Notebook: Defense improving

Texas Tech went through its second scrimmage Wednesday afternoon, putting in 120 in plays worth of work.
Talking with head coach Tommy Tuberville, a vibe is coming off that he feels much better about the 2011 squad than he felt about last year's team.
Click Here to view this Link."We got a lot out of it," Tuberville said. "Looks like we're getting a little bit better, did a lot of kicking. I think too many penalties but it's something we've just got to continue to work on. We're losing concentration, it's been a long week and a half but after a pretty good morning this afternoon their minds weren't all the way in it. But overall, a good day of work, a good day of competition. I thought we got a lot better."
Tuberville wouldn't speculate on players who had a good scrimmage before watching the film but said the defense looks the best is has during fall camp.
"I thought defense won out today," the coach said. "That was the best we've played on defense in a long time. Offense didn't score as many points and we put (the defense's) back against the wall with some short drives at the 20 and 15 and 45 yard line. I thought they held their own."
Tuberville also felt a lot better about the kicking game. He said Donnie Carona either made all of his field goals or missed just one and Ryan Erxleben had a great day of punting.
-- Graham
Learning whether or not defensive tackle Delvon Simmons is eligible or not has become frustrating for the Red Raider coaching staff.
It was originally thought they'd get an NCAA ruling Tuesday but as of Wednesday evening had heard nothing definite.
"Still waiting," Tuberville said.
-- Graham
Freshman receiver Javares McRoy has arrived on Tech's campus and went through his first practice today in shorts and a helmet. He still has three more days before he's allowed to work out in full pads per NCAA rules.
That's not a huge issue. McRoy is ineligible for this season due to NCAA rules after transferring from Florida.
"He's here," Tuberville said. "He had his first practice, has to go in shorts for a couple of days and then shoulder pads. Obviously not eligible this year but it's good to have him here getting ready to go."
-- Graham
Freshman receiver Bradley Marquez signed a Major League Baseball contract with the New York Mets earlier in the week.
By doing so, the Mets pick up the tab for Marquez's education at Tech and it freed a scholarship up. He'll have to spend his summers playing for the Mets organization until he leaves the Red Raider football program.
More than anything, Marquez is happy to still be in Lubbock rather than the Minor League circuit.
"It means a lot to me," Marquez said. "Me and my family, we've worked hard for 18 years playing select baseball, traveling and stuff like that.. I couldn't ask for anything more. Honestly I'm blessed to be playing Texas Tech football as well as pro baseball. Not many people get that opportunity and I get that. That's something I'm definitely cherishing."
It's not as much fun as it sounds, however.
Marquez won't be able to be in Lubbock for summer school so he'll have to load up on classes in the fall and spring semesters.
"I will be a full-time athlete as well as school and without getting those extra hours in the summer I'm going to have to push myself to get those hours in the fall and spring rather than taking a couple of less hours and making them up in the summer," he said. "That's something that I'm going to have to manage really well and really maintain the books so I can leave in the summer and still be on track to graduate."
-- Graham
After being sidelined last season with an Achilles injury, Jared Flannel is getting used to his role as strong safety in the 4-2-5. Flannel has liked what he's seen from the new look D so far.
"They've been going really well," he said. "We came out here, we've been flying around, getting the defense down, and just mainly focusing on not making the same mistakes over and over. That's what we're correcting. Other than that, it's been pretty good."
Personally, Flannel has been focusing on getting to the ball carrier on every down, which he thinks will help the team get in better shape.
"Just running to the ball every play. That builds into making plays, and that's where you really get in shape at right there. If you don't run around to the ball, you're not getting in shape unless we're running after practice, but on the field, running to the ball, and taking three hard steps is getting us in shape."
-- McKay