Tuesday, December 30th, 2008


The No. 8 Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-1, 7-1 Big 12) continued preparing for the 73rd AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic with a crisp, two-hour practice in helmets and shorts under sunny, ideal conditions at Texas Stadium. Texas Tech, the first one-loss team to play in the Classic since BYU in 1997, plays the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday, Jan. 2, 2009.

Head coach Mike Leach, 5-3 in bowl games at Texas Tech, was happy with his team’s traditional “Wednesday” practice.

“I thought we had a pretty good day. We bounced around pretty good,” Leach said. “Hopefully we will polish it a little bit tomorrow. You hope to get better as the week goes on. I’m happy with where we are at this point in the week. You just keep working on things. Consistency is the thing, I think.”

The Red Raiders started practice with their “Bull in the Ring” drill, where Leach calls on two players at a time to face off against each other while the team forms a circle at midfield.

“We started doing that a couple of years back,” Leach said. “At the padded practices, we open up with three different matches. With today being the last one (for the year), we did more matches than that. We just put them in and they face off and hit one another. If they don’t get after it, their teammates make fun of them or we make them go again. It’s OK as long as they are hitting something.”

Several Texas Tech former players attended today’s practice, including former All-American and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Donny Anderson (1963-65), Trey Haverty (2001-04), Kevin Curtis (1998-01), Jonathan Hawkins (1997-01), Tyrone Thurman (1985-88) and Mickey Peters (2000-03).

Also attending practice was former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt and numerous high school coaches from the Metroplex.

Texas Tech has no reported injuries.

The 73rd AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the final one to be played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium at Fair Park, will kick off at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. The Classic will be televised for the 11th consecutive year on FOX Sports. Pat Summerall and Brian Baldinger will handle the broadcasting duties, with Jeanne Zelasko and Krista Voda reporting from the sidelines. For the 16th consecutive year, the Westwood One Radio Network will broadcast the Classic, with Brad Sham and Terry Bowden at the microphones. The game is sold out.