RedRaiderSports - Transcript: Matt Wells talks cancelations, spring practice and more
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Transcript: Matt Wells talks cancelations, spring practice and more

Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells met with the media on Tuesday afternoon in a safe, social distancing manner inside the team meeting room. Here's what Wells said on the absence of sports, where the Red Raiders were after four practices and more.

Opening Statement:

“We’re in a little bit of uncharted territory right now as a nation, as a university, really as a city and as families. We’re all kind of going through it together. I believe we all have a responsibility just as citizens to flatten out this curve and not to allow this virus to spread. I think we all need to take that seriously and I believe we have. We also can stick together at times like this. I think Raider Power can be more than a chant; it’s more of a mindset that’s going to allow us to get through this all together. We don’t know really what the future holds. There’s a lot of questions that I don’t have the answers for you today.”

Is anyone allowed to train right now in the facilities?

“No, as per university policy, right now it's, you know and the Big 12, everything’s shut down till as, of right now, till March 29.”

What has contact with the team been like?

“Well we just went on spring break so we had a team meeting Friday morning, send them off on spring break and so had some phone calls, some texts but we just kind of started the break too so yeah we've been in contact with some of the guys.”

What stood out in the first four practices?

“Year two in an offensive system and a defensive system with a couple of new coaches. We need practice. We needed that practice. We need the remaining practices and I say that all in the context of what I just said. I understand right where we’re at. To be able to get back out there after seven weeks of what I thought was a really good offseason, really our first real offseason. I don’t think we had one last year. So much of who we are – our staff and our program of what we’re implementing – is the development and so that’s why this time off is going to be a challenge. Maybe more than others because we need to be here, we need to grow them up, we need to get them in our system. We need practice. We need to lift. There’s just so much to the development that’s an important part of this turnaround here at Texas Tech. It’ll play a critical role and then moving forward we don’t know what it’s going to hold so we’ll have to work within the realms that we’re given.”

How big were the prior two junior days you hosted?

“Now you know seeing the recruiting ban now until April the 15 those two junior days that we had were huge. Several kids were at both of them and again you know getting them here to Lubbock on our campus, seeing the facilities, being around the people, around our players, recruits around each other, around a bunch of our signees and committed kids, I think is huge and that was good. It will go a long ways really in this especially in this time coming up of the next month where all you can do is text or email or facetime or phone call so it's won't be on campus here for a while.”

What’s the game plan for your players now?

“Same game plan for our players for the next two weeks. You know, they're going to have to lift and run on their own just because of the facility shut down here for two weeks. We’ll see more as the next few days unfold with what the Big 12 says and what we can’t do and what we can do.”

What did you see from your perspective being in Lubbock on how quickly decisions were made to keep student-athletes safe?

“That's the biggest thing is when the decisions are made they're made with that in mind – the safety of our student-athletes at upmost concerned and then you know our staff and our families. On that Thursday, you know when they took our basketball team off the floor, and you know, it was just a couple hours later that I ended up canceling our scrimmage here that afternoon so that'll always be there most concern for us – is those players safety, their health conditions that they're doing it in as well as our staff.”

Is April 15 a good day to look at for any update on recruiting?

“Probably so because that dead period, you know, it's up to April 15, which is the first day of the evaluations off-campus you know which it's an eval period. Yeah, that's the next period to look at. That technically, I think, goes April 15 to May 30-31.”

Do you get anything out of the four practices?

“Probably a little bit more individual kind of evaluations in four. You got two days in helmets, one day in full pads, one day in half pads –not a big sample size. But, you know, a little bit. I think it would probably be a little bit more individual related than unit related just because it wasn’t very much.”

How was the QB room looking after four practices?

“I think Bowman had had you know a few practices there at the end. Maverick as well. Those guys basically were taking 90-95% of snaps and all team settings, pass skelly, one-on-ones, all that stuff but yeah those guys were fine but again small sample size.”

Is this the weirdest thing to go through for you in your career?

“Yeah, it's just different. Uncharted waters like I said before. You know, it's just so much of the unknown right now. What we're dealing with is a virus. It's invisible, a little bit hard to see and you don't know how long you've had it if somebody gets it and they don't know how you know. There's just a lot of questions for every one of us, right? I was talking earlier you know I was at the Naval Academy as a young assistant when 9/11 happened. That is completely different. 9/11 was destruction. It was visible and you had moments of sadness to rage to anger and you knew who the opponent was and you know what it was and our country rose up together and fought it together and sports were a big part of that. I can remember you know President Bush going out throwing the first pitch and how it was like. ‘OK, we're going to be fine.’ Right now, we don't have baseball, we don't have March Madness so it's different. It's just – it's harder just means it's different then you know it's kind of a virus you can't see and we probably have a whole lot more questions than we all do answers so that's what makes it I think unknown and a little tougher for us right now.”

