Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Practice, Day 1 Update

Fox 34 in Lubbock has posted the first video from Day 1 of spring practice.

A few players have changed numbers:

  • #2 LA Reed
  • #12 Lashawn Vation
  • #19 Lyle Leong
  • #20 Bront Bird
  • #22 Jared Flannel
  • #29 Taylor Charbonnet
  • #30 Steven Harris
  • #43 McKinner Dixon

Brian Duncan has been moved to the Mike LB spot and the LA-J reports that he's looking forward to the opportunity:

“You’re controlling the defense,’’ he said. “I’m a very talkative guy. I’m loud. I like to command, so being put in that position made it even better for me.’’


The excitement of the Red Raider Nation sure isn't lost on this team. QB Graham Harrell notes that the potential is there for this to be a really good team:
"It's still a long ways to the season," he said. "I think a lot of people are anxious for it. Everyone in the locker room is ready to go, ready to play. I think everyone's excited. That's going to be big, and I think it's because everyone realizes how good we can be. If we get on the same page, if we play together, and if we really get together, then I think everyone realizes this team can be really, really good."

However, Leach is quick to point out that he thinks the team will do a good job ignoring the distractions that come with such lofty expectations:
"They need to do a good job of that," he said. "That's one thing. A smart player does a good job of that. Ignore what's said and all the rest because the opinions that count are the ones that we have in a team meeting. The only thing that we can really improve is improvement from one day to the next. If we do that, then we'll be as good as we can be anyway."

That's all for today. I'll have some more updates as we progress through the spring.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Texas Tech Football 2008, Spring Practice Edition

I'm 350 miles away but I can feel the excitement. The 2008 campaign has begun. Things you can expect from me:

- periodic updates on spring practice (who's hot, any significant depth chart changes, injuries, etc)
- an update from spring practice w/ photos (I'll be there w/ camera on April 5th)
- live (hopefully) spring game updates from the Jones w/ photos (working on that as we speak)

Things I'm looking for out of spring practice:
- The development/emergence of:

  • McKinner Dixon - DE
  • LA Reed - Safety
  • Detron Lewis - Y spot at WR
  • Bunton, Richardson, Sanders, and/or T Charbonnet - CB opposite Jamar Wall
  • Aaron Crawford and Baron Batch - RB
  • Solidifying the 2-deep across the front 7
  • Ruffin McNeill's defense
There you have it. I'll do my best to provide what information I can in a timely fashion. Hopefully things will work out and I'll be able to attend a practice as well as the Red/Black game.

Fun with aggie

By now you may have come across the "Reload with Reagan" that is endorsing a student at A&M for a Yell Leader position for 2008. I've found the videos humorous and amusing but decided not to post it as it would be aggie hate...not that I'm above that or anything...but it just wasn't a story worth mentioning. However, it's now been picked up here and here so I figured I'd link you to it if you've yet to come across it. Enjoy the fun and best of luck to Reagan!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Four Days to Glory...

The Big 12 tournament kicks off today in Kansas City as your #8 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the #9 seed Oklahoma State. Since there hasn't exactly been tons of sunshine for the Raiders in recent weeks outside of the upset of Texas...I thought I'd put together a roadmap for Texas Tech to get to the Big Dance.

Opening Round vs Oklahoma State - Like most opponents, Tech is the smaller team. However, Tech has proven they can beat the Cowboys this year, albeit at home. We know to expect 15-20 from Zeno, Voskuil must get hot and stay hot, and the freshman need to put up 15+ points while shooting better than 40%. Do that...and it's on to the quarterfinals! Texas Tech 72 Oklahoma State 68

Quarterfinals vs Texas - The Longhorns don't strike me as a team out for revenge. Their late season loss didn't keep them from the #1 seed and while it may have lessened their chances for a #1 seed, they're better served with a #2 seed and hopefully a slot in the Houston region opposite Memphis. That gives them a route of Little Rock-Houston-San Antonio to the title. Since they're content with their #2 seed...expect them to come out lazy and for Tech to pull off the upset. Texas will dominate on the boards but they'll rely too much on Augustin and fail to capitalize on their superior front court. Texas Tech 74 Texas 70

Semifinals vs Oklahoma - Normally this would be a revenge game...but the Raiders have bigger fish to fry today. Ezmir has a season high 10 points, 8 boards, and 3 blocks while frustrating Longar Longar into a technical late in the game that allows Voskuil to seal the victory for the Red Raiders. No miracle shot to win it this time for OU. Texas Tech 66 Oklahoma 62

