Don't ask Texas Tech coach Mike Leach if the only way his team can survive this season is with the enthusiasm quarterback Steven Sheffield brings to the football field.
Sheffield missed last Saturday's 52-30 loss to Texas A&M with a left foot injury he sustained during the 31-10 win at Nebraska on Oct. 17.
The unispired loss to the Aggies cut deep with Leach, who, during his Monday weekly press conference, criticized his players for leaning so heavily on a player who may not have even played significant minutes if starting quarterback Taylor Potts hadn't suffered a concussion on Oct. 3 against New Mexico.
"That is just an excuse,'' said Leach, when asked if his team missed Sheffield's enthusiasm against the Aggies. "They can generate their own enthusiasm.
"They need Sheffield for enthusiasm and Sheffield does a great job of that, there is no question and that is an important role for a player to have. They need to have their own damn enthusiasm. What is the matter with you?''
Leach said his players must stop thinking Sheffield is the only player on this team who can generate enthusiasm. He also questioned his senior leadership during this most pressing time of the season.
"We travel 70 people to this game that can generate their own enthusiasm, and the fact that they have been at this for years and years and years should be reason for enthusiasm enough,'' Leach said. "Any mopey-whinyness, we will go roll around in some damn sand and see if that is enthusiasm.
"There are people we bring on the sideline because they do a great job of enthusiam. Like (redshirt senior defensive back) Trent Nickerson, like (freshman defensive tackle) Pearlie Graves, like (freshman quarterback) Jacob Karam. We are going to redshirt those guys, but those guys have great enthusiasm, and the notion that we are bringing underclassmen to generate enthusiasm and we have upperclassmen laying around here, that should tell you something right there.
"Those guys whining about enthusiasm can get off their (butts) and be enthusiastic.''
-- Dwain Price