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February 1, 2012

Tommy Tuberville

COACH TUBERVILLE:  It's a great day for Texas Tech.  We just signed 17 new student‑athletes for this coming year, along with the nine that we had admitted at the semester.  It was a fun year of recruiting, coming off of pretty much a disastrous year in terms of wins and loss.
I thought our players played hard all year long, but it all comes down to winning and losing.  Sometimes you worry about that when you get into recruiting, but it had no effect.  Second straight year we've had a top ranked recruiting class.  I felt like this year would be a little more of a struggle because we had a lot of younger guys we signed last year.  Lot of guys that some of these recruits this year would have looked at and said, you know, that guy's only been there one year.  He's got three more years left.
Our coaches did an excellent job going out and selling Texas Tech and the football team in Lubbock, and it was fun.  Recruiting is getting to be more interesting each year in terms of all the services and the five and the four and the three stars.
But I was proud of our guys and how they fought.  We went into seven different states and recruited against some of the top ranked teams in the country.  Had success.  We were able to sell this program, and again, once we get these recruits on campus with their parents, it becomes a lot easier sell.  Especially when you've not had the success that you want to have.
But we've got a lot of speed.  We've got quickness.  We needed to get corners.  We got that.  We needed defensive and offensive linemen.  At every position we needed help, some, immediate help.  That's reason we went to the junior college ranks and brought in some early junior college players.  Even some that will come in in June.  Because in some of those areas, we're just in dire need of either depth or starters or more speed or more athletic ability.
So it's been a fun day.  It's been a fun year of recruiting these players.  A lot of the guys that we signed today, we actually started recruiting the first week that I was here on campus, and that's how recruiting has become.  You've got to get on them early.  You've got to work with them.  You've got to get them to your camps.  You've got to get them to your campus, come to ballgames, get to know the parents, the counselors, coaches, and it's an ongoing process.
But we were able to overcome a few obstacles and able to sign a lot of good players in this class that their citizenship and their academics are very good.  We have some that are going to have to fight hard to get their eligibility by the time June or July rolls around, but I don't foresee many of those having too many problems.
So, fun year.  Just to name a few things to go over a few house cleaning opportunities.  Jim Turner, our offensive line coach turned in his resignation yesterday.  Only been with us three or four weeks, but he took a similar job at the Miami Dolphins, and will be the new offensive line coach at the Miami Dolphins.  I have hired a replacement, but will be not able to announce that until tomorrow.
Ronnie Daniels has been reinstated back on the football team.  I think that his couple of months away from the team has made him a lot stronger person academically and athletically, and I'm anxious to see what he can do for us in the next three or four years.  He's an excellent athlete with a lot of ability.  I'm just excited him being back on the team.
He understands the situation that he's in, and one person is not bigger than the entire team.  He can help this team win games.  He can also be a detriment.  I want him to come back and be part of this team like he was before.  Players have accepted him.  He's done a great job in the weight room and working out.  So we're excited about Ronnie Daniels being back.

Q.  Can you expand a little about the need to dip into the junior college selections (Indiscernible)?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that we probably went for a little bit more experienced player on defense.  Most of the junior college guys are on the defensive side of the ball, guys at certain positions.  We had a little depth going in the season last year.  We were absolutely devastated by injuries, and we probably should have done a little bit more of this last year and had some more depth.  But we thought we could make it through it, but we weren't able to.
So we added some junior college players that some will be back.  Will have three years of eligibility, so it's not like they'll only be here two years.  One or two will probably red shirt, but it will still give us an opportunity to have more guys out there with ability that have some maturity.  They understand a little bit of the speed of the ball in terms of college football and help us.  We definitely need some help in some areas.
We have an opportunity to have a very good football team next year if some of these guys step up and help us in some areas.  There are some areas where we're very talented.  Hopefully this will give us an opportunity to have depth or starters at the position they're coming in to play.