Finals vs Kansas State - The miracle has happened!!! K-State pulls a HUGE shocker in upsetting Kansas in front of a sold out Spirit Center. The Wildcats are so elated though that they don't have anything left in the tank to play the upstart Red Raiders. This one isn't pretty as neither team shoots better than 40% but Tech manages to breakaway in the final 5 minutes to earn their first Big 12 Mens Basketball Championship. Texas Tech 63 Kansas State 54

Ladies and gentleman...your Big 12 Tournament Champs and proud owners of a #11 seed in the NCAA Tournament...

Texas Tech Red Raiders

see...that wasn't that hard. Now check back in 4 days after this happens and watch me pick Tech to make some noise at the Big Dance!!!



(my actual prediction is W vs Okie Lite, L vs Texas, hello NIT and a home game at the USA)

Monday, March 10, 2008

2007's Highest Paid Athletes in DFW

It's a slow time of the year as early 2009 recruiting is under way (Tech already has 3 commits) and we're still a few weeks away from the start of spring practice...so I'll turn your attention to professional sports.

I took the time to put together a list of the highest paid athletes currently playing for DFW's major sports teams (Rangers, Cows, Mavs, Stars) and some thoughts on them. I got this info from multiple sites including USA Today and ESPN. Here's a Top 10 (w/ thoughts), some noteables that are still on the books even though they're playing elsewhere, and a list of each team's "best value" (rookies not included).

1. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks ($15.1 mil) - Playoff loss aside, 2007 was another banner year for Dirk. The seven-time All Star now has an MVP trophy to put on his mantle. All told, you can't argue with his salary. Consider that he's the 15th highest paid NBA player right now. He'll make as much in 2008 (16.3 mil) as Paul Pierce and Antawn Jamison. Chris Webber and Steve Francis make more than Dirk. All that's missing is an NBA title.

2. Roy Williams, SS, Cowboys ($11.69 ) - Arguably the worst contract of any pro team in DFW right now (I'll move on to Damp and Padilla soon). For a guy pulling down almost 10% of his team's salary cap, his performance sure isn't worth it. Roy brings truth to the saying, "Nice guys finish last." A great person off the field, his work on the field leaves a lot to be desired. Whether it's blown coverages (and/or a total inability to cover anybody at all), 15 yd personal foul penalties, or being suspended for his inability to not horse collar an opposing player (of the 4 horse collar penalties in 2007, 3 were called on Roy Williams), Mr. Williams had about as bad of a year as one could have. Somehow, he still earned a late call to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

3. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys ($11.25) - A two-time Pro Bowl QB, he holds the Cowboys single season records for TD's (36), Yards (4211) and Completions (335). Jerry Jones would've been wise to sign him before the 2007 season and save himself about $7-10 mil but once he saw Romo's level of play continue he was quick to get out his checkbook before the price tag got any higher. Good move by Jerry and Romo to take care of this well before any talk of free agency could take place. It shows commitment on the part of both men towards the future of the franchise. Now a few playoff wins would further justify the money.

4. Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys ($10.0) - Many people moaned when TO was signed, after his first year there were mixed feelings about his worth to the team. Yes his numbers were impressive but did they help win games??? Owens took it to the next level in 2007. His high level of production continued (more yards and TD's than 2006) and he made a positive impact in big games. When compared to the salaries of other top WR's this number is more than justified.

5. Kevin Millwood, SP, Rangers ($9.84) - Millwood is the latest in a line of "quality" pitchers that sign with the Rangers and see their careers go down the drain (see Chan Ho Park). Whether it be injuries, poor scouting by the Rangers, or the crippling heat of a Texas summer, pitchers typically don't have the same level of success in Arlington that they've shown elsewhere. Millwood is a solid #2 or #3 starter but he doesn't possess the health and/or ability to be the ace of an MLB staff. Then again...that's one of the many reasons he ended up in Texas.

6. Erick Dampier, C, Mavericks ($9.63) - His play since Jason Kidd arrived in Dallas notwithstanding, most people don't think that Dampier is worth the money for 8 points/game. However, if I told you that his salary is on par with Brad Miller, Samuel Dalembert, and Tyson Chandler...then you might realize that his salary is par for the course where run of the mil NBA centers are concerned. In no way to I consider him a steal at this price (and he's up to $10.5 for the 07-08 season) but it's not as bad as some make it out to be.

