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October 7, 2019

Matt Wells

Lubbock, Texas

MATT WELLS: Because of their discipline and their accountability and their toughness, and I think that's a direct reflection of their coaching staff.

Q. Would you say Jack will be out the rest of the season. How comfortable are you with (indiscernible) progress and him having a bigger role or Casey?
MATT WELLS: I think Weston and Casey, you know, now is the time for them to step up. They're going to get a lot more opportunities done. They're going to get more snaps. It's a time for Terence to up his game as well. I think that's something that doesn't ever get mentioned enough. But it's similar to Jett's performance on offense. Jett had a good performance because the guys around him played well. Dawson Deaton needs to up his fame and play well. I thought Dawson played well Saturday. Terence played well.

But the guys around those two guys need to produce and to play well as well, not just those two.

Q. What is it about Terence. He started 39 games. Every one of them had been a tackle. What was it about him that you'll look at him and say (indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: It wasn't anything. It had nothing to do with the last 39 games. Nothing. I mean, we moved him to left in training camp, and then he got hurt this summer so we moved Bruffy back. Then he came in, Bruffy's playing pretty good. Comes back the Arizona game so he goes to right because he's played both. Then Jack goes down and we need him at right guard because we didn't think Casey was ready for the entire game at right tackle and we didn't think Weston was ready for the entire game at right guard.

So I don't think it's a secret or anything. I think you'll see all three guys on the right side in some kind of combination.

Q. Who do you think will fill the role Saturday?
MATT WELLS: A lot of guys. I don't know. I don't know. Stringer, Benson, Rambo, Tyrique Matthews. I mean, I don't know. KP is going to figure it out. He'll figure it out by Saturday.

Q. You mentioned Rambo. He hasn't played in the past couple weeks. Is he back?
MATT WELLS: Yeah, he should be back this week.

Q. (Indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: Day to day.

Q. (Indiscernible). Is there a Matt Wells guy that (indiscernible)?
MATT WELLS: No. I think it's our mindset at Texas Tech that our guys have to take on the road. I think so much of it has to do with Monday through Friday, and you do have to have a mindset of how do we play together on the road because we don't have the energy. We don't have the crowd. Our Jones stadium crowd, all that kind of stuff, but teams have to learn to win on the road so we're 0-2. I think part of the plan is Monday through Friday, we've got to practice well and play well here before we get on the road. There's no magic formula. You better win in the trenches.

Q. When this game was announced (indiscernible)
MATT WELLS: Quite honestly, I expect to see a lot of Red Raiders down there. I know we have a tremendous alumni contingent in Dallas, in the Metroplex, and Houston is not that far either. I do expect to see a lot of them. I know some of them have already reached out to me, but they're not all going to reach out, I get that.

Texas Tech fans travel well. We traveled well to Tucson. There was a good contingent in Norman. So hopefully, they'll turn out but, we'll want to play well in front of them.

Q. Coach, last week (indiscernible). How do you teach this team to handle success?
MATT WELLS: Well, we'll see if we handle it well this week. We'll see how we do it. I think the biggest thing is you've got to learn to rinse and repeat. You've got to create a sense of urgency. You have to have really good practice habits.

Organizing your lifestyle, all the things you try to teach and try to change this culture here, that goes into it quite a bit.

But it's the players' mindset. The likes and the retweets and all that stuff needs to be over now. And the longer it lingers, the softer you get, to be honest with you.

Q. What did you think of Donta Thompson's game?
MATT WELLS: Donta's played well. He's an emotional player. He's a good practice player. He made some big catches that continued drives, especially early in the game on the third down, first or second series. Had to be the second, maybe the second series of the game. Good special teams player, playing well. Happy for him his senior year. Doing a good job.

Q. Catches a high percentage of balls that are in traffic.
MATT WELLS: Competitive catches. Not only Donta, but T.J. Vasher made some competitive catches. We always say you got to catch your share of 50/50 balls. T.J. made a couple catches that weren't 50/50. The odds say you know those ESPN deals, you guys seen the deal on analytics and all that stuff, percentage of catches, who in the world makes that number up? That's a heck of a deal, isn't it? Not anybody in this room?

Let the record state I did not say that. Okay?

I think some of T.J.'s catches, the catches that R.J. made down the west sideline, those aren't 50/50 balls. Those guys made really competitive catches in the game. KeSean made a great catch in the corner of the end zone. That's examples of guys stepping up and playing well around a quarterback and giving your offense confidence. But that's a great example. Donta's not the only one making competitive catches.

Q. Following up on that, particularly from the outside receiver standpoint, they were doing that against two cornerbacks that have started 31 games apiece with A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams. What do you think it was about this week your outside guys?
MATT WELLS: I don't know, Don. But Williams and Green are good. I mean, they're really good. I talked about them in here a week ago on Monday, if I'm not mistaken. They've got track speed. They are legit. They've got length. They're tall. They look taller than they're listed when you get out there and see them live on the field. Those guys are very talented and our wide-outs played well.