Q.  Can you touch on the difficulties or what it's like (No microphone)?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  That was not brought up.  Most of these guys that we're recruiting, you recruit before you even start the season.  They look at that.  They look at the situation that you're in more than your record.  Most want to play.  Most want to go to school.
We're selling on the prospect of playing them on next year's team, not last year's.  It wasn't brought up too much.
It was brought up more by coaches that you're recruiting against, because everybody looks at negatives that they can go out and try to throw at you to try to steal players away from you.
We had probably half of our class recruited by almost everybody in the country.  When you get in those type of battles, you need to get your boxing gloves on, because things are going to get tough.
We knew coming off only a five‑win season that we'd have to address that quite a bit.  That actually didn't come up that much.  I think when it was brought up, it was given very little credence by the players that we were recruiting, and most coaches just went on to the next thing and tried to use whatever they needed to use to recruit.
Again, going back to our coaches, I'm proud of how they sold this program and how hard they worked and the dedication they had.  That's what it's about.  Your coaches have to do it.  They have to get out and sell themselves and the program and the community, and they did another very good job of it.

Q.  Are we going to start to see a little more recruiting in the Southeastern Conference states?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, because I know a lot about some of those areas.  A lot of those kids want to go to a conference that's maybe a little philosophy‑wise than what the SEC or ACC is.  ACC is a little more of a throwing conference than the ACC.  SEC is more of a running conference.
So if you look at who we go after in some of those areas, it's probably receivers, defensive backs, guys that play against more wide‑open offenses.  Robert Prunty is a guy that's from the east coast.  Most of those guys you will notice that we signed from those areas this year and even last year was because of him.  He's got many contacts in that area.  That's made him one of the top recruiters in the country.
He's gone to the east coast and signed top rated four or five star players since we've been here only in two years.  And he's gone in the state of Texas like he did this year and signed a couple of players that everybody wanted.
We have expanded our recruiting base.  We have taken, I guess I didn't even look at this list, probably over 50% of our class is from the State of Texas.  Normally we'll take a few more than that.
But we've broadened out to a few more junior college players.  We've gone to California to the high school players.  We've gone to the east coast for high school players and junior college players.  We'll continue to do that.  But because of the new academic rules, because of the new eligibility rules, the pie is not as big as it used to be, because you have to bring in players that you think can come in and compete on a national level in terms of athletics, and also on a national level in terms of academics.
We'll cover this state as much as we possibly can, but if we find players as we have the last two years outside of this state on either coast, we'll go after them.  I think we'll continue to have success with that.

Q.  Can you tell us about your quarterback?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We'll have Seth Doege at quarterback going into spring, number one.  Michael Brewer, number two, as most of you, I think have printed and talked about this.  Scotty Young has decided to transfer, so we'll have two quarterbacks going into spring practice.
We signed one in this recruiting class, and pretty much that's what you need.  You need at least three.
If you look at all of the established teams across the country that haven't had coaches there five, six, seven years, you're probably going to have at least four quarterbacks on scholarship.  I thought we'd have four this year, but with the transfer, it just didn't work out that way.  But we'll be fine.  We'll be fine.
Plus, we signed a couple guys this year that we're going to look some at quarterback, because they played quarterback in high school and what they did.  We want to become a little bit more of a throwing quarterback situation, along with maybe a running quarterback situation, which a lot of teams have done and had success.  Maybe rotating quarterbacks, playing different quarterbacks.  So we'll actually have more than two this spring, because we'll practice more than a couple with some of the guys on this team already that have played quarterback back in the past in the wildcat situation.
So we're in pretty good shape.  We're not in the best shape you'd probably want to be in going into spring practice, but I like the two guys that we've got going in, and there is going to be a lot of competition there.

Q.  How important was Clayton to keeping this class together?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Well, Clayton has been with us all along.  He committed to us very early.  He's a guy that we wanted.  He's the type of quarterback we want to recruit here, more of a dropback guy, tall, rangy, has a very strong arm.  He competes well.
Had a chance to watch him in a lot of the seven on seven games last summer.  Not only here around campus, but also at the state championship.  My son was in the state championship seven on seven, and had a chance to watch Clayton compete there.  He's a competitor.  He'll fit in very well with the quarterbacks that we have, and he's the type of guy that you want on your team.
He's very athletic and throws with both arms.  Very unusual, throws it right‑handed, left‑handed.  Very athletic and good baseball player, so we're excited about Clayton.

