Texas Tech is fighting mad during fall camp in the hot Texas sun.
Each of the past two Texas Tech fall camps the offense and defense have all but fawned over each other, "Oh they are so great", "the defense is really coming along" so on and so forth.
This year after just a handful of days one gets the sense many members of the offense and defense would prefer to just clear the furniture out of the living room and throw down in a good ole' fashion sibling battle royale.
About. Damn. Time.
Anybody remotely associated with the Texas Tech program is aware of the, to put it politely, extensive defensive struggles. To put it bluntly? This team has been soft for years.
I first took notice of a change when safety Keenon Ward boasted to members of the local media about his interception of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes during the first practice of camp. Mahomes was sitting nearby behind a backdrop screen. When Ward left he passed by Mahomes and told him "tell them about me picking you". Mahomes wasn't laughing, he was incensed.
"The defense did have a good day, but I don't think they want to talk about the other ones when we went over the top of them. But they did come out with a lot of energy today, I was impressed and they had a lot of batted balls and caught a couple interceptions."
I'm not going to regurgitate the atrocious stats I have stated numerous times. If you are reading this you are likely aware of Tech's almost unparalleled track record of defensive ineptitude.
This isn't about that. This column is about recognizing a group of individuals standing up, waving a giant Mutombo finger and saying "don't" to its prolific counterpart on offense.
Will this defense be the '85 Bears? Uh, no. But early returns say it's not going to be the '15 Red Raiders, either.
Despite recent rule changes football is still, thankfully, a violent sport predicated on one guy physically moving another against his will. Confrontations will inevitably occur from that. I have been blessed to witness football camps at every level of the sport in the great state of Texas and without fail I have witnessed nothing short of all out prison yard riots at every stop save two: Texas Tech the past two years.
On Thursday I witnessed a scuffle at Tech's fourth day of practice. It wasn't a big deal, standard lineman squabbling, a helmet was ripped off, players and coaches stepped in before Leonard Fournette slap boxing ensued, but that's not the point.
Less than five minutes later I watched 240-pound freshman linebacker Jordyn Brooks truck a couple guys without breaking stride en route to smacking a tackling dummy as part of a tackling drill.
I pivoted around behind me and witnessed 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior receiver Dylan Cantrell brush off two prominent members of the team attempting to block him en route to absolutely obliterating the final guy between him and his target. His teammates erupted, rightfully so.
Perhaps sophomore defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko said it best after practice Thursday when asked about the fights, violence and chippiness so far in camp.
"I love it when the offense and defense get after each other because it just shows that guys are out here to get better. If you're just going to stand down and let the offense score on you or the defense is going to let the offensive guys just hit them around you're never going to get better. I see the chippiness out of both the offense and the defense which is great, because I haven't seen that since I have been here. It shows that guys are just out here to get better."
Apparently the barbarism ensued long after us media types were booted from practice Thursday as head coach Kliff Kingsbury bemoaned all the extra curricular activity.
"(I'd like to see) more discipline. There's been lots of fights, lots of chipiness and we just got to contain our emotion, but we'll get that straightened out by Saturday. You like it early, but at some point it gets played out and you got to just get back to playing football, controlling your emotions and so forth. We'll focus on that tomorrow and Saturday."
I say let them fight.