After a spotless 7-0 start to the 2013 season, the injury bug plagued the Red Raider football program late in the year, leading to five straight losses.
The Texas Tech defense took the brunt of the blow, losing many leaders down the stretch of the season, but this year players are taking better care of themselves.
"Definitely this year we are taking care of our bodies," Defensive Lineman Brandon Jackson said, "Mandatory cold tubs, mandatory treatments whether or not you are hurt. We're just trying to prevent things. Little nicks and bruises. We're getting the ones and two's and equal amount of reps. The threes and fours are working just as much as the twos. Everyone is getting an equal amount of reps and no one is getting overworked."
College football is a game of attrition. Late in the season in the thick of the Big 12 Conference, the healthier teams stand out. This year the coaches are emphasizing self preservation before the season begins.
"They talk about it all the time," Wide Receiver Reginald Davis said, "If you get a nick or bruise or anything go see the trainer and let them know what's going on. Get in the cold tubs, rehydrate, everything. At practice we don't do a lot of tackling. We make sure we stay up, stay up so no one gets hurt because that's how people get hurt."
The players admitted a lack of emphasis on small aliments a year ago but entering 2014 the coaches aren't taking any chances, even with the smallest of aches and pains.
"After practice every day our strength coordinators are getting the one and two deep," Linebacker Sam Eguavoen said, "We are getting in the whirlpools, running, ice tubs, hot tubs after each practice. Even in two a days we're doing it twice a day. That's something we didn't do last year. After practice we just went home with all our aches and bruises so now we're going home fresh."
The Red Raiders will be deeper at most positions this year on both sides of the ball, but Kliff Kingsbury and the coaching staff are making it a point to emphasize how important weekly health is to this team.
Texas Tech will open up the season on Aug. 30 at home against Central Arkansas.
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