Photo By Steven Chapman

Texas Tech Spring Game Thoughts, Notes, Quotes takes an in-depth look at Texas Tech's Red-Black spring game Saturday at The Star in Frisco. Who looked really good? Who struggled? And wow there were a lot of recruits in attendance! Get the scoop on all of that inside, plus postgame quotes from Kliff Kingsbury and select players.

Texas Tech's spring game Saturday at Dallas Cowboys' The Star in Frisco was a resounding success in my book. The place was packed, the Red Raiders had a great turnout in terms of the number of recruits, there were some very positive signs of improvement on the field, there were no significant injuries and it appeared fans in attendance had a great time.

New Tradition?

  • The unanimous reaction from players, coaches, fans and admin Saturday was the event was a great success and all would like to see the Red Raiders return to Frisco every spring.
  • Kingsbury on the idea of making Tech's spring game at The Star every year: "Yeah, I'd love it. I love the game we play at AT&T Stadium against Baylor every year. I think it's great for our alumni base and recruiting to do this and to have two guaranteed imprints in the DFW area every year would be great for me and our program."
  • QB Nic Shimonek interjected after answering a question with the following statement: "I just want to say it was awesome getting to Frisco. I know it was a long drive for us, but letting these fans be able to watch us, because not everybody wants to make that 5-6 hour drive drive out to Lubbock, was awesome getting to come and play in front of these people."


Shimonek Looks Sharp

  • Shimonek had a great day Saturday. He finished 26-33, 273 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions.
  • Kingsbury said Shimonek did a great job taking care of the football and playing within himself after struggling some last weekend in Midland and turning the ball over too much in practice this spring. Kingsbury added he and Shimonek had a heart-to-heart talk about it and he has improved since then. 
  • Keke Coutee on working with Shimonek: "Nic, he works hard. He works very hard. He's a good guy. I love him to death. I feel like we have a great connection so far this spring. I feel like it will translate to the fall as well in the season."


DL Bullies the OL

  • Practically every DL who played Saturday had at least a single very good moment he can build upon. 
  • The DL played a major role in holding the offense to just 64 yards and 2.4 per carry, tallied three sacks, batted several pass attempts down and came up with the only turnover of the game on a great play by redshirt freshman Nick McCann, who caught a batted Sullins pass (Gilmore got a paw on it) and rumbled 11 yards for the TD.

  • McCann, Lonzell Gilmore, Joe Wallace, Broderick Washington, Houston Miller, Mych Thomas, Eli Howard, Nelson Mbanasor all "flashed" some great potential Saturday and each made impactful plays. 
  • Through 10 spring practices it's clear to me the defensive line-offensive line matchup is the biggest mismatch on the team. Is it because the OL is that bad or the DL is that good? I say a little of both. Both groups feature inexperienced players so hopefully each will develop at a high rate this spring and summer.  
  • Mych Thomas on the DL performance: "We just brought effort and came together as a group. Coach Jamison has us working on the little things"


DBs Continue to Impress

  • Jah'Shawn Johnson on the midyear enrollees (Morgan, Dorsey, Lane) impact in the secondary: "They came in in January and been in their books since Day 1, asking questions when they don't know what they're doing. They're in there studying film day-in-and-day-out, meeting with coach Scott and coach Gibbs. They fly around very well and are very aggressive, good tacklers. Ock and J-Lane play the run very well, they have good ball skills and Vaughntae's running sideline-to-sideline making plays everywhere. They're a tremendous help to our defense."
  • Shimonek described Johnson as not only the emotional leader for the defense, but for the whole team.

  • Morgan (pictured above) picked off a pass, but it was called back to the defense being flagged for an offsides penalty.
  • Kingsbury said there's a good chance Octavious Morgan and Vaughntae Dorsey start at corner and safety, respectively next season. "Everyday they're making plays and gaining more confidence in the system."
  • Kingsbury on D.J. Polite-Bray's improvement this spring: "Yeah, sometime that senior year it just clicks and he's a lot more aggressive. I think he feels more comfortable, he's not thinking as much. He's flashed over and over and over this spring, making big plays. He's a tough kid, big, physical. I just think he's comfortable, finally. He was moved over to DB in his second year and this is his third year playing the position. I just think he's finally comfortable in that role."


Running Game a Work in Progress

  • The offense ran for just 64 yards on 25 carries (2.6 yards per carry) and 34 of these came on a scramble by backup QB Payne Sullins. Senior Justin Stockton was inactive due to what Kingsbury called "head issues", but said he expects him back at practice next week. The other two running backs struggled mightily. Demarcus Felton rushed for just 11 yards on six carries (1.8 yards per rush) while Da'Leon Ward managed just 15 yards on 11 carries (1.4).
  • Some of their carries were in short yardage situations, but not all of them. The OL, specifically the three interior lineman struggled to get any kind of push up front and even when the RB's had 1-on-1 open field or in the hole situations they mostly failed to break tackles, which on one hand was a great sign for the defense, but the RBs and the young OL have a lonnnng way to go. Good thing is they have five months to prepare. 
  • Felton and Ward both helped in the passing game as Felton caught two passes for 18 yards, while Ward hauled in five passes for 26 yards.
  • I asked Kingsbury how he felt the OL did today and where the group is in its development: "Not bad. We're still not where we need to be running the football. When we have those run-friendly boxes, five-man boxes, we have to be able to take advantage of it, but for a true freshman at one (spot), and a right tackle who hasn't played much-a true sophomore-they've showed improvement, they'll continue to get better. Then you want to get Madison (Akamnonu) back in a couple months and then hopefully add another piece and then you feel pretty good about the depth as well."


Recruiting Impact

  • Kingsbury on what holding the spring game at The Star in Frisco means on the recruiting trail: "It's obviously huge. It's one of our biggest recruiting bases, one of our biggest alumni bases so to be able to bring our product here to this incredible facility that the Cowboys allowed us to use was as big of a recruiting tool as we can have this offseason. We were anxious to get down here, the crowd was awesome, the facility is unbelievable and we had a great time." 
  • Check out what recruits had to say about their visits to Tech's spring game at The Star here: LINK

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