December 18, 2007

Reed now has the proper attitude

It's not often that you cite a player who got into a scuffle with a teammate, got suspended for a critical game and was then shipped to the other side of the ball, for having a great attitude. Such recognition, however, may very well be in order for Texas Tech's newest safety, L.A. Reed.

The junior from Conroe, and an off-and-on starter at the X receiver position, saw his football horizons change dramatically following a sideline dust-up with fellow receiver Eric Morris.

According to Reed, "Me and one of the players got into it at the Texas game. There was an altercation there. When we came back, I got suspended for the OU game. When I came back the next day, they told me that they wanted me to play safety. Everybody has been talking about it earlier during the season. So it was kind of being talked about but I didn't think it was going to happen then."

Reed's sudden transfer, moreover, did not result from any request by him or even any consultation on the matter. Rather, one day he was a receiver, the next a safety.

"No, they [the coaches] didn't ask me. They just did it."

In this day and age of me-first athletes, you can be sure that many players who were transferred to an entirely different position, late in their playing career, and following a suspension, no less, would have balked, bridled, and even walked out on the team. Reed, however, has taken an entirely different approach.

"A lot of people are looking at me and seeing how I'm going to deal with it. They're seeing if I'm going to be moved to defense and then transfer. But that's not the kind of attitude I'm going to take on this. I like Texas Tech, and I didn't sign for any reason. It's a team effort and if I can help them out then I'm going to do it. It's like the past three years I've been here, I've played every receiver position on the offense. Wherever they want me to help out, I'll help out. If they want me to play corner, I'll play corner. Any way I can help out the team."

Reed may help out the team sooner rather than later. All indications are that he is picking up his new position quickly. Reed's rapid adjustment, combined with injury concerns at safety and the fact that the Red Raiders have a full month to prepare for their next opponent, mean that he could actually see meaningful snaps in the Gator Bowl. In Reed's opinion, however, the most important determinant of playing time will be his ability to learn the defense.

"If I pick everything up I should have a chance to [play in the Gator Bowl]. [Anthony] Hines went down and messed his knee up. They still have Joe or Darcel, but any time they need a break or anything, I'll go in there and play if I can pick up the defense. Right now all I know is Cover 8, but I know there's a lot more I need to learn. We have a whole month before we have the bowl game, so hopefully I can pick it up by then. Hopefully, I have a chance to play in it."

Regardless of whether or not Reed sees action against Virginia, he may well have a bright future at safety in 2008. He will have more than ample time to learn the defense between now and next year's season-opener; the defense will be without senior strong safety Joe Garcia, and Reed will have every opportunity to prove to the defensive coaches that he can transfer his great tackling skills on special teams to the defensive side of the ball. And that positive, team attitude won't hurt either.

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