- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
Tommy Tuberville is in his third year at Texas Tech. He went through a losing season in 2011, the first in 16 years for the program. That record put Tuberville in the crosshairs when it comes to coaching changes and the coach knows it.
What will be the impact of Art Kaufman on the defense?
Tuberville: You've got to have somebody that understands how to adapt to different offenses, how to make changes in terms of your personnel on defense and that only comes from experience. And Art's been there. We went through a lot of the same scenarios while we were at Ole Miss together. He did the same thing in the ACC the last few years of seeing different teams in that league each week.
Is Eric Stephens healthy at running back?
Tuberville: He's much better. I'd say he's probably 80 percent. Eric is our running back last year that he was off and having a great season. We were hoping to have a thousand-yard season out of him. And he was looking very good. And we get into the Texas A&M game, and it was devastating. It wasn't just a knee injury, it was a leg injury. Total replacement. It was one of those that you hate to even think about. But he's gone through now eight or nine months of hard rehab after his surgery.
How much has the lack of depth hurt you when it comes to special teams play?
Tuberville: You have to bite the bullet and get your starters out of the game on some special teams. You can't just keep leaving them out there because they get so many reps.
As I said last year, Texas A&M game, we ran 119 plays on offense in one game. That's two games in any other conference, most every other conference. Normally you have about 70 snaps, 65 snaps. And so last year we had to play some guys that probably weren't ready to play on special teams, but you can't leave your same guys out there play in and play out.
How much pressure are you under to win games?
Tuberville: Just being here a couple of years, everybody said: You're on the hot seat. I'd like to coach a few of these guys I recruited. So hopefully we can get this thing going a little bit better each year. We're not there yet. I'll be the first to tell you but we're much closer than we were three years ago.
Is there any concern with the size of your defensive front?
Tuberville: Yeah, we are not that big. We've gotten bigger. That happens in the weight room. Some guys need to lose weight when you get them. Some guys need to gain weight. Some guys need to gain strength. The area we were lacking a lot at last year was people ran the football right at us. And we were a non-factor with our front four. This year our two starting defensive tackles will be around 290. One backup that will be about 310, which is much better than in the past.