Friday, March 22, is one of the days for which Texas Tech fans have been waiting ever since Kliff Kingsbury came back home in mid-December to be head coach. The Red Raiders start spring football practice.
Here are nine things you need to know about it.
■ They’re taking the show on the road. The Red Raiders will go to Midland on Saturday, April 6, to work out in front of the Petroplex fans. No one from Tech can remember when the Red Raiders have conducted a spring football practice outside of Lubbock — if ever.
■ You can’t watch — much. The NCAA allows each program 15 sessions of spring football practice. Kingsbury has opted to close 12 of the 15 to fans and media. From early indications, Kingsbury doesn’t want to reveal too much about the Xs and Os he has in store for the Red Raiders.
■ But you can watch on these days: April 6 in Midland, April 12 at Tech and the Red-Black Game on April 20 at Jones AT&T Stadium. So the Red Raiders will have seven workouts before the public gets to see them. Admission to the Red-Black Game is free.
■ You can’t talk unless you’ve played. Freshman and redshirt freshmen aren’t being made available for media interviews, which is another change for Tech. So some of the marquee 2012 signees such as receivers Reginald Davis and Dominique Wheeler will have to let their play do their talking. Texas coach Mack Brown has had such a policy for several years.
■ It’s a new year? That must mean another defense. Matt Wallerstedt will be the program’s fifth defensive coordinator in five years. Kingsbury hired him partly because they got to know each other last year at Texas A&M, but more because when Wallerstedt was at Air Force, the Falcons’ defense confounded Kingsbury’s mates at the University of Houston. And not many teams were keeping the Cougars in check back then.
■ They’re going to get more complicated. Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith says most college football teams rely on a few simple defensive schemes. That’s not his style. He wants to make opposing quarterbacks decipher a lot in a hurry, forcing them into mistakes. The Red Raiders plan to run 3-4 and 4-3 defenses while incorporating more packages and calls than Tech has used in a long time.
■ It’s Brewer time, or is it? Nearly everyone expects Michael Brewer to take over as a Tech starting quarterback for the next three years. The Austin Lake Travis product seems to have a good mix of skills and the confidence that comes from having won two state championships in high school. But Kingsbury says he won’t just hand Brewer the job. He wants to see if redshirt freshman Clayton Nicholas and true freshman Davis Webb can be factors, too.
■ Don’t everybody leave at once. A lot of Tech’s receivers and defensive backs did. The Red Raiders lost five seniors at receiver and the starting cornerbacks and safeties from the 2012 team. Split end Eric Ward and nickel back Tre Porter are some leaders, but there’s still a lot of opportunity for players in those two position groups.
■ When Kingsbury returns to the Jones AT&T Stadium turf in some sort of official capacity, it will be the first time since when? How about Nov. 16, 2002. That was the senior day for Kingsbury’s class, and did he ever make the most of it, passing for 473 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-38 upset of No. 3 Texas. Now Tech fans want to see him do it all over again in a coaching capacity.