It was a scene that had not been around for quite some time at the Texas Tech football training facility.
Normally scheduled at Jones AT&T Stadium, reporters flocked to the new venue to eat lunch and come together once again to celebrate the return to a fall tradition.
College football is back.
No strikes, no hold outs, and although there is plenty of drama off the field, it was apparent that many people on Monday at the weekly press conference with Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville were happy to talk about what is coming on the field Saturday when Tech begins the 2011 campaign.
"I think the excitement of this year going into the season is so many new guys that will be on the field," Tuberville said. "Whether they were with us last year and didn't play much or whether we've just signed them and they've been with us since January or they are new freshmen. We've got a lot of new names and faces that will really play their first game this coming Saturday."
The freshman test may be one of the most interesting aspects about this Texas Tech team. To many, the Red Raiders are the enigma of the Big 12 Conference. Not the most experience to validate a top four or five prediction but plenty of young talent to maybe slip in under the radar this season.
But latter will have some ore clarity at 6 p.m., on Saturday when Tech opens the 2011 season against Texas State at The Jones.
It's easy to pump up people about a talented recruiting class and even see certain things in practice. But the way these young stars perform in a live game will begin to tell a story that could continue for the next four years and how the landscape of the Red Raider football program will shift.
Even if the foe is a six-touchdown underdog.
Ask Tuberville and the second-year head coach remains fairly modest about everything.
"This is going to be an interesting season," he said. "Lot of inexperience, lot of question marks, hopefully we start out with the right depth chart, so to speak of first and second team, but it will probably change a lot. That is what you get mainly concerned about is do we have the right people in the right spots going in the first game."
The biggest piece Tuberville harped on was the fact that no matter how young the team is – it's a much deeper roster at the same time. Where there were only maybe one reserve or none after the team watched 18 players go down with injuries or suspensions, there is now at least two if not three players at each place. And every single one of them will have the chance to showcase what they can do in a live game for the next month before Tech plays its first Big 12 game at Kansas on Oct. 1.
"Depth wins for you," Tuberville said. "You win games with your first teamers, but you win a lot of games with your back-ups. They've got to playa and they've got to play a huge role in a college football game."