After ending 2011 on a five game losing streak, head football coach Tommy Tuberville just felt good to go out and get a 44-6 win on Saturday night. He felt his team was focused and prepared, and he sees a lot of room for improvement.
"That's a lot better. It feels a lot better coming in here to see you guys after last year. That was a good start, very good start. We were really prepared to play this game," he said. "It was fun to see it all kind of come together. We didn't play near as good as we can play, which is good. We've got to get better each week in each game."
Kennard shines in opener
Wide receiver Marcus Kennard came out and had a big game against NSU after dropping off a bit at the end of fall camp. Tuberville felt he made the most of an opportunity with Darrin Moore sitting out.
""Like I told him before the game, this is your opportunity. You have to make the best of it, and he did. He made some good catches, and he gives you that extra height on the outside," he said. "He's worked hard. He had a great first week, and in the second and third week was not quite as good, but I hope this gives him confidence."
"It enabled everyone to see that Marcus Kennard's gotten quite a bit better."
Doege satisfied with win, not his performance
Quarterback Seth Doege, who sat out once the fourth quarter rolled around, was pleased with Tech's first win of 2012. He likes the way the team prepared for Northwestern State and is ready to head to San Marcos next weekend.
"It feels good. Any time you win a game, it feels good. I felt like we were more prepared as a team and kind of went into it with a different attitude than we had last year," he said. "I think we're going to have a good team. We just need to continue to get better each week."
He was not, however, excited with the way he himself played. He finished 23-34 with 199 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He felt he really underperformed as a passer and needs to play much better here on out.
"I don't think I threw the ball particularly well. I pride myself on being one of the most accurate passers, and that's something I really worked on, so I don't think I was as accurate as I wanted to be today," he said. "The drew a lot of people, so we couldn't get the ball downfield as much as we wanted to. I felt I did a good job managing the game. I just need to keep improving and be ready to play in the next one."
Hyder, Kaufman content with performance
For the first time since 2007, the Red Raiders did not give up a touchdown on defense. The unit held the Demons to six points, but defensive tackle Kerry Hyder knows that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
"It's definitely a plus after how many points we gave up last year. Defense is playing well, but we have to keep moving forward. This is not the competition we're going to face week in and week out in the Big 12. This is just a small sample."
Defensive coordinator Art Kaufman was glad with the way his defense performed. Kaufman wanted to gauge his team and find out where they were from a fundamental standpoint, and he came out mostly satisfied.
"Today to me was all about us finding out where we are. I told our players that this isn't about who the opponent is, this is about what we're doing and how we're going to handle reaction to things happening in the game that were tough situations," he said. "I thought the guys were into what we were doing, how to do it, and trying to get a feel for where we are for the year because that's the first time that we've had enough live tackling. I think it's a starting point for us. I told them, I said hey, I'm not going to be an optimist or a pessimist. I'm a realist, and let's go find out where we are."
Brown wants more consistency
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown thought his unit got out to a good start on Saturday night but had some inconsistent moments as the game wore on.
"I thought our kids came out and we played a really good tempo early on in the game. I thought we played hard, and that was kind of our emphasis going into this game. We played a lot of guys for the first time in college," he said. "We looked really good at times, and sometimes we didn't. I would've liked to finish some of those drives where we kicked field goals. All in all, for the first game, I was pleased."
One of the biggest positives that came from Saturday, according to Brown, was the play of redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Brewer. Brewer came in and played very well in the fourth quarter, going 10-13 for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
"I was excited. The thing about Brewer is, he's not scared of the moment. Anytime you've got to follow up the best player in the country, Gilbert, coming out of high school, and you've got to step in at Lake Travis, he wasn't scared to go in there during the fourth quarter," he said, "10 of 13, I thought he handled himself really well. He stayed in control, and it was good."
Stephens glad to be back out there
Saturday night's opener was the first time that senior running back Eric Stephens stepped on a football field for a game since last October. The tailback looked like himself for the most part, rushing 16 times for 58 yards and two touchdowns. The RB felt he did alright and thinks he'll pick things up next week.
"I felt I played ok. I'll get better as the season goes along. That takes time. I think I did alright for my first time in about a year."
Stephens admitted that he was nervous about getting hit to start the game, but once he got popped a little bit, everything was all gravy.
"My mom texted me before the game and I asked me how I felt. I said I was ready, but I was kind of nervous. I thought once I got that first hit I would be good, and that's exactly how it was. I was good to go."
The tailback was just plain excited to be back out there, whether he scored or not.
"It felt great to be back out there period, touchdown or no touchdown. That just made it that much better though. It felt good just to be out there making plays again."
It was a good start for the running back and the rest of his crew, but he knows that things will only go up from here.
"I feel like we've got a lot of room for improvement. We ran the ball 40 something times I think, and we could've had a much more productive night than we did. I think it'll get better."