Texas Tech has largely dispensed with its field cornerback/boundary cornerback deployment in recent weeks.
Three weeks ago against West Virginia, Nigel Bethel played left corner and Justis Nelson right corner. In last week’s 82-27 loss at No. 10 TCU, Nelson played left corner and Bethel right corner, although backups gave both a breather.
The game before against Kansas, Nelson and Bethel alternated sides each series, but stayed on the same side of the field throughout a possession.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said on the Red Raider coaches’ show Thursday night he expects starting receivers Bradley Marquez and Jakeem Grant to play on Saturday at No. 10 TCU.
Marquez aggravated a rib injury last week in a 34-21 win against Kansas and did not finish the game.
Grant came out of the game twice for treatment of shoulder and ankle injuries, then was hospitalized early Sunday for a neck laceration he suffered in at an off-campus melee.
Saturday’s Texas Tech-TCU game will be the 10th anniversary of the Red Raiders’ 70-35 rout of the Horned Frogs in Lubbock.
Tech interim defensive coordinator Mike Smith, safeties coach Trey Haverty and TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie were all Tech seniors that season.
Tech ran up 70 points after not scoring on its first seven possessions.
“I remember we were down 21 to 0,” Haverty said this week. “(Mike) Leach called a timeout and gave us some ... profound words. Then we had a little run and put up some points and won the game.”
Brothers Kevin Oliver and Bryson Oliver will be on opposite sidelines Saturday.
Kevin Oliver is a sixth-year member of the Texas Tech staff, now serving in high school relations/quality control.
Bryson Oliver is a first-year graduate assistant at TCU, working on offense. He was a student assistant at Tech from 2007-10.
The Olivers are from Sweetwater.
Tech coaches are committed to redshirting safety Payton Hendrix. The freshman from Dallas Bishop Dunne couldn’t have helped Saturday even if the Red Raiders needed him to with their shallow pool of safeties.
Hendrix’s position coach, Trey Haverty, said he’s sidelined with a groin injury.
“Not that we’d pull a redshirt this late,” Haverty said. “You’ve got to look at what’s best for the program and decide. Right now, we couldn’t even play him if we wanted to, but he’ll be back in the next couple of weeks.”
Texas Tech played a lot of snaps against West Virginia and several more Saturday against Kansas using a defensive front four of Andre Ross, Jackson Richards, Branden Jackson and Pete Robertson. That’s three defensive ends/outside linebackers and one former defensive end.
Playing Ross and Robertson — two quasi-linebackers — at end and moving Jackson to tackle is a way to get more players with pass-rush talent onto the field at once.
Texas Tech special teams coach Darrin Chiaverini had a message Tuesday for punt-return specialist Cameron Batson: Keep applyign yourself, and eventually one of your big returns will count.
The freshman from Oklahoma City Millwood had a 48-yard punt return erased because of an illegal block in Tech’s 34-21 victory Saturday against Kansas. He had a 37-yard return wiped out because of holding in the Sept. 25 Tech-Oklahoma State game.
Bradley Marquez, Jakeem Grant and Jordan Davis — Texas Tech’s top three inside receivers — all were in shorts and workout shirts, but not pads and jerseys like the rest of their teammates at the end of Tuesday’s practice.
Offensive coordinator Eric Morris indicated Monday that Marquez (ribs) and Grant (ankle, shoulder, neck) probably wouldn’t practice early in the week, but still could play in Saturday’s game at TCU. Davis has not been cleared from a concussion.
Texas Tech sophomore Davis Webb is fourth in the FBS in passing touchdowns with 22 and tied for second most interceptions with 12. Last year, playing in 10 games, he threw 20 TDs with nine interceptions.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was asked Monday if he’s seen improvement in the sophomore quarterback this season and, if so, where.
“Yeah, I think accuracy early on in the season I didn’t think was there,” Kingsbury said. “I think it’s getting closer. We’re still missing some things we can’t miss.”
Texas Tech has at least a dozen players on the injury list going into Saturday’s game at No. 10 TCU. Eight are on defense, which doesn’t make preparation any easier for interim defensive coordinator Mike Smith.
“We’ve got no depth up front,” Smith said Monday. “Linebacker, we don’t have any depth. Corner, we don’t have any depth, so it’s really our whole defense.
“We’ve got what we’ve got. These guys are playing a lot of reps. That’s what it has to be, so I’m proud of the way they’re fighting.”