Dartwan Bush has a hard time standing still when he’s answering questions from the media. Energy pours out of him as he rocks from side to side, gestures with one hand and gently swings his helmet about his waist with the other.
That’s just in casual conversation.
Imagine what the past month must have been like for the Texas Tech defensive lineman. Here he was, an injured starter forced to sit home and watch telecasts of his teammates who were hundreds of miles away — and struggling, to boot.
Talk about being unable to sit still.
“I was in the house, watching (by) myself, screaming at the TV, yelling, wishing I was there,” Bush said Tuesday. “I’m steady moving, pacing, sitting down, rocking.”
Bush finally returned to the lineup last week after missing 41/2 games with a sprained knee. And though Tech dropped a 63-34 decision to Baylor, Bush looked remarkably spry for someone who had been out idle that long. He got a sack, and press-box statisticians credited him with two quarterback pressures.
He was in on 40 plays, whereas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt was hoping to get 20 to 25 snaps out of him.
“I felt real good Saturday,” Bush said, “because in my eyes I felt like I could have been back the week before. But A.P. (Anthony Pass) is the trainer. He saw things that I didn’t see. He said I wasn’t ready.
“I was just glad to be out there. Of course, I was fresh (after) missing a whole month.”
Tech missed him as well. One player couldn’t have fixed all the problems the Red Raiders have had on defense, but the team’s four-game losing streak overlapped with the time Bush spent sidelined.
“We knew that piece was missing,” Wallerstedt said. “Since the Iowa State game (on Oct. 12), we have not played, collectively, with the front four with him being out. With him coming back in, preparation-wise you could tell the energy was a lot different.
“It was a lot of the same results when it was said and done — disappointing numbers and points and yards (allowed) — but he had a really good game.”
Wallerstedt said he thinks not having Bush for the last month made game day more difficult for interior playmaker Kerry Hyder. Four Saturdays in a row, opponents didn’t have to account for Bush’s quickness. In 20 games dating to the start of last season, Bush has eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss.
Through the first six games, Hyder had nine tackles for loss, one of the top figures in the nation among defensive tackles. He was on pace to top the 14 TFLs he had last year. In the five games since, he has only 11/2 stops behind the line.
“If you look when Dartwan was out, when he was removed from the equation, Kerry’s numbers started to slide just like our defensive numbers started to slide drastically,” Wallerstedt said. “If Dartwan stays in the mix, I think Kerry’s numbers go well past what he had last year.”
Bush said he would have gladly come back a week earlier at 85 to 90 percent had the Tech medical staff let him. One of the games he missed was the last home game for Red Raiders seniors.
That’s something he wasn’t used to.
“It was tough,” Bush said. “It’s your last year. You know, I’d never missed a game (because of injury) up to my senior year, so it was rough just missing a game in general.”
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