Q.  (Asking about Scotty Young)No microphone)?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Just playing time.  He felt like he could go somewhere else and he might get on the field a little bit sooner.  That was his reasoning.

Q.  Coach, missing out on David Williams, are you satisfied with what you've got in this class at running back?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Oh, yeah.  Well, Quinton's going to be a running back.  Bradley Marquez, we've moved him to running back.  Just looking yesterday, we had our first winter workout.  Looking at the running backs in one situation, we've got more now than we've had.  We felt like adding one more from the junior college ranks might give us a little bit more depth, but with Ronnie coming back, we're in a pretty good situation.
It's going to be hard to play all those guys as it is if all of them stay healthy.  But once we get DeAndre back, Eric Stephens is back and rehab's going great.  We'll be in a very good situation.
The spring is going to be more of a youth movement, so to speak.  But when you get those two guys back, it looks a lot better than what it will look this spring with experience.

Q.  Looks like you've got some dynamic play makers and receivers?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, it's pretty interesting, because we have a very, very good and solid group of receivers coming back.  Then when you add Javon Bell and Dominique Wheeler, I think one of the most exciting receivers I've ever seen at a wide receiver position in terms of catching the football.  He's not a very big guy.  He's tall.  He's skinny.  He'll gain weight.  But he has tremendous hands.
He's one of those guys that has a knack of playing receiver, getting open, catching the ball, running with it after the catch.  Then you have Reginald Davis who is a quarterback in high school, could play receiver, could play some slot, heck, could play defensive back.  He's that type of athlete, kind of like Keenan Ward.
We went out and signed five or six guys that could play all kinds of positions.  You know, again, in high school if you just look at every situation, especially in this state with so many spread offenses, most high school coaches put their best player at quarterback and running back.  So we've tried to sign as many of those as we possibly can.
If you look at Chris Perry, for instance, he was a receiver running back guy in high school, now playing linebacker.  You just go on and on down that list.  Normally every player that you sign usually has one or two position changes while they're on the roster, whether it might be a receiver on the inside, receiver on the outside, maybe a tight‑end position.
What we did this year is we went after as many athletes as we possibly could.  We weren't the fastest team in the Big 12 last year.  I think after this recruiting class, we'll move up in that rank in terms of speed that we put on the field on both sides of the ball.

Q.  So you tried to play pretty multiple on defense last year.  How does this recruiting class fit in with that?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  It fits in pretty good.  We've gone back and looked.  We've probably played 65, 70% four‑man front last year.  So this conference forces you to play a four‑man front a lot, because the pass rush, being able to rush four men instead of three.  Even if you're in the three‑man front, you're usually going to bring a linebacker from the left or right side so it turns into a four‑man front.
So what we recruited last year for this year, along with the junior college players is really going to fit nice.  Just looking at our depth chart late last night, thinking about the guys that we might bring in today.  We're so much farther ahead now defensively than what we had been going into spring practice, just by the size of defensive tackles, the type of defensive ends.
When you look at Branden Jackson and Kindred Evans, those type of guy that's we red shirted last year.  Then linebacker, my gosh, it was linebacker by committee.  Just trying to find somebody that was healthy enough to play.  This year just looking at the group, bringing up Justin Cooper who red shirted last year, and the junior college players we're bringing in and the guys we signed like Micah Awe, and some of the other players that just bring a different type of linebacker than we've needed.  Some guys that can tackle in open field, because you really don't play linebackers in this conference.  You play six or seven defensive backs.  But the linebackers that you do have need to be bigger than your safeties.  Where, at times when they do run the ball, you can take on linemen.
We're making that adjustment.  Slowly but surely it takes time to readjust what we want.  Then getting bigger defensive linemen.  We've got to get bigger and stronger defensive linemen each year.  Of course, the ones we have now are growing up and becoming better and bigger at their position because of the weight room.  They don't come in overnight.  They don't grow that fast.
We're starting to look a little bit more like a Division 1 football team on defense.

Q.  Would you say this is a satisfying recruiting class, better than expected when you look back to where you were in Dallas after the Baylor game?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  No, well‑‑ well, you're saying after the Baylor game?

Q.  Yeah.
COACH TUBERVILLE:  No, it's‑‑ it's probably a little better now.  I thought ‑‑ as coaches sometimes you don't look at it as the glass half full.  You look at it half empty when it comes to recruiting, because you look at the negatives and the positives.  After that type of season and really how we felt, man, it's going to be tough because we're going to get hit from all angles.  We got hit from all angles, but our coaches did a good job.
Once we got guys like Michael Starks who everybody wanted up until the last day, Dominique Wheeler, Reginald Davis, all those guys that were sticking with us, it gives you some stability.
Other players say, hey, they're going.  Something must be good about it.  I think they communicate a lot.  A lot of these kids Facebook each other and say, hey, come with us.  We're going to make this a lot better than what it is now.
So it makes you feel good that even though this is about as bad as it gets, it's going to get for us, we were able to get close to, well, a top, I guess, somewhere around 25 or maybe a little less recruiting class if you want to go by those, just in the sense of, hey, the glass is not empty now.  It's filling back up.
I'm excited about it.  As I told you all last year, I'd never dreamed we'd have that type of recruiting class after the first year.  It's just almost impossible.  Coaches did a good job this year.  Pretty much about the same, and it will get better.  We'll even move up.
Once we start having a lot more positive things happen to us during the season, then it will even make that better.  But there's a lot of these guys that obviously could have very early said the way this season went, I'm not going.  But we didn't have anybody defect or anybody that wavered.  We had a lot of people that tried to make them waiver, but it didn't work out for them, it worked out for us.

Q.  Can you talk about the addition of Michael Starks and where you'll use him?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We'll start him out at defensive end.  He's a big young man,  a heck of a basketball player.  He's thick.  He's one of their class leaders in their school.
Went to his high school last week.  I get one visit.  For obvious reasons, I waited until the last day to go, fighting off the wolves.  They were all in there.  One of the National Championship coaches said he wants to go in and play early, and he wants to go somewhere where he feels like he can be effective and help and be part of a good program.  So he stuck with us.
Guys like that make you feel good.  He committed to us a few months ago, and he's never really even thought about going anywhere else.  He's got a good family.  People in the high school are very good.
Even though they're much closer to some of the other Big 12 schools, he stuck with us all the way.  He was one of those guys that gave us a lot of notoriety and security in terms of looking at this guy saying, hey, he's going.  So can I.  I want to be part of that.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yep, very unusual to say the least.  I don't think a month ago we could have counted on that.  We knew about all of them across the country.  But he's a guy that I don't think there is any doubt once we got Chris Payne from his high school, it helped.  He was recruited by everybody in the SEC and the ACC.
He can play a lot of positions.  He might be if you look at his highlights, a guy that looks like the MVP of a recruiting class, if you have one.  I don't think we have one.  But just from his highlights and what he does, how he plays the game.  As a receiver, he's phenomenal.  Running away from people, catching the ball with his hands, he's a special athlete.
But to get him to believe in what we're doing, we brought him here.  He's one of those guys that you can go to a lot of schools, but do I have a chance to catch 10 or 15 balls a game?  Here, obviously, all you have to do is look at the film and look at the stats from other players and then have that opportunity.
Then having a friend here that he didn't play with.  Chris is three years older than he is, but some stability here coming in and playing.  He had a great time this weekend around the other recruits here.  I think he's going to fit in great.
It's pretty important for a program like ours at the point that we're in to be able to retract somebody not only that high profile, but that high profile that far away from home.  I think it sends a pretty good message to a lot of recruits that the next few years we can say this guy was recruited by everybody.  He came 1500 miles away from home.  He came here and he's going to be an impact player.  It will be a good selling point for us the next few years.

