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August 16, 2012

Notebook: Defense improving

Tuberville pleased with practice this week

Texas Tech is well into its second week of fall camp, and head football coach Tommy Tuberville has been pleased with his team's progress the last few days.

"Pretty good practices the last couple of days," he said. "The energy is good. We're grinding right through it. We've got a little pushing around out here in practice, and that's cause they're tired. We've got a two-a-day practice tomorrow, and it's going to be even hotter, but we're getting better each day.

"If we can just keep the majority of them out here practicing, keep them going and learning with what we're doing in technique and fundamentals, we'll get better. We'll be much better by the first game, but we've got a lot of room for improvement."

The biggest improvement seems to have come from the team's defense. Art Kaufman's unit has played well this week, and the offense has struggled a bit as a result. You won't hear Tuberville complain, however.

"It's good to see our defense, you know they're having a lot of fun," Tuberville said. "We've got good leadership over there. They want to play better, and they understand the situation that we were in and the situation that we're in now. We've got a much better chance. We're making progress, but we're not there yet. After that scrimmage you can see a little progress with what we're teaching."

Defense wins scrimmage

Tuberville was pleased with his defense's play during Wednesday's half scrimmage and thought the offense took the day off mentally.

"The defense won the scrimmage," he said. "I don't think we scored but one time. I think we had to put the ball on the four yard line to do that. The defense got much better.

"We were sloppy in the running game and sloppy in play action on offense. Offense is all execution, and you can't take it for granted. They took it for granted yesterday."

Tuberville noted several players that had a good scrimmage including starting middle linebacker Will Smith and cornerback Bruce Jones.

"I thought the linebackers played well. It was Will Smith's best practice. Bruce Jones is getting much better at corner. Right now we've got (Eugene) Neboh and Cornelius (Douglas) in the training room with groin injuries. It's good to get them healthy and get some work with (the backups) on the first team.

"I thought Austin Stewart made one of the best moves in terms of getting better on defense. On offense, SaDale Foster, he's going to be hard to keep out. He's a guy that can see the field well. He makes good cuts."

White out with broken foot

True freshman running back Quinton White broke a bone in his foot during Wednesday's scrimmage and will be out for at least six to seven weeks.

"It was non-contact, just planted and broke the outside bone on the foot," Tuberville said. "Tomorrow morning they're going to put a pin in it. Hopefully he's back in six or seven weeks."

White's injury leaves the Red Raiders with four scholarship running backs on the roster -- Eric Stephens, DeAndre Washington, Kenny Williams and SaDale Foster.

Washington feeling good

Coming off a torn ACL, sophomore running back DeAndre Washington told reporters Thursday that he feels great and is ready to go.

"The first week I was just kind of getting a feel for everything, trying to get my feet back on the ground, but now I feel like I'm picking up where I left off last year," he said. "I'm almost back to 100 (percent). I really don't feel like I hurt myself anymore. I make moves and cuts and don't really feel it anymore."

So what was the hardest part of coming back for the sophomore?

"I think the whole mental part of it," he said. "I never had a major injury before, so just bouncing back and figuring out how to come back from it."

For Washington, there was never any real doubt about whether he would make it back for the beginning of the season.

"We worked hard with the whole strength and conditioning staff and all the trainers," he said. "I just prayed about it every day, and they told me that if I did what they told me to do, they've seen a lot of players with this injury come back really soon, so I just took their word for it and kept going."

Now the running back has only one obstacle left in the way: real in-game contact.

"I'm ready to get hit just to get that feeling out of the way, get those jitterbugs out of the way."

Brewer not used to losing

Last season marked a first for quarterback Michael Brewer. Before 2011, Brewer had never been a part of a football team with a losing record. Quite the opposite, in fact. Brewer won four state championship rings -- two as the team's starting quarterback -- at Lake Travis High School.

Brewer redshirted last season, which made the experience of his first losing campaign that much more difficult.

"Honestly, I think not being able to play made it even worse," he said. "Made it harder on me. You've got to sit back as a redshirt and just watch and observe and there's not much you can do. You can't get out there and help your teammates out. It's a rough deal."

This season should be different for both Brewer and the Red Raiders. The team should return to the postseason, while Brewer is expected to play behind starter Seth Doege.

Brewer's ascension to the No. 2 spot as a redshirt freshman is not a surprise, but it became a mere formality following the departures of Jacob Karam and Scotty Young over the offseason.

"I didn't really put a lot of thought into (the transfers of Karam and Young)," Brewer said. "I wasn't going to change my work ethic whether they were here or whether they weren't. My goal was to backup Seth this year and get a lot of experience, get in the game some and do what I can to better him and the rest of the team."

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