Red Raiders Complete First Spring Practices
The Red Raiders opened spring practice last week.
Feb. 20, 2012
by Alexandra Ellis
There's a sense of excitement in the Texas Tech Football Training Facility. The coaches are already well into game plans, schedules, and drills. The players have an extra bounce to their step.
Football is back in the Hub City.
After a disappointing 2011 season, the Red Raiders are ready to get back to work. Senior safety Cody Davis, who lead the team last season with 93 total tackles, highlighted the team's attentive and motivated mentality going into the spring.
Davis is referring to the new defensive coordinator for the Red Raiders, Art Kaufman, who comes in to install the 4-3 base defense, something Davis is familiar with.
"I like it," Davis said. "It's simplified, and it's something I've run before in my first year here."
As a senior, this will be Davis's final run through spring practice at Texas Tech, and he wants to get the most out of it, and better the Red Raiders for when he is gone.
"I'm trying to do the best that I can and earn my spot," Davis said. "I want to help to make the players around me better and give them some experience."
Third year offensive coordinator Neal Brown brings back quite a bit of experience with his corps of receivers.
Junior transfer Javon Bell liked the attitude and expectations the team held going into the first spring practice.
"It's all about being accountable every day," said the wide receiver. "It's all about being honest every day. Just work and compete every day. Every single day you come out here, be excited. Just compete."
Bell was previously a star at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College, and one of the highest recruited JUCO wide receivers. From the team's first practice on Friday, he noticed the difference between a junior college program and a Division I spring football regiment.
"It's very fast-paced," he said. "It's fast-tempoed, and very organized. I like it."
Bell wants to dive right in to Neal Brown's offense.
"My goals for this spring are learn the plays, learn the hand signals, and get familiar with the system and the coaches," he said. "I just want to get in and earn a spot for the fall."
Returning tight end Jace Amaro hopes to pick up more of the system he played a part of last season during this round of spring practices.
"These guys are really motivated," said Amaro, who will be a sophomore in the fall. "I think we might be one of the hardest working teams in the weight room, and running-wise. You can kind of tell just by watching us practice how many weapons we have."
This is the first spring practice for the tight end, as he arrived in Lubbock in the summer of 2011. He hopes the extra time with the coaches that he missed out on last year will give him more of a boost from his freshman season.
"I think last year was a lot different just because I didn't really know many of the plays and how the system worked," Amaro said. "I feel a lot more comfortable and more relaxed now. I was a little uptight last year, and that kind of held me back from what I can really do. Just learning the whole system, that takes weeks and months of practice."
Amaro, who played in all 12 games his freshman season, finished with 57 total reception yards and averaged 4.8 yards a game. But that was not enough for the San Antonio-native.
"A lot of people were really expecting a lot from me last year, and I didn't achieve my expectations at all," Amaro recalled.
"This year is definitely going to be different."