What are your thoughts on the idea of playing in front of no fans?

“It would be like a spring closed scrimmage, right? Yeah, a little awkward. Can we crank the music as loud as we crank it here in Lubbock? I think our players would be in favor of that but let's hope it doesn't get to that.”

Thoughts on linebackers Brandon Bouyer-Randle and Krishon Merriweather’s progress.

“Brandon was limited in those four practices 'cause of the shoulder surgery but in just that short size you can see he's long, he's athletic and he can rush the passer. I saw that live at the Michigan State-Utah State game in 2018. We saw him live and had evaluated him all summer. He's going to help our linebackers, no question about it. Krishon Merriweather – I figured out one thing in four days – the guy knows how to run to the football. We will run to the football and you can see real quick why he, you know, did what he did in junior college and why he was ranked what he was ranked in how many tackles he had. I saw a big improvement and having you know I'll give you an example like the first two days he would take two steps forward in his stance, two steps back – basically get right back where he started – and still go make a play or be involved in the play. And by day four, coach Cosgrove and coach Patterson had him just clearing his cleats, clearing his cleats boom and there just you know it's just a technique. It's just a fundamental and that's coaching. It's also being coachable on his part and the guy can run to the football. He and Brandon will help our linebackers, no question.”

Lots of possibly moving around with the safety position and offensive line. Any answers there in four practices?

“Don’t have the answers but part of you know the plan in the secondary was we moved Frye back out to corner, try to keep him there. Keep Ja’marcus (Ingram) at safety. Damarcus (Fields) was going to you know move or not moonlight but we kind of moved him into the nickel, the spur position. We were going to actually you know play with some different combinations as we got back from spring break 'cause we do like to cross-train them just like we do the O line. So you know that will be ongoing and if we get to finish spring out or as it goes into training camp you know up on the O line – Zach Adams, Casey Verhulst, Landon Peterson, Trevor Roberson and Ethan Carde – those five guys you know just four days, again two of those days being helmets only, so that's a hard eval on an O lineman but those guys were making progress. We're happy with you know where they were at after four but that also takes time takes a lot of time with them in the communication inside of the guards and all that but you know those evaluations and opportunities to coach them will be extended you know into training camp.”

What are your thoughts on possibly being the first sporting event at Texas Tech with the amount of cancelations we’ve seen?

“I didn't realize that until Chris Level told me. Our kids were playing in a wiffle, a neighborhood wiffle ball game on – no real talk – on Saturday afternoon. It was pretty cool. It was old school kind of like The Sandlot and he said, ‘Matt, do you realize that you know the home opener in football is going to be the next Tech sporting event,’ you know, no pressure but that'll be great to unify Red Raider nation and all of our fans who are so passionate and to give them something to look forward to but also to give them a good product on the field. That's you know something that they want to come rally around and I know they will and we will as well. So we're all in this together in the same community, same schools, the same neighborhoods, everybody including myself. I mean we want to put a good product out there but we want to give Texas Tech a winner and it'll be maybe ever so more important this year.”

Can this potentially help with attendance having to go so long without any sporting event until September possibly?

“Gotta chance to have a pretty good sell-out don't we? I need a sell-out, we need to sell-out every one of them. And I think again there's a direct correlation to winning at home. I know we lost a few close ones at the end of the year last year but there's a direct correlation to playing very, very well at home and having a great football season. Our goal will be to go 7-0 at home and it won't be anything less. You go 7-0 at home you have a great season. You don’t have a good season, you have a great season. Winning at home and protecting the Jones is extremely important to us and you know I hope the fans will come out. I know they will.”

With the NFL making changes, how’s communication with NFL guys been for the seniors? Do evaluators reach out to you more?

“Been fielding phone calls, scouts, GM's, coaches about our outgoing seniors. Pro day is not canceled yet so we'll wait and see. Hopefully, we can have that pro day here and if we need to amend it and tweak it to have the right amount of groups and people in there we certainly will. I will get video of it if we have to, send it to the NFL. Even if they're not here that's what we want to do. Everything that we can do for those outgoing seniors we’ll do. Kirby and I actually talked this morning about it as well as a plan B so we'll be ready to help our seniors.”

Have you been reached out about Jordan Love yet?

“Yeah, I took one this morning actually. I think his stock’s going up. You know we need that pro day. Jordyn Brooks, he needs the pro day here. He needs to be able to be seen and doing some of the things that he did not get to do at the combine and so we're going to do everything we can to give him that opportunity as well as the rest of our seniors. It's important to me to do that for them.”