7. Vicente Padilla, SP, Rangers ($9.0) - Vicente Padilla...I don't like you. You're overpaid, you have no control, and you're a poor excuse for a major league pitcher. Take your money and get out of town. That is all.

8. Bradie James, LB, Cowboys ($8.75) - A stud coming out of LSU, James has developed into a dependable LB for the Cowboys in the 3-4 defense. Back to back 100+ tackle seasons and 5 seasons of injury free football is more than enough to justify this contract as market worthy. Considering the deals some players are getting you could now consider his contract a "value deal."

9. Jason Terry, SG, Mavericks ($8.1) - Jet is a mainstay on the Mavericks roster and the consumate team player. Yes he's a shoot first guard, but he's a tough, team-oriented player that exudes positive energy on the court. Barring another blockbuster trade, I expect Terry to remain a Maverick the rest of his career. His current contract expires after the 2011-12 season.

10. DeMarcus Ware, LB, Cowboys ($7.51) - A huge value contract for the Cowboys at just about any $$ amount. Ware has quickly and quietly emerged as one of the premier OLB's in the game. His ability to rush the passer is 2nd to none as indicated by his 14 sacks in 2007 (3rd in the NFL). Having just completed his 3rd NFL season, expect to see Ware with a star on his helmet for many years to come.

Highest paid DFW players NOT playing for a DFW team:

1. Michael Finley, G/F, Spurs ($16.1 mil) - That's right...the Mavericks paid over $16 million in 2007 for somebody that's playing for their rival. That number goes up to $18.6 million for this (the 2008) season. Considering how much of a "Maverick Killer" Finley has been since leaving Dallas, this one hurts...A LOT.

2. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees ($9.6 mil/est) - This figure is estimated because I can't find a per year breakdown of the Rangers were paying on A-Rod's contract. I know that they were paying $67 mil over 7 years but that only $21 mil was remaining for the final 3 years (2008-10). Fortunately for Tom Hicks, A-Rod opted out of his old contract, thus relieving the Rangers of that burden. Of course he soon signed with the Yankees for even more money...but $0 of that will be coming from Hicks' back pocket.

3. Shawn Bradley, Retired ($4.8 mil) - For a guy that averaged 6.5 points and 5.5 boards during his time in Dallas...he's sure making out nice financially for it. He "earned" $4.8 mil in 2007 and will pocket another $5.2 mil by the end of this season before finally coming off the Mavs books 3 years and nearly $15 mil after retiring.

Best Values in DFW

1. Michael Young, SS, Rangres ($3.58 mil) - When you can sign the cornerstone of your franchise to a new contract and add it on to the end of a current contract, you've pulled off one heck of a negotiation. That's exactly what Daniels and Hicks did with Michael Young. They've kept him at a very moderate number (under $5 mil) until 2009. At that time, his 5-year, $80 mil contract will kick in and run through the 2013 season.

2. Josh Howard, SF, Mavericks ($1.67 mil) - In the last year of his rookie contract, the Mavs had one of the best values in the NBA in Josh Howard. He proved his worth by earning his first All-Star nod (19 ppg, 7 rpg) in 2007. Mark Cuban awarded him accordingly with a 4-year, $42 million contract that kicked in this season. Welcome to the good life Mr Howard. Make sure to donate accordingly to your alma mater!

3. Mike Ribeiro, C, Stars ($2.8 mil) - Ribeiro joined the Stars last season in what many considered a "garbage deal" w/ the Canadiens and has quickly shown that he can be a difference maker when given regular playing time. A solid season last year has lead to a breakout season this year. The Stars realized they'd found the critical 2nd piece (along w/ Captain Brendan Morrow) to replace the aging Modano and Lehtinen and wisely signed him to a 5 year/$25 million contract. His contributions this year have lead the Stars back to the top of the Western Conference standings and leave them in prime position to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup in 2008 and beyond.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Big 12 Helmet Project, South Division

As a follow up to yesterday's post on the Big 12 North Division helmets, I give the helmets of the Big 12 South. Some schools have very few helmet changes while others have made changes every few years since teams started wearing the "modern" design of helmet. One trend that holds is that the 3 big tradition schools (and no A&M...you're one partial MNC in 1939 doesn't count here) in the conference have the fewest significant helmet changes of any school. OU has 4 different looks (plus the retro game helmet from 2003), Texas also has 4 (plus a 2005 retro, the 100 yrs sticker from 1969, and a 50th anniv Cotton Bowl sticker in 1982), and Nebraska has 6 (excl. the 100 yrs sticker). The teams with arguably the least football success have made the greatest number of helmet changes. Iowa State has 19 different looks (they wore 2 different designs from 83-86 as noted yesterday), Kansas has 18 different designs, and Kansas State has 13 different styles of helmet since the late 1950's.


