LUBBOCK, Texas – After a few months of offseason workouts and eight practices, Matt Wells got to take in his first scrimmage as Texas Tech's head coach Saturday afternoon in the Spring Series Presented by Double Eagle opener at Jones AT&T Stadium.
It was the first test of the spring, as Wells put it.
"I liked the way the defense tackled," Wells said. "I thought we tackled well in space. I thought Ta'Zhawn Henry ran with good balance. He had some runs with good vision and good balance. SaRodorick (Thompson) made a nice run on the touchdown run. Those were the three things that stood out the most to me."
Henry carried six times for 29 yards to lead the Red Raiders on the ground as he found the end zone in a situational period where the offense started deep on the defense's side of the field. Thompson, meanwhile, added five carries of his own for 11 yards and a touchdown.
The Red Raiders completed 20-of-38 passes for 227 yards as a team with Colt Garrett finishing 8-of-10 for 104 yards, while Alan Bowman was 5-of-12 for 37 yards. Jett Duffey also went 4-of-9 for 58 yards through the air.
The defense shined through a majority of the scrimmage, however, as the Red Raiders forced two turnovers, beginning with an Adonis Brown pick-six early on that went 52 yards for a touchdown. Trey Gentry later saved a touchdown by forcing a fumble into the end zone that was recovered by Michael Nelson.
Brayden Stringer and Patrick Curley shared the team high with four tackles, while Broderick Washington Jr. stopped the offense twice behind the line, including once for a safety during a situational period that had the offense starting inside the one yard line. Houston Miller added another safety on the following play.
"The offense has different goals, and the defense has different goals," Wells said of the roughly 90-minute scrimmage. "I, as a head coach, it's more of an evaluation more than anything. It's our first big evaluation. We'll certainly go back in and evaluate this tape. The evaluation is a lot more individual."
The highlight of the afternoon, however, came midway through the scrimmage when Luke Siegel, the Red and Black Give Back Fearless Spectator for Saturday, cleared both sidelines after a touchdown straight down the middle.
The Red and Black Give Back program is a tradition Wells established at Utah State that honors a member of the community most weeks during the season. Luke Siegel, the son of former Tech men's tennis coach Tim Siegel, has inspired many in the Lubbock community for his recovery from a tragic accident in July 2015.
"It's a neat moment," Wells said. "We were able to have him out at practice on Tuesday and honor Luke and the Siegel family and hear his story and be inspired by his story. What a fighter. To have that moment was a special time for him and his family."
Tech ended the scrimmage with the Red Raiders going one-by-one down a line of former letterwinners who were back on the Jones AT&T Stadium turf. Tech had more than 100 football letterwinners on its campus this weekend as part of the Jess Styles Memorial Golf Tournament put on by the Double T Varsity Club.
Fans will have two more opportunities to catch the Red Raiders this spring as Tech will host its Midland scrimmage next Friday at Grande Communications Stadium. Tech closes the spring April 13 with its annual Spring Game at The Star in Frisco.