October 12, 2011

Notebook: Moving forward

Texas Tech head football coach Tommy Tuberville said his Red Raider squad looks like it has fully recovered from any hangover effect the Texas A&M game might have left.

The team, and the coaches, looked like they were having fun in their final group meetings before hitting the locker room.

"I think we've recovered mentally pretty well after losing the first game of the year," Tuberville said after Wednesday's practice. "That's the biggest concern for us with a lot of young guys out here that haven't been through it. I preach to them during the weeks we've been winning that you've got to handle that and you've got to be able to turn around and lose a game the same way.

"You've gotta get it off your mind, learn from it and go to the next week. I think so far they've done a pretty job of it and they understand that they have a very tough game against one of the top teams in the country again this week."

Tuberville added the previous two practices were good ones as well.

The Red Raiders are recovering from a health standpoint as well.

Right tackle Mickey Okafor and linebacker Pete Robertson are healthy and wideout Darrin Moore went through some of the drills and can be available to some degree against No. 17 Kansas State.

Tuberville said Moore's ankle and knee injuries are about on par. There's not a more significant injury than the other.

"It was good to see Darrin Moore out here today," Tuberville said. "His ankle is getting stronger, his knee s getting stronger. I do expect him to play this week."

All in all, it hasn't been a bad week.

"You don't get better in games," Tuberville said. "You get better in practice. Focus has been good, attitude has been good. Just ready to go again on Saturday night."


Tuberville said he wouldn't mind playing Texas in a Thanksgiving night series should Texas A&M's move to the SEC break up Texas and Texas A&M's Thanksgiving tradition.

"I'd be fine with it," Tuberville said. "You look at it as a chance to have a marquee game at the end of the year. It keeps your players in it. When I was at Auburn, we'd play Georgia and Alabama at the end of the year and you didn't have to worry about the guys being tired and bored and all that.

"You just rolled out there and had great practices and the fans were into it no matter what your record was. I think that always puts a little extra into the end of the season if you have a game that everyone's fired up about."

Tuberville then compared his Auburn days to the atmosphere at Jones AT&T Stadium last year when the Red Raiders closed out the regular season against Weber State and Houston.

"It wasn't that they weren't good teams or that we didn't want to play them," the head coach said. "It's just that sometimes fans would rather have a game at the end of the year that's a conference game and I would too.

"I'd rather have a conference game that could mean championship implications for either team or a traditional rival."

Tuberville said his opinion doesn't matter, however.

The head coach said TV rules scheduling in college football and the Big 12 might just slot TCU into Texas A&M's schedule.

Playing Texas on Thanksgiving would mess up the Red Raiders' scheduling with Baylor for neutral-site Metroplex games and, oh by the way, Tech will now go to Dallas-Fort Worth by default once every two years.

"Television does all this," Tuberville said. "Let's just get this all up front. We don't make these moves, television makes them," Tuberville said. "I'd be fine with that but what that would do is put us in a situation where we'd move Baylor on that weekend.

"And now that we're going to be playing a game every other year in the Dallas Metroplex that situation could change too. I don't know anything about that. We'll probably start talking about that at the end of the season."


Wednesday was the first day Tuberville was made available since his friend Mike Stoops was fired a the head coach of Arizona.

"A lot of times it goes two ways," Tuberville said. "When coaches think the end might be near, they might force the hand. I don't know the situation with Mike Stoops, he's a good friend of mine, I don't know what happened there but sometimes they say 'if you're going to do it let's get it over with.' Sometimes it's vice-versa.

"I've seen coaches that want a decision that want a decision in the middle of the year instead of waiting until the end of the year and I've seen sometimes universities decide they're going to make a change to get a leg up on some teams that may change later. It's never a good situation and you hate that it happens in this business but that's just part of it."

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