This has been a hellish offseason for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Head coach Billy Gillispie, already on his second chance, was accused of abusing his players and ignoring NCAA rules regarding practice time. He was hospitalized twice, and eventually resigned in disgrace.
So, in a way, the event we’ve come to know as Midnight Madness is a return to sanity for the Red Raiders. With interim head coach Chris Walker leading the way, the Raiders had a quiet, non-public scrimmage to officially kick off a season that they hope will be both a little quieter and a little louder than the last few months.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal was able to attend the practice, and reported on Walker’s words to his prematurely worn-down troops.
Walker had all players, coaches and staff members dressed in black Friday, an effort, he said, to simulate the feeling of a road environment. He said he wants his practices loud, forcing players to drown out the noise and focus on details.
“Let ’em hear you in Austin!” he told his team during one drill. “Let ’em hear you in Lawrence, Kansas!”
Even without the Gillispie situation, this Texas Tech team wasn’t likely to pose a major threat to the Longhorns or Jayhawks, but a positive attitude, no matter how Pollyanna-ish, is Walker’s only possible recourse. If he somehow manages to hold this broken team together for a full season, let alone win a game or two, he’s one hell of a coach.
Here’s a little bit better look at the man on the spot in Lubbock: