Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes and return man Jakeem Grant on Monday were named the Big 12 offensive and special teams players of the week, respectively.
Mahomes threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns, and Grant returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in Tech’s 59-45 win against Sam Houston State.
Jonathan Giles’ two catches for 12 yards Saturday in Texas Tech's 59-45 conquest of Sam Houston State give the impression his game was nothing special. But for a true freshman who played quarterback in high school, Giles’ debut as an inside receiver was promising, offensive coordinator Eric Morris said.
“His look was really good before the game,” Morris said. “He played hard. He played smart. He got open on some stuff.”
Morris said it’s a continuation of what Giles has shown for a month.
Texas Tech split end Devin Lauderdale provided a lot of sizzle in the season opener, catching eight passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The catches and yards were career highs, and the touchdowns total matched a career high.
When fans weren’t watching Lauderdale, though, he was subpar, offensive coordinator Eric Morris said.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed Monday that defensive tackle Josh Outlaw is no longer on the team. Kingsbury declined to provide specifics to a follow-up question.
Outlaw was just starting his third year in the program. He was a highly recruited offensive lineman from Georgia who made the travel roster for several games as a true freshman.
He played in nine games last year and was moved to defensive tackle late in the season, but wasn’t in the two-deep when camp ended.
One of the decisions facing Texas Tech co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith early this week was identifying personnel for his speed front, the package the Red Raiders use when they have opponents in third-and-long situations.
“I’ve got Pete (Robertson), B-Jack (Branden Jackson), Andre (Ross), Zeus (Zach Barnes), DA (Demetrius Alston),” said Smith, who coaches the defensive line. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can rush the passer, and so I’ll get my four best pass rushers.”
One of the neat stories of Texas Tech’s preseason workouts came when sophomore defensive end Talor Nunez was placed on scholarship. That development came just two years after he joined the program as a 200-pound walk-on safety candidate who’d been a high school quarterback.
Apparently, achieving that didn’t make Nunez complacent.
Some eyebrows were raised Sunday when the Midland Lee product showed up second team on the depth chart to starting defensive end Branden Jackson. Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Nunez passed Gary Moore and Andre Ross on performance.
Texas Tech offensive lineman Conner Dyer from Mesquite Horn will undergo season-ending knee surgery, Tech coach Kliff Kingbury said Monday.
Dyer is a freshman and already was expected to redshirt this season.
Texas Tech’s defensive line was criticized as much or more than any other part of the team’s 122nd-ranked defense last season, but the players returning there have looked as good as any unit to new defensive coordinator David Gibbs.
“Simply because they’re older. They’re veteran guys,” Gibbs said Monday. “A few of them, this is the last go-round. I think they’re taking advantage of it. They’re working harder.”
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs is a lot more concerned about a Texas Tech run defense that was fifth-worst in the FBS last season than he is about a pass rush.
“We’ve got some depth up front, some guys we’ll rotate in that we think can rush the quarterback,” Gibbs said Monday, “but I’m not sure that’s been the problem around here. I’m thinking the problem around here has been, can we stay in our gaps in the run game? So that’s what we’re focusing on.”