With two days down, the Red Raiders are now primed and ready to put on the pads. Head coach Tommy Tuberville was pleased with his teams second practice, but he knows all too well that you don't find out who really wants to play until people start hitting each other.
"It was a good day. We've got to get in a lot better shape in terms of being able to go for two hours. I thought the quarterbacks were throwing awfully well," he said. "Tomorrow will be a little bit of a different day. We've got to keep putting things in and see what happens when we start executing and having a little popping with the shoulder pads."
Tuberville has also been pleased with the maturation and leadership of senior quarterback Seth Doege.
"Oh yeah, Seth's done a great job. He did a great job last year. He was just trying to learn too. He's the type of quarterback you want to step up and say words to the defense, the kicking game. He's really grown up in a year's time."
Tubs not a fan of new helmet rule
Several new rules will be introduced this fall, including one rule where a player losing a helmet must come out of the game for a play and another which will move the kickoff from the 30 to the 35 yard line. Tuberville is A-ok with with new kickoff rule.
"I kind of like moving it up five yards on the kickoff. I was on the rules committee when we moved it back, and everybody was having more kick returns. Now concussions have become a bigger problem and injuries on kickoffs and returns. It's probably the right thing to do," he said. "I think you'll have more touchbacks."
He's not so happy about the helmet rule, however.
"The helmet coming off is what concerns me. I still don't understand that because you can get illegally get your helmet knocked off if the official doesn't see it," he said. "What if your center's helmet gets knocked off on the goal line on fourth and one? Your center's gotta come out because his helmet came off, and it wasn't his fault. That's the problem. Like any other rule, we'll have to fight through it, and see if there's any problems with it."
Brown likes Offensive depth
The media spoke with offensive coordinator Neal Brown for the first time since spring football on Tuesday. The offensive coordinator was pleased with his side of the ball after the first two days and is excited about the level of competition at the skill positions.
"Good energy. It's hard. We're playing flag football, but good energy. We've got a lot of depth at the skill position. There's some good competition at the individual spots on the O-line. We're probably not as deep as we need to be. We're probably a year away as far as that goes. But, guys are focused and moving around with a lot of positive energy."
Brown feels like there's not much drop off between the first and second string offense. He even feels like the second string out played the starters on Tuesday.
"You see us, we're kind of doing that 2 spot during skelly because we're deep at receiver and we can rotate. I thought our skill twos in team were significantly better than our ones in that team setting. Derek Edwards made a big play, freshman Quinton White made a big play, Brewer was sharp during that team period, and that makes us better. We've got competition up front too. Tony Morales will push Deveric Gallington, and we've got some interesting battles there on the inside with LeRaven, Alfredo, Brian Thomas when he gets back, and Beau Carpenter."
Players looking good coming back from injuries
You'd think that guys like senior receiver Alex Torres, senior tailback Eric Stephens, and sophomore running back DeAndre Washington would look a bit timid back on the practice field for the first time after major surgeries. Coach Brown said that, with the slight exception of Washington, those guys haven't skipped a beat.
"I can't tell a whole lot of difference to be honest with you. You can tell more on film than you can live. Eric and Torres were really good yeterday, and I didn't notice them falling off today. I thought DeAndre was significantly better today than he was day one. It's all mental with those guys, and a lot of it has to do with Eric and Alex is that their older. They trust their bodies more. DeAndre is still young, and it's the first time he's ever really been injured in his life. It's a little bit different for him."
Thomas behind right now
There has been quite a bit of excitement surrounding senior Texas A&M transfer guard Brian Thomas. Many expect Thomas to compete for a starting job, but Coach Neal Brown says that the newcomer will have to get in better shape and get over an acid reflux problem first.
"A lot. He's got an illness right now too, so it wasn't like the heat got to him today. He's fighting an acid reflux deal that's kind of flared up on him, but he's not anywhere close to where he needs to be. Yesterday when he practiced the whole time he looked as good as maybe anybody minus Waddle on several plays. Then there are sometimes after he goes several reps that there's a significant difference."
Secondary depth should prove vital
Coach Tubs is really happy with his depth in 2012 considering how shallow his Tech teams have been so far. He's really pleased with how many guys the Red Raiders will be fielding in the secondary this fall.
"Secondary-wise, we've got a lot of numbers now. We've got a lot of guys that have got to get a lot of reps. We're going to throw a lot at them and see which ones can pick enough up to play this year and which ones will redshirt. It looks like we're in pretty good shape in most areas."