Running backs coach Mike Jinks said it’s too early to tell whether Corey Dauphine might redshirt this year. The 6-foot, 194-pound freshman from Port Arthur Memorial rushed for 1,215 yards last season and, the last two years, has been a state champion and a state runner-up in the 200 meters.
“What you want to do is get your program to a place where you can have a kid with that kind of talent come in and sit and wait a year,” Jinks said. “And barring injuries right now, I think we have the ability do that.”
Breiden Fehoko’s lofty reputation as a recruit seems to be translating onto the field so far.
The second-semester freshman from Honolulu Farrington is running with Texas Tech’s first-team defense, co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Friday, though it’s a battle between Fehoko and senior Keland McElrath for a starting job at defensive tackle.
There’s been little question since last season ended that redshirt freshman Justin Murphy would take over at right tackle, the only offensive line position where Texas Tech lacks a multi-year returning starter.
Line coach Lee Hays has said since last season that he loves Murphy’s mean streak and physical attributes, and teammates say Murphy never looked tentative or intimidated as a freshman.
“Not at all,” right guard Baylen Brown said. “He came in and owned a spot from the day he got here.”
Another year, another defensive coordinator, another challenge to Texas Tech safety Keenon Ward to show he can tackle.
New DC David Gibbs said at the start of preseason practice he has “got to get him to tackle better,” echoing something Tech coaches said about Ward after the 2013 season.
The 5-foot-9, 205-pound junior from Snyder is used to it.
Texas Tech noseguard Rika Levi wore the name “Talolo-Levi” on the back of his jersey last season. He plans to continue it to honor both his parents, though he hasn’t had his name legally changed.
“But that’s something I want to do,” he said. “Levi’s still my legal name, and I’m proud of that name, too, but I want everybody to know both my names: Talolo-Levi.”
The Tech lineman said “Levi” is father’s last name and “Talolo” his mother’s.
Texas Tech offensive line coach Lee Hays is having to preach patience to newcomer Paul Stawarz as the transfer from College of DuPage (Ill.) works back slowly from a stress fracture in one of his shins.
“I haven’t had a chance to really see Paul get out there,” Hays said. “Without hitting so far, he’s looked good.”
Stawarz (6-5, 295) is a sophomore who could help eventually at guard or tackle once his leg heals. It’s been an issue since he arrived on campus.
Texas Tech’s second-team offensive line — a big question mark — currently consists of left tackle Madison Akamnonu, left guard Emeka Okafor, center Tony Morales, right guard Robert Castaneda and right tackle Terence Steele, line coach Lee Hays said Wednesday.
Akamnonu and Steele are true freshman. Castaneda’s a redshirt freshman, Okafor a graduate transfer from Houston and Morales a fifth-year senior who’s never played because of injuries.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on Wednesday singled out flanker Dylan Cantrell and noseguard Rika Levi as early standouts in preseason drills.
Cantrell’s been vying with fellow junior Reginald Davis for the starting flanker job.
“He was solid last year,” Kingsbury said, “but he’s really taken that next step and made a ton of big plays. We’ve been very pleased with him.”
The 6-foot-2 Levi has dropped his weight to the current 325 pounds — 75 less than what he once weighed in junior college and down from the 348 to 350 at which he played last season.
Texas Tech’s pre-practice team meeting on Wednesday turned out to be anything but routine for Talor Nunez.
The sophomore defensive lineman from Midland Lee was told in front of the team he’d been placed on scholarship. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury highlighted top classroom performers from the summer II session, then showed a practice clip of Nunez.
“He was just pointing out positive things,” Nunez said, “and out of nowhere — it was kind of like a left hook — he said, ‘And on top of that, you’re on scholarship.’”
Defensive tackle Josh Outlaw is wearing No. 2 during Texas Tech's preseason practice, which started Thursday.
That's a switch from the No. 58 that Outlaw wore during his first two years in the program. He's a 6-foot-4, 309-pound sophomore from Lithonia, Georgia, Martin Luther King.
Tech has four defensive linemen suiting up in single digits, the others being freshman tackle Breiden Fehoko (No. 4), sophomore defensive end Gary Moore (No. 5) and senior defensive end Branden Jackson (No. 9).