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August 28, 2012
Notebook: Feeling positive
Texas Tech's first media luncheon of the 2012 season was very positive.
The only negative news -- that wide receiver Aaron Fisher will miss the season with a broken leg and center Tony Morales is expected to be out two weeks with a sprained MCL -- was volunteered by Tommy Tuberville following a question about new additions to the fan experience at Jones AT&T Stadium.
"One thing I will say, and I need to say this, we did have an injury," he said. "I don't know. I didn't read the papers or hear anybody talk about it, Aaron Fisher is out for the year. He broke his leg last week. We hate that. He was our number one special team's guy and non contact. Just running down, stopped and twisted his leg. He's going to be operated on Wednesday.
[ More RRS: Tech may redshirt one of its running backs ]
"We had another scare two days ago. Tony Morales went down on an inside drill. It's one area we really don't need to lose people is offensive line. We can't afford that. Any other place we might have a chance, but that's not one."
Considering the team's history with injuries over the last three seasons, this bit of news raised eyebrows but it's not a problem this week. Even the players with the worst injuries last season are back after nine months of recovery and that was the primary reasons everything else was so rosy Tuesday.
The offense is expected to be great as long as it avoids the injury issues that plagued it last season. The defense is supposed to be improved from last season and it's healthy.
"You see a huge difference," safety D.J. Johnson said of the team's defensive front. "They're more confident in each other. They're more aggressive. The aggression is crazy right now. It's ridiculous. In camp you saw a lot more throwing people around. It really didn't matter if they were on our team. I just enjoyed the aggression and seeing them come downhill and stopping the run. They really worked on stopping the run."
Tuberville went as far as calling his receiving corps this year the best he has ever had as a head coach. Maybe they're not quite as good as Michael Irvin and crew during his time as an assistant coach at Miami (Fla.), but the 2012 Red Raiders are at least in the same breath.
"At Miami, we had some pretty good receivers there, but we've got some pretty good depth here," Tuberville said.. "I'd love to convince some of these guys to play other positions, but they're pretty special. But, again, you kind of hold it back. When we've had four or five games, we can have this same discussion."
Furthermore, given the bad taste in their mouth from last season, the Red Raiders seem genuinely excited to play Northwestern State on Saturday. If you're a Tech fan, you should be excited that they are excited.
"Shoot, ever since we ended last season I've been waiting for this game and waiting for this week," quarterback Seth Doege said. "It's been a long path to it, and I've worked really hard. I'm excited that it's finally here. I wish we could fast forward it until Saturday, but there is still time for us and things we need to do to improve and get better and ready to play."
'It has to be a chick'
Doege provided us with this week's funniest and most unexpected moment.
When asked what he did in the locker room to get fired up, Doege said he typically listens to dubstep music before games.
"It's kind of embarrassing, but I listen to dubstep," he said while pausing and thinking about where to go next. "But not just any dubstep. It has to be some chick singing it. I don't know who the chick is and I don't know what the song is. It has to be a chick singing dubstep music. I don't know. It's weird, but it gets me going. So I kind of keep it fun. I dance around with the guys. I don't want to be too serious. I want the guys to know I'm relaxed and confident. That's how I try to approach game day."
Doege is an all-around popular and well-liked guy, so some of the reporters hassled him about dubstep after he left the podium. This developed into an awkward situation once it became apparent that some of the assembled media assumed Doege was referring to some kind of subgenre of hip-hop.
Tuberville really likes Foster
Running back SaDale Foster, a lightly-recruited prospect out of the California junior college scene, has surpassed all expectations since arriving on campus in January.
Tuberville isn't surprised, though. He scouted Foster personally and didn't even bring back any film on the prospect.
"If I was starting somebody, and I like Kenny (Williams) and I like Eric (Stephens), but I'm going on what I've seen in spring and the scrimmages I'm a SaDale Foster guy," Tuberville said. "I like him. It's not that I don't like the other guys. I think Kenny right now is probably the best.
"But what SaDale has done in terms of scrimmages and catching the ball and making people miss in open field and he's going to be on a lot of special teams, I like SaDale. He's been one of my favorites since I saw him last spring running around. He kind of fits on what we do on offense. He's a tough little guy that's built like a fire plug."
Tuberville said Williams may end up being the best out of the whole group in the future.
"Kenny is probably the bigger upside just because he's bigger and he can run over people and run around," he said. "But SaDale has that experience coming from junior college where he can run back a lot of kicks and punts and made some big plays.
"In the future, I would say Kenny has the biggest upside because he's got three years left. But I'm a SaDale Foster guy."