The idea that Texas Tech football and pre-noon kickoffs don’t go together well has permeated Red Raiders fans for several years. Now not even Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury denies it.
Kingsbury on Tuesday noted his team’s lackluster performances last year at Kansas (a 30-20 win) and West Virginia (a 31-26 loss) and again this year against West Virginia (a 48-17 loss) and said a shakeup was in order before Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Texas.
The blowout loss to the Mountaineers on Oct. 15 was one of the Red Raiders’ worst performances of Kingsbury’s coaching tenure.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury steered around the flap Texas defensive end Breckyn Hager stirred up Monday, five days before their teams face each other. Hager told Austin media the Longhorns needed to “injure that quarterback,” referring to Tech’s Patrick Mahomes already being banged up lately, then released a lengthy apology hours later.
Given that Kingsbury himself was a high-profile quarterback, he was asked Tuesday whether bulletin-board material resonates in the locker room or if it’s overblown by media and fans.
Texas Tech wide receiver Devin Lauderdale and defensive end Gary Moore didn’t travel for the TCU game last weekend, and their chances of playing this week seem slim, too.
Center Tony Morales will return for a seventh year in the Texas Tech football program in 2017, approved by the NCAA, so he won’t go through Tech’s senior day recognition on Saturday. Morales missed four full seasons due to injuries.
A Tech spokesman said Tech filed for an extension of Morales’ five-year eligibility “clock” after last season and NCAA personnel who reviewed his case said Morales’ circumstances dictated he could have an extra two years — 2016 and 2017 — if he wanted.
Texas Tech’s Nov. 5 home finale against Texas has been scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff televised by Fox Sports 1. The Big 12 and its television partners made selections on Monday.
The other Nov. 5 game given a specific slot is TCU at Baylor, 2:30 p.m. on FOX. Two games will be set on a six-day advance notice: Kansas at West Virginia, 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2; and Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.
The Big 12 also has a Thursday night game next week: Oklahoma at Iowa State, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 3 on ESPN.
Texas Tech freshman running back Da’Leon Ward is listed at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, but he’s bigger in Kliff Kingsbury’s eyes.
All the carries that went to Justin Stockton and DeMarcus Felton the first six weeks of the season on Saturday went to Ward, who made his first career start.
Kliff Kingsbury didn’t exactly ask Texas Tech students to watch their language, but the Red Raiders’ coach didn’t endorse the treatment the student section gave Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield on Saturday.
Along with the loudest atmosphere at Jones AT&T Stadium this season, students directed profane chants at Mayfield, the former Tech quarterback who transferred to OU.
Texas Tech defensive end Kris Williams is tied for the Big 12 lead with four sacks through four games. That’s a big jump for a 6-foot-1, 240-pound senior who came into this season with 12 career tackles and no sacks.
Williams initially was credited with 2 1/2 sacks against Kansas, and that was later changed to three sacks.
“I can’t really say how much I’ve grown,” Williams said after Tuesday's practice, “but I think I’m a pretty good pass rusher. I feel like I’ve been a pretty good rusher, but I have more confidence than I’ve had before. It should help.”
When Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Keke Coutee on one series last week and a 59-yard TD to Jonathan Giles on the next, he froze Kansas defenders with a run fake in both instances.
That’s nothing new. A lot of the Red Raiders’ TD passes and big plays this season have come off play-action.
Texas Tech director of football operations Tommy McVay recruited Dana Dimel to Kansas State when McVay was a Wildcats assistant from 1983-85.
Now Dimel is KSU co-offensive coordinator and his son, Winston Dimel, is fourth in the Big 12 this season with six touchdowns. Most of Dimel's TDs have come with him taking direct snaps in the wildcat formation.
Not many teams use a fullback as often as Kansas State. It’s a staple for the Wildcats, and perfect for the younger Dimel, who’s 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds.