Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville said his team “didn’t look very good on offense,” and especially struggled in pass protection, during Thursday’s 65-play scrimmage that marked the Red Raiders’ final practice before the team takes off next week for spring break.
The upside, said Tuberville, is that the defense showed “more enthusiasm” and a better understanding of new defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow’s scheme, which contributed to the offensive struggles.
Tech, which was the first Big 12 school to open spring football drills, will return to the practice field the week of March 21. Tech caps its spring session with a controlled scrimmage on March 26 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.
“Defensively, we’re getting better and understanding what we’re doing. The running game is a little better,” Tuberville said, hitting on some of his impressions through 12 spring practice sessions. “But we were a little sluggish offensively (in Thursday’s scrimmage). The offensive line had its worst day in a long time.”
Among the pleasant spring surprises, said Tuberville, has been the rapid development of freshman linebacker Blake Dees (6-foot-1, 234 pounds), a 2011 signee who enrolled in January. The Spanish Fort, Ala. resident has taken snaps with the first-team defense in spring drills, although Tuberville said reporters should not read too much into that until a more concrete depth chart begins surfacing in fall drills.
At this point, Tuberville said coaches are “just trying to teach them what to do” in Glasgow’s 4-2-5 scheme and “not worrying” much about establishing a depth chart.
The starting quarterback race, which began with four candidates, appears to have narrowed itself to two primary contenders: junior Seth Doege, the only player on the 2011 roster who has taken a snap in a regular-season game, and sophomore Jacob Karam.
Tuberville said Doege, who started one game as a freshman in 2009, continues to hold a slight lead but Karam has “made a move” with his efforts this spring.
“His improvement has really excited us,” Tuberville said, adding that he sees only a “close gap” between his top two QBs.
Asked about Doege, Tuberville said: “Mentally, I like where he’s at. Physically, he’s got to get stronger.”
Doege, who has taken the most snaps in the Red Raiders’ three scrimmages, likes his opportunity to land the starting job, which probably will not be finalized until fall drills.
“I feel like it’s my job to lose,” Doege said. “I’m confident about it … but I’m not going to be a starter until I’m named.”
_ Jimmy Burch