Q.  How many of these or any of these can you perceive having an immediate impact?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  It's obvious the junior college players.  I don't bring junior college players in to sit on the bench.  Most of those players you can see how they fit into the needs that we have.  Other than Javon Bell, he's one that we got on early,  a receiver that could have gone anywhere from junior college.  Not that we needed another guy.  We needed a guy like him that could stretch the field with a lot of speed on the outside.
Fortenberry, offensive player.  We need offensive linemen.  We have some good ones.  I think we had 11 on scholarship going into this signing class.  You need 16, and we're still even after this signing class going to be short of that.  So we're steadily climbing back to it.
Most of them are linebackers, defensive linemen, defensive backs and they all can run.  We need players.
Now the wide receivers or the running backs or the offensive linemen, quarterback, high school players, we give them all the opportunity.  I think most of them figure out after the first three or four weeks whether they can help or not.  I hope they can.  I hope they all can help us win games next year.  That means we're going to be pretty good.  But I wouldn't perceive too many of the high school guys playing.  But I would say probably three or four have an opportunity to come in and push for either a starting position or back‑up position, and then play a big role on special teams.

Q.  (No microphone) Chris Payne and Micah Awe, will they play linebacker?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  No, they'll play linebacker, but it's like playing safety.  Because in this conference, most of the time you have one linebacker type on the field who is usually over the center playing the run.  The other two are moved out if you're playing zone defense.  If you play man defense, then you have the opportunity to move one of those linebackers back in.
But I was looking for guys that had quickness, speed, oversized.  I'm not really worried about how big they are.  Some of the better linebackers I've coached in my 30‑something years of coaching have been the smaller type linebackers that can make open field tackles, that can chase people down from behind or good blitzers, can play manned coverage.
In this league, you need all of that.  You don't need the big 250‑pound linebackers that lineup inside and think they're going to have to take on a fullback, and tackle a tailback.  That doesn't happen in this league.  Maybe a couple of teams are starting to change over to that.  But right now you need more athletes that look more like defensive backs than anything else.  I think we fulfill our needs pretty good in that area.

Q.  So you'll have Terrance Bullitt play linebacker?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, he'll play linebacker.  But as I said, being an outside linebacker in this league means you play a strong safety type.  He's usually outside and cover down on a wide receiver.
He'll pretty much play the same position he played last year.  The only difference will he'll be called a different name in terms of the position he plays.  That's the only thing that will change there.

Q.  Can you talk about Bradley coming back?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We'll look at it in spring.  He's going to play receiver too.  He's a guy that can run screen passes and a very good blocker on the outside.  We want to look to see what we can do with him in the back field.
We'll be experimenting with a lot of different personnel settings going into the spring, because we have Javares McRoy who could play running back.  He's 180 pounds, but he can fly.  He can play slot.
We want to get as much speed on the field on offense as we can.  We're going to look a little bit like we did last year, but we're going to look a little different too.  I'd say a little bit more of a mix of what Oregon does.  The fast‑paced stuff, the handoff, quick handoffs, the reads, all those things.  So we're trying to get guys in the right position.
We know what Bradley can do in the outside.  In spring, first week or so, we want to put him in position to see what he can do out of the back field if we run two or three back sets.

