Practice Report: Injuries, Special Teams

Texas Tech has a minor setback for the week at a key position but all appears to be normal for any team going through physical two-a-days, Tommy Tuberville says.

LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville has been eager to get many players back and healthy as the Red Raiders move closer to their Sept. 5 kickoff against SMU.

While most of the injuries appear to be around the defensive squad, the offense took a step the other way in the backfield.

Sophomore running back Harrison Jeffers is out for at least the remainder of this week and possibly some part of the next after suffering a concussion on Tuesday.

Jeffers had limited time before that due to a lower back injury and surgery he had over the summer to fix the problem.

"He's out probably through the weekend," Tuberville said after Wednesday's two-a-days. "We've got two or three guys that are banged up a little bit."

It may appear to be an injury-prone camp to Red Raider fans who were used to "no injuries at Texas Tech," to quote the former head coach Mike Leach who also had a policy of no heavy contact during practices for his players.

Tuberville did not appear to be bothered by any of this and that all things were going about as usual.
"It's the same," Tuberville said. "Same everywhere if you have two-a-days, if you're going to have contact. And the only way you can get better — especially on defense — is to have contact. It's the nature of the beast.

Tuberville said they would start "letting up" after Tech plays its second team scrimmage on Saturday before getting Sunday off to evaluate film and recover. The remaining practices will be one-a-day until next weekend when the team had a couple of days off prior to the first live game week.

He said it is important to get guys back now and in the mix before next week.

"You have to get as much work in before school starts as you can," Tuberville said. "You want to try and get everybody in the right spots and then after that its pretty much game planning for the rest of the year.

"Buy it's been real good. It's a lot like having two spring practices in one and the guys have held up. We've made a lot of progress but unfortunately you're going to have injuries and we've had our share."

Experience Equals Championships

Tuberville expressed his gratitude for inheriting a certain level of talent and experience on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to Brian Duncan and Bront Bird — two of the main linebackers in the Red Raiders D.

Tuberville has mentioned several times since the spring that Duncan and Bird would be responsible for a lot of Tech success on defense and is seeing more improvement in the players not just physically, but as leaders.

"You win with experience," he said. "You've got to have those guys that have been there, done that. It's good to have guys with experience that have played, when you have new coaches come in.

"We've changed everything. They've grasped it and helped other players, younger players. It's easier for an older player to come in and pick up things because they're kind of used to making changes on the run. … That's how you win championships. When guys step up and lead the younger players."

Special Teams Being Special

One thing Tuberville takes a lot of pride in is how his special teams perform under him. So far there have been some growing pains when it comes to the special teams at Texas Tech – maybe with one exception in kick returner Eric Stephens, who Tuberville has mentioned several times as being a big fan of him.

But the two main pieces at punter and placekicker remain up for grabs. Ryan Erxleben and Jonathan LaCour continue to battle it out at punter while Matt  Williams fights for his job as Tech's placekicker against Donnie Carona.

Tuberville said the punter competition remains close but Williams still has the edge at placekicker.

"Special teams are going to have to be strong for us," Tuberville said. "We're going to have to be able to establish field position with special teams, score points on special teams and change momentum on special teams. We'll even put more emphasis on it as we get closer to the first game."

Travis Cram is the Managing Editor for Follow more Texas Tech news on FOX Sports Southwest and his daily updates on Twitter. Join the Official fan page on Facebook.


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