Rashad Fortenberry will start at right tackle in the season opener, Texas Tech offensive line coach Lee Hays said, after finally getting enough time in training camp to win the job. The 6-foot-5, 297-pound senior missed most of spring practice with an ankle injury and the start of August workouts coming back from meniscus surgery.
“Right now, Rashad’s starting to come on,” Hays said Tuesday. “I’m excited about how much he’s improved. I’ve gotten a chance to see him get after it a little bit. He was hurt the first half of camp, really, but I’m excited about him.”
Had Fortenberry been unable to claim the job, Tech could have moved Beau Carpenter from right guard to right tackle and put redshirt freshman Trey Keenan in the starting lineup. As it stands, Keenan is viewed as the sixth man in the rotation, one who could play guard or tackle if need be.
Backup linemen are a question mark going into the season. Among the second-teamers, Hays said guard James Polk is “starting to come around,” left tackle Josh Outlaw “is starting to show a few flashes” and right tackle Matt Wilson “has had a solid week.”
Freshman center Baylen Brown likely will be on the travel squad. Brown has been working with the second group at center. It remains to be seen if the line would be shuffled and a more experienced player inserted should starting center Jared Kaster have to come out.