Q.  You mentioned the impressions like you have three guys listed as athletes.  Do they have a chance of playing defense early more so than offense?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yes, SaDale Foster is one of those junior college players that he did so much.  He made All American in junior college, first team, which is hard to do.  He's a great kick and punt returner, which I think that might be his number one priority early.  We've got to have somebody that's consistent, whether it's punt returns, kick returns.  He'll have the opportunity to do that.
Plus he made most of his plays in junior college on offense at slot receiver.  But if you look at our slot receivers, it's going to be hard to beat one of those guys out with experience.  So we're going to start him off with running back.
Again, he was a Wildcat guy some.  He can run the ball.  He's very nifty.  He can make you miss.  But he's thicker.  He'll be a 200‑pounder, 205 pounder when we get into fall.
Gladney's is one of those same guys.  He could probably come in tomorrow and be a starter or back‑up for us at corner with his athletic ability and his height.
I coached a player at Auburn by the name of Carlos Rogers who is now playing for the 49ers.  He looks an exact replica of Carlos.  Carlos played receiver in high school, receiver in prep school for Coach Prunty.  He's from Augusta, Georgia, and now he's one of the top Pro Bowler corners.  He's that type of athlete that can play.
Then Keenan Ward, we talked about him.  Keenan is going to be a utility player in a lot of positions his first year.  He could be a returner, he could be a guy that plays running back, he could play slot, he could play corner.  He could play free safety.  We've just got to get him in the right spot.
Again, he's the type of guy that we'd like to say put him in there, let him learn, red shirt him.  He could be one of the better ones we have.  So we'll just have to wait and see.

Q.  How about dinner at your house?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  His mother's not going to let him go anywhere.  You he doesn't know that yet.  But I've got to go be on the other side in a few weeks and go to four or five different universities across the country.  So I'll be on the other side of the coin.

Q.  Talk about your high school quarterbacks that you're bringing in?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Who was the first one?

Q.  Thierry Nguema?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Oh, yeah.  Who was the other?  New Bowl?

Q.  Yeah.
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah.  Pretty interesting.  Both are‑‑ we signed them simply from their quickness, how quick they are, their feet, how they explode.  Newbold's going to be the bigger guy.  Probably would be more of what we call a feel corner.  A guy that can make plays, height.  They throw go routes on the outside, things like that.
Thierry, and what we'll refer to him over the years as Thierry, because I can't pronounce all that other‑‑ but he's a guy that he's so quick that we don't have anybody on the team like him.  He's a guy that can flip the hips, turn.  Not turn his shoulders, but turn his hips and run and still look back the other way.  You need a lot of that when you play in this league.  When you play manned coverage or zone, you need to be able to do that.
Both of those guys were excited about corner.  Last year, having to move wide receivers to cornerback didn't help us a whole lot.  So hopefully we can get true corners back there to play and get everybody back in the positions we need them to play.

Q.  How good was that?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  It was good.  We signed him last year.  He probably grew up.  Biggest thing is maturity.  He's only 155, 160 pounds.  He's not ever going to be much bigger than that.  All he did all fall is work on weights.  Work on his speed and quickness, and made him more hungry in terms of being able to come here and play.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  You know, he's got a good ways.  But he can qualify.  I don't think there's any doubt.  He's probably closer than three or four other guys that we have on there.  He's got some work he has to do.  Got behind in his core courses a little bit.  But the thing about it is a lot of these guys finally start seeing the sense of urgency in their last semester.
But just what he's done just in the last three or four weeks we've noticed in the classroom, and doing things is one of the reasons we decided to go ahead and continue to try to recruit him.  But he's got a great chance to get his eligibility.

Q.  Who is your biggest concern right now?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Oh, I don't know.  There are three or four of them.  I wouldn't bring their names up.  I think glad knee's one that pretty much everybody kind of heard that he had a lot of room for improvement, but there are several of them.
Not any of these guys are ready to go.  They all have work to do.  Nobody's reached that point of where they're in.  So we'll just have to wait to see what all of them do in terms of getting their eligibility.

Q.  The Oregon offense had their helmets tweeted out (No microphone).
COACH TUBERVILLE:  No, what you see up here is what we're going to wear.  Somebody said you have silver helmets.  What you do, and I tell all of you, we're in the business of sales.  These kids come in and want to see bright lights and bright uniforms.
Oregon's opened up a can of worms.  What we do is put them all out there.  We've got red helmets and all kinds of stuff that we put out there.  This is how many different combinations we can have.  We're still going to be red and black because that's what we are.
What you try to do is give them the opportunity to look and see the possibilities of what you can do with your colors.

Q.  So no silver helmet?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  No, no.  I'm not big on the silver helmet.

Q.  Is that the final answer?

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