It remains unclear when Texas Tech defensive tackle Michael Starts will be able to return to action. He has been dealing with what Tech coach Tommy Tuberville described as a blood pressure condition that first came to light two weeks ago.
“He can’t practice, because the doctors have him taking all kinds of tests and stuff,” Tuberville said Monday. “He’s not even practicing, so we’ll have to wait and see how that goes.”
The 6-foot-4, 303-pound freshman from Waco La Vega didn’t travel to the Sept. 29 game at Iowa State.
Texas Tech’s Oct. 20 game at TCU will be either an 11 a.m. kickoff televised by FX or a 2:30 p.m. start on ABC. The networks exercised a six-day advance option to make a final determination, meaning the time and television coverage won’t be set until after this weekend’s games.
TCU suffered a 37-23 home loss Saturday to Iowa State and subsequently dropped from No. 15 all the way out of The Associated Press Top 25. The Horned Frogs remain in the USA Today coaches poll at No. 23.
They’re 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12 Conference.
Running back Kenny Williams should be back near full speed for Saturday’s game against West Virginia, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday. Williams turned an ankle in last week’s 41-20 loss to Oklahoma and had only one rushing attempt after the first quarter.
He carried six times early, including a 7-yard touchdown that tied the score at 7.
Williams did not practice Sunday.
“But he’s walking around good,” Tuberville said. “It’s not one of those high ankle sprains. He just got it rolled. He’ll be ready to go.
Though defensive tackle Kerry Hyder has been the bellwether of the Texas Tech front four, defensive coordinator Art Kaufman likes what he’s been getting from the other defensive tackles. Delvon Simmons, Leon Mackey and Dennell Wesley haven’t been playmakers to the same extent, but Kaufman said they’ve been effective so far.
“A lot of times, a quarterback has to get out of there and scramble because of the pressure up front,” Kaufman said Monday. “There’s times where Delvon Simmons had a great pass rush, and all he did was hold his lane.
Sophomore running back DeAndre Washington was on the Texas Tech sideline in uniform Saturday at Iowa State, but offensive coordinator Neal Brown said the plan still is to redshirt him.
With Kenny Williams, Eric Stephens and SaDale Foster, the team has a running back to fit every role.
"We'd reconsider if we had an injury there," Brown said, "but right now we feel like we've got three guys that are healthy and ready to go. We took him in case there was an emergency, really."
Washington’s best game last season was against Oklahoma, the opponent this week.
Texas Tech’s use of two-back formations, a frequent deployment in three non-conference games, was nearly absent Saturday in a 24-13 victory at Iowa State. The Red Raiders spent a large majority of the time in one-back sets and sometimes in empty backfield.
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said it was by design, to combat the Cyclones’ rangy, 250-pound lineabackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein and big safety Jacques Washington.
“When we put two backs in the game, everything kind of got condensed,” Brown said Monday.
After the weekend’s games shook out, idle Texas Tech moved up a spot to No. 1 in the nation in total defense — a far cry from No. 114, where the Red Raiders finished last year. Tech’s yield is 160.3 yards per game, but against Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico.
“We have talked to our players about that,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “It’s good to look and say, ‘Hey, we have improved and we are getting better,’ and we have. But to that extent — being No. 1 — I don’t know whether we are at that point or not, or even close.
Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown was able to fulfill a preseason goal to get backup quarterback Michael Brewer a lot of playing time early. The redshirt freshman completed 23 for 34 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns, getting into all three non-conference games.
Now his playing time will likely diminish, for the obvious reason that Big 12 Conference games will be much closer.
Three of the 60 voters in The Associated Press Top 25 placed Texas Tech on their ballots this week, the same voters who included the Red Raiders last week. The three voters placed the Red Raiders at No. 21, No. 22 and No. 25, respectively, for a total of 10 points.
Texas Tech’s Oct. 6 home game against Oklahoma has been set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff with specific television coverage to be determined. The game will be televised by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. That determination will be made Sunday.