February 21, 2012

Notebook: Tech dons pads

Texas Tech football has successfully brought in Fred Tate from Marshall.

Tate was coaching during Monday's spring practice and the defensive tackles went through just an NCAA mandated two padless practices before Terry Price was replaced.

"Glad to have him," head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "Fred Tate is the new defensive tackles coach. I think he fits in pretty good with us, most of the coaches on the staff know him and a couple of guys have worked on staffs with him. That's always key; knowing someone's personality and how they fit in.

"He was well recommended from all the head coaches he's worked with that I've called so we're excited to have him."

About an hour after Tuberville talked about having Tate on his staff, the university issued its official news release but the hiring isn't absolutely official until Tate passes a state-mandated background check.

Tate's ties to the Red Raider coaching staff predominantly go through defensive coordinator Art Kaufman when the two coached together at Southern Miss.

Tate, who served five years as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army Airborne before playing college football at Southern Miss, started his college career at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss., before transferring to Southern Miss for the 1995 and 1996 seasons where he played defensive tackle and defensive end.

After graduation, Tate took a job coaching tight ends and receivers back at East Central before moving to Jacksonville State just a season later as the defensive line and special teams coach. Tate moved to Southwest Texas State -- now known as Texas State -- in 2001 and then on to Middle Tennessee State in 2002 as a defensive line coach.

Tate joined the Division I-A level of coaching in 2003 when he joined the East Carolina staff before the stint with Kaufman at Southern Miss. After Southern Miss, Tate coached at Tennessee-Chattanooga remaining a defensive line coach and then spent the past two seasons as Marshall's safeties coach.


Red Raiders put the pads on

Monday's practice marked the third of the spring practice sessions and that meant NCAA rules allowed Tech to wear full pads and have permit contact.

Practice No. 3 is where the men start to get separated from the boys. Anyone can look good with no pads on, but when contact is added into the mix some people flourish and some wilt.

"Guys got screamed at for the first time for not doing something right," Tuberville said. "That's pretty much what you do early in spring practice."

The Red Raiders already have lost a receiver in Marcus Kennard to a pulled hamstring. He's expected to be back after spring break, but it's a hard knock for a senior that really needed a good spring.

Eric Ward also is expected to miss all of the spring practices up until after spring break with a bruised shoulder, but the coaching staff already knows what he can do.

"We need to get a good look at Javon Bell and the guys that don't play much," Tuberville said. "That's what spring practice is for. It's for the newer guys here. Of course, we've got so many guys that have got to get better. Marcus Kennard probably needed to practice and he'll get some practice. Eric, we know pretty much what he can do and what to get him ready for the fall."

On the flip side, the Red Raiders did get some old faces back Monday in defensive ends Jackson Richards, Leon Mackey and Lee Adams. Richards had an eye infection last week, Mackey had to leave Lubbock for a family matter and Adams had been a little sore after a fender bender during the snow storm on Feb. 12.

As expected, senior quarterback Seth Doege is out in front of redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Brewer while all three linebacker corps positions are open and all the other position lay somewhere in between.

"Saturday will be our first live get together and we'll learn about all of these guys, especially the younger players," Tuberville said.

Marquez shaking off the rust at tailback

Sophomore receiver Bradley Marquez is getting back into the swing of things. With the knee injuries to DeAndre Washington and Eric Stephens, however, Marquez is getting more than his fair share of snaps at tailback. The jack-of-all-trades athlete has had no problems sliding into the position, seeing as he was a prolific runner at Odessa during high school.

"It's going pretty good. I played running back in high school, so to me it's just kind of getting back into the swing of things," Marquez said. "It's kind of just like riding the bike for me. I want to just get back into it and get all the technique things that I used to do, because it's a lot different than playing receiver. It's just something that's taking some adjustments, but it's something that I've done before."

Marquez felt that he's strung a few good practices together to start of the spring, but noted that today was a bit harder seeing as it was the first day of spring practice in pads.

"Today was the last day of installing all of the plays we've had," he said. "This is our third day now. The first couple of days felt pretty good, and then today it's taking some getting used to with getting the pads back on, picking up blitzes, things like that. More physical type things as well as knowing the mental game and the plays I've got to be running. First two days were the best, and today was a little bit slower, but I'm definitely getting back into it."

Coaches and scouts at every level of football will tell you that there is one thing that separates the boys from the men in the backfield; blitz pick up. Marquez definitely buys into that theory and is still getting used to the speed of collegiate pass pro.

"At this level you've got to be able to pick up the blitz," he said. "In high school it's a lot different. These guys are a lot bigger. It takes good technique to be able to keep up with these guys. It's not something where you can just go out there and use poor technique and get the job done. It's something that you've got to use great technique play in and play out. That's something that's going to be the big adjustment for me."

Not only is Marquez having to keep up with playing two positions this spring, he's also busy trying to get into form for pro baseball in May. Marquez signed on with the New York Mets as an outfielder over the summer and is keeping in contact with his organization.

"They call me once a week, once every two weeks," he said. "I actually saw them over the weekend, the scout and everything. I went to go work out with them earlier in January. About the end of January I went to Dallas to go workout with them and one of the coaches. I'm definitely on contact with them and kind of keeping me up to date, because when I get there in May I've got to be up there, be ready to roll. This is something that we're just working into right now, getting practices in on my own."
The Mets will start Marquez out in Rookie Ball in Kingsport, Tenn., and see where he develops from there. For now, he's still trying to find some free time to hit up the batting cages and baseball field.

"It's a little bit hectic right now with school and football, but I've definitely got to find the balance for it and got to fit it in somehow," Marquez said. "I've got permission from (baseball) coach (Dan) Spencer to use their facilities, and I know a couple guys on the baseball team that whenever I want to get some extra work in with them as well. They'll go throw to me and things like that. I can use the cages s well as throwing on the field, getting some long toss and getting my arm ready to go since I'll be playing outfield, I've got to be ready to throw."

It takes a special guy to play both college football and pro baseball at the same time. Time is of the essence, and Marquez has little to spare. Many worry that dual sport athletes will stunt their growth in both sports as a player, but the former Odessa standout feels he can handle the workload.

"For me personally, no. I've been doing this my whole life," he said. "I've been playing football and baseball. and it's something that just kind of comes natural to me," he said. "I really can't explain it. Definitely don't expect rust, though. When I come back here, I'll be ready for football. You know I'm coming back ready to play, game one. I know it's going to be a month getting back into it, but it's something I've done my whole life and something that I'm up for the challenge."


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