Changes in the secondary

Spring practice is bringing some changes to the Texas Tech defense, especially in the secondary. With the hiring of Carlos Mainard as the new safeties coach, changes are happening in the Texas Tech secondary.

Vincent Meeks may have started his career at Texas Tech as a running back, but Meeks was moved to safety early on, and has since become one of the top defensive players on the team. Meeks has had to deal with change most of his career at Texas Tech, so a new coach isn't too big of a problem. "He came in with his own way of doing things," said Meeks. Coach Mainard's way of doing things is something that could definitely help the athletic Meeks. "Last year we had to think a whole lot more," said Meeks. "This year we get to react to the quarterback. Last year they hardly let us look at the quarterback. This simplified style of play should reduce the number of mental busts, while allowing the Red Raiders' defensive backs to use their athleticism to make more plays.

As a leader in the secondary, Vincent Meeks knows who fans should look out for on the field next season. "Chad, he moved to safety," said Meeks. Chad Johnson made an impact the second he set foot on the practice fields last season, but that was as a cornerback. Johnson seems to be making the change to safety amazingly well. "It just kind of came natural to him," said Meeks. With all of the shifting going on in the secondary, is Meeks still a safety? "As of right now, yeah," said Meeks. Even though he is currently a safety, Vincent knows that he could be moved at any time. "It's day to day with me too," said Meeks. The coaches have said they want to put the four best defensive backs on the field, and Meeks is okay with that. "I meet with coach and he always tells me to do what's best for the team," said Meeks. "If they moved me to linebacker and I had to play it, I'd play it."

After a rough season for the Red Raider defense, Vincent Meeks and the rest of the defense are looking to take advantage of their experience gained last season. That experience could be the key to the defense's success in 2004. "It's nice knowing that we've got seniors and juniors, they're not all sophomores and freshmen with one senior," said Meeks. Vincent has always been one of the more talkative defensive players, on and off the field, so he seems like a natural for a leadership position, but it won't be a one man show. Mike Smith ha stood out as a potential leader as well. "He's one of the hardest working people I've ever seen in my life," said Meeks. What's the goal of the defense in 2004? "We just want to prove people wrong," said Meeks. Only time will tell if the experience gained last season, along with the influx of new players will be enough to reach that goal.

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