm inclined, and I do this because it gives us some flexibility," Tuberville told Chuck Heinz and Chris Snead on their Lubbock radio show "The Morning Drive" on Double T 104.3 FM. "If we get into Feb. 17 and it's 15 degrees, we have no indoor workout area and we can't waste any days. I can put it off for any day after Feb. 17 and we can start as late as Feb. 24 and still have 30 days to get our 15 days in.

We could start Feb. 17 or even a few days before like last year when it got warm. Without an indoor facility, you've got to plan it and have a lot of luck with the weather."

Red Raider football looks a lot different, and quite frankly less gloomy, than it did in late November.

Tuberville arrived at the Tech football facility Friday to six players with knee injuries getting worked on the training tables and getting closer to being healed. Also, the January transfers were getting some of their first workouts in as Red Raiders.

Tuberville said star running back Eric Stephens is improving after the Tech team doctors tried out a new theory on Stephens that put rehab work ahead of his ACL and MCL repair surgery procedures. The idea was if Stephens and other athletes rehab before surgery, the knee will repair itself naturally to a degree. The doctors could then decide where they needed to step in and operate and what was going to heal naturally.

Tuberville said Stephens is well ahead of schedule and he does not anticipate having to redshirt Stephens.

The defensive staff has been almost completely overhauled with new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, secondary coach John Lovett and defensive line coach Terry Price joining the staff along with new offensive line coach Jim Turner.

If Tuberville had it his way, the three defensive coaches would have been on his inaugural Tech staff three years ago.

"All three of these guys I tried to hire when I first got here, but they all had contracts with different schools," Tuberville said. "I tell you, good things happen late so I'm glad those three guys along with Jim Turner… They bring a lot of knowledge about some players we weren't even on that we've got sign. That always helps when you bring in a new coach."

There's also business to attend to back on the South Plains.

A decision regarding suspended running back Ronnie Daniels will be reached Friday and will be announced in the near future. Daniels missed most of the 2011 season after multiple violations of team rules.

"Ronnie and I are actually talking today," Tuberville said. "That's one reason I came back off the road. I feel like that's a situation where this young man is on a crossroad, as we all know. He and I will sit down. I think he's adjusted his life pretty well, but we'll sit down and visit and see what direction we want to go. We'll talk in terms of his education, because that's the No. 1 priority, his health and well being and the football part."

Tuberville also has to make some final decisions with the two remaining scholarships designated for the 2012 recruiting class. Cornerback, defensive line and running back are the priorities.

"Those are the three positions and there are a couple of guys at each position that we're looking at to try to recruit," Tuberville said. "We're going to be fine no matter what happens if we don't get any of those. But you know, it's kind of like putting icing on the cake."

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