Texas Tech coordinators Eric Morris and David Gibbs along with select players spoke with the media following practice on Tuesday. Raider Power reporter Joe Yeager was on-hand for the following report.
Offensive Coordinator Eric Morris
Emo on DeQuan Bowman: Last year he had some problems mastering the playbook, but he has the plays down pretty good right now. His problem right now is that he has good players ahead of him who also have game experience.
Emo on the Inside Receivers: Coach Morris mentioned the usual big names and included Zach Austin in that group. He said that all of the inside receivers bring a little something different to the table.
Emo on Whether Kingsbury’s Increased Involvement with Defense Will Change His Role: Not a great deal. On game-days he’ll still be coaching from the booth as he has always done.
Emo on Coaches Jones and Juluke: They’re working well together and are trying to improve the ground game. Emo allowed that improving the ground game is a huge point of emphasis for the offensive coaches. Last year’s productivity was not acceptable.
Safety Jah'Shawn Johnson
J. Johnson on the First Day of Pads: Good energy. Flew around. Too many defensive busts and big plays allowed.
J. Johnson on Kingsbury’s Presence on Defense: It’s a help. A motivator. He’s been cheering for the defense much more than in the past. Kingsbury doesn’t do Xs and Os coaching of the defense while on the field, but will chip in evaluating film footage. Players were surprised when Kingsbury first took up a post on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. Every other day he’s on the defensive side. He calculates “loafs” for film study. Loafs as in slacking off rather than chewing on a baguette.
J. Johnson on Regaining the Double T: We still don’t know exactly what is required to accomplish that. All we can do is give maximum effort all the time, and when it comes, it comes.
J. Johnson on a Shimonek Interception: Des Smith was the one who got it in a team drill.
J. Johnson on Des Smith: He used to be extremely hard on himself when he made a mistake and may have taken things personally. Now he’s better in that regard and is more coachable. His technique has improved, too. Smith is aggressive and loves to tackle. Good ball skills and makes plays in the air.
Defensive Coordinator David Gibbs
Coach Gibbs on the Defense: A work in progress, but the young players are getting better every day. Better depth. More quality when the twos and threes roll onto the field. More running the ball in practice and more “physical stuff,” which the defense needs for improving the run defense.
Coach Gibbs on Kingsbury Being More Involved with Defense: It’s awesome. Kingsbury attends defensive meetings. He brings a different perspective. Gibbs will take all the help he can get. Kingsbury’s presence improves intensity and motivation. “The head coach is watching!” really means something when the head coach is right there. Kingsbury’s relationship with the defensive players will improve because of this.
Gibbs on Players Making an Impact: I’m more focused on the long-term goal of winning on Saturday than noting individual performances in spring practice. At linebacker, however, Jamile Johnson and Christian Taylor, two guys who had done nothing in the past, are now running with the ones and twos and were not noticeably bad. On defense these days, if you’re invisible, you’re probably playing pretty well. Excited about young defensive linemen.
Gibbs on Broderick Washington: I like his toughness. Will not quit. Always works as hard as he can. Will eventually be a really good player and leader.
QB Nic Shimonek
Shimonek on Future Non-Football Goals: Wants to own his own construction company, probably in suburban Austin because it’s growing so fast. Is leaning toward residential construction. Is majoring in general business.
Shimonek on Kingsbury’s Presence on Defense: Likes it. You’ll play better and harder when “you’ve got the head man in your corner.” Coach Morris is running the show on offense, and coach Kittley helps out Shimonek specifically quite a bit.
Shimonek on Structuring Practice to Help the Defense: They have periods where they slow things down so the defensive guys can teach and learn better.
Shimonek on Increased Physicality: Impressed on the first day of pads. Whistle-to-whistle, but with no “cheap stuff,” which had been a bit of a problem in the past.
Shimonek on His Basketball Prowess: In high school had several times where he scored 40-plus points multiple games in a row. Has not spoken with coach Beard, but has played with Tech’s basketball players in the Rec Center. Played a lot of one-on-one with Toddrick Gotcher. Gotcher can’t guard Shimonek.
Gibbs seemed genuinely enthusiastic about Kingsbury's involvement on defense. Some coaches might take exception to such a development, but Gibbs does not.
I thought Gibbs' comment about Kingsbury's involvement improving his relationship with the defensive players was telling. Perhaps in the past the defensive guys really didn't have a vested interest in Kingsbury because Kingsbury appeared to be consumed with the offense to the exclusion of everybody else.
It was nice to be able to talk to a couple of assistant coaches.