Coach Simmons talks about the 2004 signees

Raiderpower.com is proud to bring you an exclusive interview with <b>Dennis Simmons</b>, who plays an integral role in the recruiting process for the Texas Tech football program. This article is available exclusively to Raiderpower.com subscribers. We will have a free article recapping today's press conference with Head Coach <b>Mike Leach</b> available later today.

Coach Dennis Simmons says there are a lot of people to be proud of after the latest recruiting season.

"I'm extremely proud of our coaches and others involved in the recruiting process," said Simmons. This class has generated a lot of excitement among fans and coaches alike. "I'm stoked," said Simmons.

While there are some players in this class who may be immediate contributors, the real payoff will come later. "It's going to be scary in a couple of years," said Texas Tech recruiting coordinator.

A couple of key dates played a huge role in the recruiting process. The weekends of 10/12/2003 and 1/18/2004 both proved to be critical to bringing the 2004 class together. "It worked out to be rather successful those weekends," said Simmons.

Gameday atmosphere played a key role on the first of those weekends, giving prospective recruits a chance to experience a game at Jones Stadium. "The game day atmosphere was something that was important to them," Simmons added.

According to the upbeat coach, several of the players formed relationships on those trips that ended up being a real bonus for the Red Raider coaching staff. And as much as they'd like to take credit for those two weekends, luck played an important factor as well. "It was lucky for us that they all had Thursday games or byes that week," said Simmons.

Perhaps the biggest question mark heading into next season is the quarterback position vacated by record-setting quarterback B.J. Symons. Robert Johnson and Graham Harrell have both signed on with the Red Raiders in hopes of leading the vaunted Texas Tech passing attack. According to Texas Tech recruiting ace, the track record of Head Coach Mike Leach should put fans' worries at ease. "Look at Coach Leach's stat sheet for quarterbacks all through his career. That history certainly is impressive, and includes names like Tim Couch, Josh Heupel, Kliff Kingsbury, and B.J. Symons. Both of this year's signees come to Lubbock with previous experience running a spread offense, something that is an advantage, but the players will still face a steep learning curve... "It helps because you're familiar with reading defenses and coverages, but whether you're coming out of a spread offense or not, there is going to be a learning curve," said Simmons.

The other big area of concern for Texas Tech fans is the defensive side of the ball. Last season the Scarlet and Black D was a definite weakness, and one of the major contributors to each of the Red Raiders' five losses. Coach Simmons is definitely happy with the signees on the defensive side of the ball.

"We're ecstatic. Our whole recruiting class was based on needs, so we feel like we've fulfilled a lot of needs in our program, and upgraded our team to take us to the next level." The junior college transfers coming to the team could pay immediate dividends. "You've got defensive linemen like Deke Bake, and Sylvester Brinkley, and Charlie Glover, and Brett Bischofberger. Those guys are guys that are going to put you in a position where you're going to be able to rush the passer, you're going to be able to stop the run," said Simmons. This class will add more talent to an already talented, though inexperienced, defense. "We played a lot of young guys this year and that's only going to aid us next year because they're going to have game time experience. You're bringing guys in that can even compete for a starting position or a legitimate backup that can spell those guys for a couple of plays, and it just makes your defense that much better," Coach Simmons closed.

Every season there is a story about the one who got away, and this year that story is about Idalou's Shae Reagan. "We wish him the best of luck. We'll see him September the thirteenth when we play them," said Simmons.

As for the reasons why the last minute change happened, Coach said, "Only Shae can answer that."

One thing is for sure, though, the Texas Tech coaches aren't going to let one decommit dampen their enthusiasm for this new standout crop of recruits.


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