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August 10, 2011

Notebook: Looking for leadership

Notes: Defense takes advantage Photos: Raiders go full pads DL helps defense win day

Just 24 hours after telling reporters that Tech's offense needed to improve its concentration, Tommy Tuberville again expressed disappointment that side of the ball.

"Offensively, we took a big step backward," he said. "We've got to find some leadership on offense. Guys are just kind of going through the motions. I know the first game is three weeks away, but we have no room to waste a practice like this on offense today. We just didn't look very sharp, didn't look like we were trying to get better."

Tuberville said the Red Raiders' offensive players -- especially seniors and quarterbacks -- to step up from a leadership standpoint.

"Well, usually your leaders come from your seniors, guys that have been out here," he said. "We have a few seniors on the offensive line, that's about it. We don't have a huge group of seniors on the offense so I expect those guys to do as much as they possibly can. But, as I told them, it can be freshman, sophomores, doesn't make a lot of difference.

"Right now, as we all know it, in these practices, in the heat of the day, most guys are just trying to survive, but there's got to be somebody out there to get them motivated. Coaches can't do it themselves; it's got to come from peer pressure. So, Seth (Doege), Jacob Karam, it's got to come from the quarterbacks. We're just not very vocal, so hopefully that'll start to come."


After coming to Tech from the the JUCO ranks, Donald Langley worked his way into the starting lineup early on. Now that he is a senior and likely key cog on the defensive line in Chad Glasgow's 4-2-5, Langley is trying to pass on some of his knowledge to the guys behind him.

"I feel like each and every day we're just getting better, so me being a senior and this being my last year you've got to bring the young guys along," said Langley. "Each and every day you've got to give more and more experience and more and more knowledge that you had so when they get older they can do the same thing. Our depth is looking better, so each and every day we're just getting better, so we just got to see where that goes."

Langley has also been impressed, like most others, with defensive end Leon Mackey. The two bonded over the summer and have learned to aid each other on the field.

"Leon Mackey. You can see physically that he looks the part and he plays like that too, and we feed off each other," said the defender. "We gelled real quick. That's a good part, so when I'm down he lifts me up, and when he's down I lift him up, so that's what we need to go into the season."


Sophomore defensive end Aundrey Barr only played in four games last season before a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. While Barr has been cleared to practice -- and has participated in all of Tech's preseason practices -- the Red Raiders are being careful about how quickly they bring him back.

"We're not going to do a lot with him until about eight or nine days before the first game," Tuberville said. "He's got a long year in front of him. His knee is better, but we want to make sure we bring him along slow, so we don't just drain him in terms of everything he's got in that knee.

"He's done good, but we have some young guys behind him that need more reps than he does, so he's kind of being a little bit more of a coach right now than a player."


Tuberville was tight-lipped on Wednesday when asked about the Texas A&M-SEC chatter that has dominated the Twitterverse and blogosphere this week.

"I haven't heard that; don't have time to listen to it," he said. "I'm sure people will start addressing their situations as time goes, but no comment on that, yet."


Sophomore cornerback Tre' Porter suffered a strained muscle toward the end of practice that kept him sidelined for the rest of the day.

"He just sprained his glute," Tuberville said. "He'll be fine."


Sophomore Ryan Erxleben took over Tech's starting punter duties four games into the 2009 season. He handled himself well considering the circumstances, averaging over 40 yards per punt.

Last year, instead of continuing as the Red Raiders' primary punter, Erxleben was redshirted and Jonathan LaCour took over that role.

A season later, Erxleben is glad things turned out the way they did.

"I actually learned a lot," he said. "When Tubs first told me that I was going to redshirt, I was kind of bummed and I thought, 'Man, I totally should be playing.' I kind of just sat back on the sidelines and really got a taste of what Tubs expected and what he really wanted out of the punt team. I'm glad I got that year of experience. I learned a lot so I'm glad it happened."

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