Q. How do you become more effective on third down? Is that something -- how do you work on that specifically, like in practice or (indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: You've got to be better before that. You've got to be better on first down. We struggle on third downs this week. We've got to play better before it. We'll be fine.

Q. Coach, (indiscernible) big weekend, huge win in front of the big crowd. Overall, what was the reaction?
MATT WELLS: Yeah, it was awesome. The kids that are willing to come to Lubbock, contrary to popular belief, we had a lot of kids here on the sideline. That energizes me in recruiting.

An 11 a.m. kickoff, which means warmups are at 10:00. So everybody can just do the math on how long it takes to drive to Lubbock, but there were a lot of kids driving and a lot of families driving because there were a lot of kids coming off Friday night games, and they weren't the ones doing the driving. It was moms or dads or a high school coach. So to get here before 10:00, let's just say they weren't all west Texas kids.

So that energizes me. I appreciate you noticing. But, yeah, wins like that do help recruiting. I think it shows progress. It's a step in the right direction. Certainly not there yet by no means. I know that. But recruiting's gone good. The reception's been good. And, you know, we got more work to do. We know that.

Q. Coach, week by week, (indiscernible). What's the range that you're comfortable with him kicking? (Indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: Yeah, that's kind of, that's kind of like our injury situation. It's kind of day by day. I'm not going to give it out in a press conference on Monday, come on, man. That's like handing the answers to the test and just faxing it right to Waco, man. Solid.

Q. (Indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: I said I watched that ESPN stuff with analytics. I don't watch the game with the green line, right? Do they do that in college, or is that just the NFL Sunday games?

Q. (Indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: Do they do that in the college game, though? Do they? Okay.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
MATT WELLS: Why is everybody laughing at you in awkward silence right now? What happened on the fake field goal?

Q. It looked like (indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: When you don't block a guy, it closes real quick. Unsuccessful. My fault.

Q. Where do you feel like you are now, and what do you feel like heading forward, (indiscernible)?
MATT WELLS: Good question. We're going to continue to play in that space, continue to play in the grad transfer market. We're going to have to stay old, I believe, here at Texas Tech. And we're going to -- you know, we'll keep scholarships for grad transfers.

We've been successful with them this year. I believe this logo's been successful with them in other sports. Notably, basketball. And just in the last place I was at, we had success with grad transfers. It's part of the world we live in right now. And those guys, if they're the right character, the right makeup with the right work ethic and they can fill a need, I believe they're going to add to our character and our culture here, and we'll look at them, we'll bring them in, and I think you'll see us kind of play in that space, if you will, the next -- for certain the next year.

Q. (Indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: No, I think it's probably me, my philosophy, Texas Tech. I think, you know, the thing that is, I think, a pretty cool story, somebody ought to write it -- I'm talking to a bunch of writers -- is the limited amount of seniors that we have right now and the play that you're getting out of those guys right now.

I mean, I'd have to kind of look, but there's a couple of them out for the year with injuries. But, I mean, we got like eight guys suiting up, maybe seven or eight, playing quite a bit, and they're playing some really good football right now, and they're playing some of the best football in their career.

Seniors are special. I've always said I think the seniors that we came in on December the 1st, I always said they're going to get everything we have, everything the coordinators have, Coach Scholz. We're going to pour everything because I believe they deserve to win, they deserve to have a great season.

We're building this program. We're not building this 2019 team. But it's this year, this season, this team, and the investment that we're going to put into it for those guys to go out a winner and to, I think, create a championship foundation and a culture here and chase a championship.

We're going to get in the fight. We're right in the middle of the fight right now. It's game 3 of the fight and we're excited. But those seniors, you can start to see, you know, the clock ticking, if you will. They know they got seven, hopefully eight, maybe nine. We'll see. We don't put a limit on it.

All we're worried about is this week. But, you know, I think you add grad transfers, and they're coming in for the right reasons and they're the right guys, then our program will open our arms up, wrap our arms around them, teach them how we do things, but then I think they'll also add to who we are, not only on the field but in the locker room.

Q. (Indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: I'm not prepared to talk about that right now. Respect the question, but we haven't made any decisions yet.

Q. Is he out right now?
MATT WELLS: He has been out, correct.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
MATT WELLS: Xavier is going to have surgery tomorrow. He'll be out for the year. Yeah.

Q. (Indiscernible).
MATT WELLS: He's a little ways away. But, you know, like when I said he'll be out for an extended amount of time for a while, that was a few weeks ago. So probably still looking at that timeline.

Q. It's a shoulder, right?
MATT WELLS: It's an upper body injury.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
MATT WELLS: You're welcome. Appreciate you all.

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