Game Week Press Conference

Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie and defensive end Adell Duckett accompanied head coach Mike Leach at Monday's press conference. Both starters discussed the much anticipated SMU game, while Leach commented on impact players he can't afford to keep off the field.

Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie and defensive end Adell Duckett accompanied head coach Mike Leach at Monday's press conference. Both starters discussed the much anticipated SMU game, while Leach commented on impact players he can't afford to keep off the field.

The Mustangs are coming off of the worst season in SMU history since the football program began in 1915, beginning with the 58-10 pounding Texas Tech gave them last August.

Head coach Phil Bennett made a few changes including hiring former Cinncinati offensive coordinator Rusty Burns to rework the offensive system and Ronnie Vinklarek, an offensive line coach with NFL coaching experience.

"We have been watching a lot of film and I think we have a good idea of what to expect from them. Their quarterback is more mobile and they have spread out passes. Their package revolves around their quarterback and they don't know who that is yet. I'm sure we will have to make some adjustments from the sidelines as the game goes on," said Duckett.

Leach commented on the emerging Red Raider defense featuring greater depth and strength.

"We are starting to see how things are going to go defensively. Keyunta Dawson is really emerging as a fast, explosive guy which will make it harder for teams to double-team Duckett. I think what Duckett did last year is extremely impressive considering he is usually double-teamed. The biggest thing is we have more people so we will not wear down in the front," said Leach.

Fifth year senior quarterback Sonny Cumbie is anticipating his much awaited first start on Saturday. The Snyder native is expecting to see a large hometown cheering section in Dallas and plans to give them something to cheer about.

"I look forward to all of it. I've always relished running out there for the first time, joining the huddle, breaking the huddle from the sidelines and lining up on the line of scrimmage. I look forward to seeing all the guys out there. That is something I dream about and I'm so anxious for it to get here," he said.

Cumbie acknowledged having experienced players Taurean Henderson and Nehemiah Glover on the field as a big advantage. During last season's win over SMU, Henderson scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to put the Red Raiders up 24-3 leading into halftime.

"We have a great situation; on one side we have Hicks and Glover who are experienced and on the other side is Fuller, Filani and Douglas. They make strides and get better every day. Those guys came here to make plays and they are going to," he added.

Cumbie summed up the goal of the team well for this fall.

"As long as we win football games that is all that matters. I could care less if we throw for 100 yards or 500 yards. Eleven wins are more important."

Saturday's kickoff at Gerald J. Ford Stadium is at 7 p.m.

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