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August 9, 2011

Notebook: Trying out new unis

Gallery: Red Raiders practice in new jerseys Ward is all about maintaining focus

In order to get used to their new, tight-fitting Under Armour uniforms, the Red Raiders took to the practice fields on Tuesday wearing their new jerseys.

The reaction was universally positive.

"I like them, they're just kind of a little tight," receiver Eric Ward said. "I like them. They look nice. If you look nice, you play nice."

"I'm loving it," safety D.J. Johnson said. "They fit tight, a little hard getting on. It feels like when you're a little kid and you couldn't get in a shirt or something and you start crying or something because you're stuck and you feel like you can't get out. It feels like that trying to put it on, but once you put it on it's pretty comfortable. It feels good."

Cornerback Tre' Porter feels less encumbered by the new jerseys.

"They're comfortable," he said. "They move with you. They don't hold you back. As a corner you've got to be more agile, so it's more comfortable for you to come out of your breaks and stuff."

Porter, along with several other players, was testing out one of several pairs of prototype cleats for Under Armour today. Porter was wearing a pair that had built in ankle braces, and they looked a bit like old boxers shoes. He liked the feel of the cleats.

"I was like 'Am I about to box?' he said. "But once I played in them, they're more fit for a corner because it's more tight when you come out of the breaks, so they're better. I like them, and they're lighter too."

CENTER DEPTH TAKES A HIT

Tech was thin at the center position on Tuesday as returning starter Justin Keown (sore back) and freshman Tony Morales (shoulder) missed practice.

"Tony Morales had a shoulder problem yesterday in practice," head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They're evaluating him to see what they want to do with it. So, could be good, could not be good. It just depends on what the doctors think, so we'll just wait and see what they say."

PORTER SETTLES IN AT CORNER

Tre' Porter spent his first nine months on campus bouncing around from cornerback to nickel back to safety, but may have finally found a permanent home at corner. The former four-star prospect admitted that the transition was a little difficult in the spring, but said Tuesday that he now feels a lot more comfortable at the position.

"It was kind of foreign to me at first, but I'm coming along," he said. "It's time that I've got to play more of that leadership role, because last year I just played that freshman role. This year I've got to play more of a leadership role. Kind of be like the leader for the corners. Not really the defense, just for the corners."

BIG OFFSEASON FOR JOHNSON

After an intense offseason, many players on the Texas Tech roster are looking lean, mean, and ready to play. Safet D.J. Johnson was one of the biggest benefactors of the offseason, putting on a considerable amount of weight and almost looking like a completely different player.

"I put on about 15 pounds," he said. "It was a really good offseason. We worked out hard, came in and did a little bit of extra stuff, did footwork things, hit the weights extra. We really built a team more. A team mentality. As far as the defense, the defense we just came together, everybody. We started to meet a lot more together, watch a lot more film. Everybody's getting involved."

Johnson is also enjoying the transition from corner to safety.

"I enjoy safety," he said. "Basically, you're just free. You've got to do a lot more communicating, so that's the harder part. A lot more thinking, a lot more communicating, but at the same time once you get everything down it just flows smoothly. When you're able to play freely you're able to do a lot more on the field and be a lot bigger of an impact than just playing corner."

CONCENTRATION LAPSES PLAGUE OFFENSE

Tuberville lamented the offense's lapses in concentration today during Tech's team period; these lapses mostly resulted in dropped passes.

"Offensively we're still making a lot of mistakes," he said. "Younger guys playing, you know, everybody is practicing. We're not even close to getting ready to start putting the first and second group together. We're giving everybody the opportunity this first week, week-and-a-half, two weeks to try and make the top 60 players. So, we're going to make mistakes in execution, timing, and some of those things.

"We need to pick it up when we're out here. We need to have a lot more concentration."


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