Back in Black

Texas Tech returned to practice on Friday wearing their usual black helmets while practicing on their new FieldTurf practice field. Head coach Tommy Tuberville also expects others to return to the team next week.

LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech began its first official practices of the season on Friday after fall camp practices ended on Wednesday before a day off to start the school year Thursday.

The Red Raiders were in full uniform including their usual black practice helmets while getting to work out on the new turf on the practice fields behind the football training facility.

"What we're going to do is we basically have four days of practice per week," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We'll go Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And we'll go (on the practice field) Sundays and Wednesdays and in the stadium on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"We don't have quite as much room right now without using our grass field. We'll start using that next week."

The biggest and maybe best news is that Tuberville's expects the return of at least three Red Raiders by next week and as soon as Sunday for at least two. Offensive lineman Mickey Okafor should be back at practice on Tuesday after missing most of the week with a concussion and Alex Torres will be back in full practice mode after missing some time with a sore back. Wide receiver Austin Zouzalik will also return next week after having an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago.

"Austin should start practicing next week," Tuberville said. "Beau Carpenter (appendectomy) will miss this game. But Torres should be back Sunday. Will Ford was out there again today. We've got a lot of guys starting to come back. It's game week. Any time game week comes around those aches and bruises don't hurt quite as bad."

Tech will take Saturday off and begin game week preparations on Sunday.

Tuberville on Myers

Tech athletics director Gerald Myers announced Thursday that he plans to step down from his position on May 31 after the end of the school year. This was no big surprise of course to Tuberville, who asked about Myers' future when Tech interviewed him back in January.

"I knew coming in that there eventually would be some changes," Tuberville said. "Coach Myers had been here a long time and whether it was this year or three years from now, if you're going to be somewhere new then you know that there's a possibility for some changes.

"… I've known coach Myers for a long time. Heck he's been here forever. He's one of the godfathers of athletics in this country in terms of what all he has done. But it's tough for him. He was out here (on Friday) and he is going to be a part of us forever. He is Mr. Texas Tech and he's done a lot of great things for athletics here at Tech and also as a leader in the conference."

O-Line Looking For Consistency

Senior right tackle Chris Olson said last season was frustrating at times as an offensive lineman. Tech suffered numerous injuries along the offensive line and rarely had the same guys playing together in consecutive games.

One consistency that carried over from last season for the better was Tech retaining offensive line coach Matt Moore.

Olson said he likes the way things are looking for the O-line and remembers the day he and the other linemen found out about Moore's fate.

"He actually sent us a text message while we were all in class," Olson said. "It said, ‘I'm sorry to inform you guys that I've been retained.' So we all freaked out for a second because we thought he was going to get let go."

Olson will be the main lineman at right tackle alongside Deveric Gallington at right guard. Justin Keown remains the starter at center with junior Lonnie Edwards at left guard and LaAdrian Waddle at left tackle.

Edwards likes what he has seen so far from the guys on the O-line and is interested to see how they play the first game against SMU.

"We work a lot more on the running game and we've gotten a lot more flexible just with the new program and just driving people," Edwards said. "I come from a running (high school) team so I had to learn the passing offense when I got here. But I think we are doing great and its coming along really well."

Scouting the Ponies

Tuberville and the coaches began reviewing film on SMU earlier this week. When it comes to the Mustangs, everyone's first thoughts are how to stop June Jones' offense that picked up steam last season as the Ponies won eight games including a bowl game over Nevada. Tuberville said it starts with their quarterback, Kyle Padron.

"Just experience," Tuberville said. "He's a young guy but they've got confidence after going to a bowl game last year, won a bowl game. They've got a lot of momentum and they've got a good running back.

"The thing about June Jones is he's going to do the same thing. And they work on it, and work on it and work on it — so they're not going to make a lot of mistakes. So we've got to go out and play well."

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