Without further adieu (and since I want to leave early on Friday)...I give you the helmets of the Big 12 South:


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Big 12 Helmet Project, North Division

In case you've never visited the site before, take a few minutes (or hours) to check out The Helmet Project. The site has as complete a history as you will find of helmets for more football teams than you care to know existed. Want to know what the helmet looked like for Marietta College in 1963? No worries...they've got it. For those that love the history of football or just the designs of football helmets...check out The Helmet Project. You won't be disappointed.

So how does that tie in to this post? Well I have a pretty slow day today (bad weather can do that to the steel industry) so I started compiling the current helmets of all Big 12 schools along with my favorite helmet and then a helmet that was unusual in some way to the school. There's Colorado's gold w/ powder blue of the early 80's. In 1983 and 84 (and possibly 85 and 86 too), every player wore the yellow helmet. However, certain players were awarded the same helmet design but with the red and yellow colors inverted from what you see below. That have been cool to see a team playing with multiple helmet designs.

The weather is getting bad out here so I'm going to head home for the day...but here's what I took from the Big 12 North. I'll return tomorrow with the Big 12 South. Remember to click on the pic for a full size image. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Coaching Changes are Official

From Media Relations Director Chris Cook:

Texas Tech Football officially announced Wednesday several changes within its staff as the program prepares for spring workouts at the end of the month. The changes are effective immediately and involve seven positions.

“We are fortunate to have good people within our program, which made these coaches obvious choices,” Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach said. “These coaches know our program, have been around it a long time and have represented Texas Tech well throughout their careers here.

“I also am proud to have former players join our staff,” Leach added. “Antonio and Ty will be great additions to the program as both were model student-athletes during their careers.”

Second-year coach Lincoln Riley will move from wide receivers to inside receivers, filling the spot vacated by the departure of Dana Holgorsen. Dennis Simmons, a charter member of Leach’s staff, will assume wide receiver coaching duties, while Dave Emerick moves over from player personnel to take Simmons’ former position of assistant athletic director and chief of staff. Former Red Raider player Clay McGuire, the offensive graduate assistant last season, is the new assistant coach overseeing the special teams.

Returning to the program is former Red Raider defensive back Antonio Huffman. Huffman slides into Emerick’s former position as manager of player personnel. Former Tech center Brandon Jones moves from video graduate assistant to the offensive GA position, while recently graduated Red Raider Ty Linder assumes Jones’ former position.

The Red Raiders begin spring workouts March 26 and conclude with the annual Red-Black Game on April 19 at Jones AT&T Stadium.

--ttu--

TRANSACTIONS

- Moved Lincoln Riley to inside receivers coach
- Moved Dennis Simmons to wide receivers coach
- Promoted Clay McGuire to special teams coordinator
- Moved Dave Emerick to Assistant AD/Chief of Staff
- Promoted Brandon Jones to offensive graduate assistant
- Named Antonio Huffman manager of player personnel
- Named Ty Linder video graduate assistant

Bears fans happy to see Favre retire

In case you've somehow not seen ESPN's non-stop coverage of Brett Favre's retirement...let me break the news to you; Brett Favre has retired from the NFL. While most of us are sad to see him go and have enjoyed watching play...there is one group of fan who has to be thrilled to see him go; the hard luck Chicago Bears fan. I won't try to explain just how much Favre has owned the Bears and Soldier Field during his time in Green Bay. Instead, I'll let the boys of Rumors and Rants break down Favre vs the 21 QB's the Bears have had during Favre's tenure. Brett...as someone who grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan but was named after a legendary Packers lineman, know that you will be missed:



In related news...Warren Sapp has retired from the NFL. Check out his website, "QB Killa" for more information.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Saturday evening gift to the Burnt Orange Nation

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Enjoy and please drink responsibly!
Texas Tech 83
Texas 80