Gooood Morning Raider Faaaans!
Yeah, that would probably sound better on a podcast or radio show, but this will have to do for now.
Sorry for the absence, had to deal with other things the last couple of days including making a speaking appearance at a Texas Tech Alumni Dinner in Wichita Falls. Great group out there and they are very excited about seeing their boy Eric Ward (Wichita Falls Rider HS) get some more playing time this season. Don't worry WF, he will not disappoint.
Yes, the rumors as many of you have come to find out through message boards and reports are true about Austin Zouzalik. He will be out for two to four weeks after having an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday night.
"He'll be alright," Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We hope to have him back for the first game."
Until then, Tuberville is setting in place his contingency plan for a punt returner in case Zouzalik does miss the first game against SMU on Sept. 5. Tuberville said he is working with several different guys as punt returner to see who can fill that important special teams role for him.
Detron Lewis, Alex Torres and Eric Stephens will all get chances to return punts over the next few weeks. In fact, all three have practiced with special teams since the spring.
As Tech continues to warm up for the season opener, Tuberville said he need to see the team continue to take care of themselves and adjust to the hot conditions.
"We're letting the heat get to us a little bit and we're in a lot better shape today," Tuberville said. "We had a lot better leadership and a lot better concentration and that's what we're looking for. We pushed through it but we had way too many mental mistakes.
"(Wednesday) we got to thinking about the end of practice about halfway through. So, I thought the guys came out and responded much better today. We're going to need many more practices like today to get ready for the first game."
Offensive line coach Matt Moore continues to play with different combinations of the starting five linemen during fall practices so far and may have a competition on his hands for more than one position. Justin Keown is now getting more time at center along with Chris Olson, who will more than likely shift to another spot along the line while Keown is at center.
"We'll actually travel with three centers," Tuberville said. "Those two guys will probably be our main centers and whoever doesn't start there will probably be at another position. "
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Check out more videos and stories on Texas Tech including my latest column about Tuberville closing practices.