Mailbag: Week 3

You asked the questions and we answered them in our Mailbag from Week 3.

Q: Which player is the most improved? less? From last year, o f course...


A: I think from '11 to '12, the most improved player might be Doege. From a comfort standpoint and a leadership standpoint, there's no question Seth is the man. If he can calm his nerves at the beginning of games a little bit better, I'd be 100 percent on that. Defensively, the easy answer is Douglas because he's not playing the same position or side of the ball. He's getting better. Still would like to see someone at DE step up and take over from a pass rush standpoint.


From spring to fall, the most improved player is Javon Bell hands down. I wasn't counting on much from him this year and early in fall camp it was very evident that he would be an important part of the offense.


Q: Given the opponents we've played I know it's hard to make any definitive statements, but do you feel that our LBs are up to Big 12 play?


Cautiously optimistic is the phrase I'm using right now. We know all of the good stat trends, but until it happens against Big XII competition, hope is all we're going to have. I would have liked to have seen them face Marcus Curry of Texas St because he is a little more talented than the rest of the roster.


With the play of D.J. Johnson and Cody Davis combined with the play and depth of the DL, the LBs are actually being a little bit overlooked right now, but Kaufman and Tuberville talk about them each week as far as being in the right place. I think Will Smith is getting more confident and no one's worried about Bullitt. Eguaveon gave up the TD against Texas St. It was on a switch with an IR and he just recognized it late. Tubs said Tuesday that they had trouble with it all week.


The truth is, we don't know and won't until the competition gets better. And if Holbrook isn't healthy and the freshman QB starts for UNM, it's not going to be as good of test as it could be.


I've said this on air and to anyone else that will listen. Iowa State is the most important game of the season. Because of what happened last year, because it's conference game #1 and because of what's on the schedule after it. That may be the first time we know how this team will be defensively the rest of the season. The problem is, if it's not what the coaches and fans want, it may be too late to fix.

Q: Is Ward going to play this week?


According to Tuberville in the weekly press conference, Ward was practicing this week. Then after Wednesday's practice he said he was ready to go, he had some good practices.


"Probably could have played last week," Tuberville said. "But just precaution."


Tuberville mentioned that with the depth they have at wide receiver, missing one practice is costly because there are plenty of wide outs that can move up, and Tuberville said there are not a lot of drop offs between each receiver.



Q: What do we really know about Tech, considering the opponents.  Will we have to wait until Iowa State to know the direction of this team?


A: I don't think so. There have been some questions answered, now granted like everyone has said the opponents have not been the top-tier opponents to face in nonconference play, but still a lot has been shown. Against Texas State, the Red Raiders stopped the run pretty well, actually held the entire offense in check.

Stopping the run has been key so far and the Tech defense has stepped up, and with the turnovers forced last week, especially the pick six, those are all good signs.

Of course Iowa State will be the first true test of the season, because then after that Tech has to face two Top 10 teams at home in the Jones.

Those games will be the biggest revealers of what this team is made of.

I think you take away little things from each of the first two games, but until they play a tough offensive and defensive team, there are still a lot of questions unanswered.


Q: Do you see Kenny Williams playing a bigger part of the offense?


A: He already has played a big part in the offense. Leads the team in rushing with 137 yards this season, also and four catches for 25 yards. He also had the "I'm a man" play of the week against Texas State.

So he will continue to be used in the backfield, but right now it is a three-headed monster in the backfield with Williams then Eric Stephens and SaDale Foster.

All three have either 100 yards or more of rushing this season through two games.

Very exciting backfield for the Red Raiders and behind them you have DeAndre Washington in case you need him down the road in the season.


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