With Texas Tech having an open date Saturday, the Red Raiders are practicing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. The latter will be the equivalent of a Monday game-week practice to start preparation for Tech’s Sept. 29 home game against Kansas. Players will be off Wednesday for schoolwork and rest and again Friday while coaches scatter to recruit. ... Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday it’s too early to tell whether starting OT Terence Steele (left ankle) will return for the Kansas game.
Da’Leon Ward’s path to playing time at running back appears blocked in the short term, but Texas Tech coaches decided to use the true freshman for what he can bring to special teams.
The Dallas Skyline product tackled a Louisiana Tech kickoff returner at the Bulldogs’ 19-yard line Saturday.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday he thinks Ward’s getting into the fray will help his development, even if his role doesn’t expand this season.
Freshman flanker T.J. Vasher made a good impression in preseaon practice and played in the season opener, but might have fallen from favor.
Responding Tuesday to a question about the 6-foot-5 wide receiver from Wichita Falls Rider, Kliff Kingsbury said, “He’s got to grow up off the field. His approach isn’t where it needs to be, or anywhere close. Physically, he’s very gifted, but he’s got to grow up.”
Kingsbury said an ankle injury that bothered Vasher early in the season isn’t an issue.
“He’s fully healthy,” Kingsbury said. “He’s just got to mature.”
Texas Tech has used 11 true freshmen this season, and that’ll be it, coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday, unless injuries dictate otherwise.
That means the Red Raiders will try, from here on out, to redshirt five of the six high-school defensive linemen they signed for 2016. From that group, only defensive tackle Joe Wallace from Dallas Skyline has played.
Texas Tech inside receiver Jonathan Giles said the team spent two weeks practicing the trick play on which he caught a 42-yard touchdown pass Saturday in a 59-45 win over Louisiana Tech. He said the Red Raiders could’ve used it the week before against Arizona State, but Kliff Kingsbury didn’t break it out.
The play started with Giles going in motion, taking a handoff from Patrick Mahomes II, pitching to inside receiver Cameron Batson and continuing toward the left sideline. Mahomes then flipped a pass to Giles just outside the numbers, and he cut upfield and outran the pursuit.
Wide receiver Derrick Willies played 62 of Texas Tech’s 79 offensive snaps Saturday. Willies said Monday he didn’t have a problem handling the workload, easily the most he’s played in three games.
“In practice, you get your body ready for it,” he said. “The game’s a lot easier if you go hard in practice.”
Former Texas Tech lineman Josh Outlaw is a second-team offensive tackle for Louisiana Tech, so he’ll be playing on Saturday against his former teammates.
“It’ll be a bittersweet moment,” Outlaw said. “It’s an opportunity to come back and see a couple of friends across the field Saturday evening. I look forward to coming in and hopefully pulling out a victory for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.”
Louisiana Tech inside receiver Trent Taylor said the effusive praise he received this week from Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury “means a lot, coming from him.”
Taylor’s a 5-foot-8, 178-pound senior with career numbers of 210 catches for 2,632 yards and 23 touchdowns. To put those into a Texas Tech context, Taylor has six more catches than Danny Amendola and yardage and touchdowns virtually identical to Joel Filani.
Kent Hance once told a joke about some fellow supervising an offseason football stadium project. Asked if the work would be completed in time for the opener, he answered with a question: “Is it a day game or a night game?”
No such worries on Texas Tech’s north end zone development, apparently, at least as far most people will be able to tell.
Texas Tech had two freshmen start at linebacker at different times last season, and that could be the case again this year.
Jordyn Brooks, a 6-foot-1, 243-pound freshman from Houston Stratford, and graduate transfer Luke Stice from the University of Houston are vying for the job at weak-side linebacker. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said after Tuesday’s workout Brooks could start.
“I’m not sure if he will,” Kingsbury said, “but I would not bet against it, particularly as the season goes on. He’s got that type of ability.”