Why Matt Wallerstedt chose the fourth quarter of close game to break in two new safeties

Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt picked a conspicuous stretch to insert safeties Jalen Barnes and Josh Keys for their first career defensive snaps: virtually the entire fourth quarter of a game that hadn’t been decided.

Barnes, a redshirt freshman, and Keys, a junior college transfer, went in with 12:58 left Saturday and Tech up 35-21. They played every snap the last two series, during which Central Arkansas drove 15 plays to get within 35-28 and nine plays to cut it to 42-35.

Wallerstedt said he wanted to get both some playing time.

“We went up by 14,” Wallerstedt said, “and thought there might be a good point of the game for Jalen Barnes and Josh Keys to get their feet wet. Two guys that have a lot of potential, had not played in that arena yet. We felt like going down the stretch — not to say the game was won — but we trust those guys.”

On a night when it was 93 degrees at game time and Central Arkansas ran 94 plays, Wallerstedt said he also wanted to give starting safeties J.J. Gaines and Keenon Ward a breather.

“We’d seen (Central Arkansas’) menu. We knew what their receivers could do,” Wallerstedt said. “We think those (backup) guys are two really good players.

“We’re going to play maybe by committee a little bit more this year, and we also know that it’s a marathon not a sprint and we’ve got to be able to save J.J. and Keenon for the long haul.”

Barnes was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on a first-and-goal from the 4, and Keys made one tackle.

“It wasn’t clean,” Wallerstedt said. “Jalen hurt us a couple of times there late on a couple of things that exposed us, but we’re living and learning.”



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nonsensical cliches

If some coaches couldn't use silly, nonsensical cliches when they speak, they wouldn't be able to say one word.

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