In putting together his game plan this week, Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt has to consider more than TCU’s offensive personnel. Wallerstedt doesn’t want to be predictable, because Horned Frogs coaches know him well.
With Texas Tech’s change in defensive coordinator and switch to a 3-4 front, Jackson Richards moved from defensive end to defensive tackle back in the spring. Then the adjustment took him even farther inside.
The second week of training camp, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound junior went to noseguard.
“It’s been fun, actually,” Richards said. “They told me one day in practice, ‘We’re going to try you at nose.’ I don’t know if I was nervous, but I’d never done that since pee-wee football. But I got in there and it’s kind of fun.”
There’s a football saying that the backup quarterback is the most popular player on the team. This week at Texas Tech, the most popular player might be the third-string running back.
Quinton White’s five mostly flashy carries for 71 yards in the second half of Saturday’s 61-13 victory against Stephen F. Austin had some Tech fans advocating more playing time for the redshirt freshman, especially after the lackluster rushing game the Red Raiders displayed the week before at SMU.
Tech running backs coach Mike Jinks isn’t deaf to the chatter.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury indicated Monday, Sept. 9, that he doesn’t anticipate a quick comeback for Michael Brewer, his most illuminating comments to date on the Red Raiders’ injured quarterback.
Brewer hasn’t practiced in a month because of a back injury. That being the case, I asked Kingsbury during his weekly news conference how much practice time Brewer will need once he is cleared to make himself a viable option again.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday said guard Beau Carpenter and inside receiver Jordan Davis are “day-to-day”, Carpenter with an ankle sprain and Davis with a tweaked hamstring. He said safety Tre Porter, who came out of the game late on Friday, was “just tired” and is fine for this week.
Carpenter was in a walking boot, then on crutches as he went to the locker room after the game Friday.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has said several times that the proliferation of spread-passing offenses makes giving up yards inevitable, so his goal is to force turnovers and limit teams to field goals.
Tech came up with no turnovers Friday, but tough red-zone defense was key to the team’s 41-23 victory Friday at SMU.
“At times, we were really stingy,” defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said Monday, “especially in the red zone. Our guys were bowing their neck and playing aggressive and not giving up touchdowns.”
Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith can foresee a day when Zach Barnes and Malik Jenkins are key players on the Texas Tech defense. When asked Tuesday which newcomers have a chance to help early, Smith said those two have stood out in preseason practice.
Barnes, who Tech lists at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, has moved from Tech’s “bandit” outside linebacker to defensive end. The freshman from Loganville, Ga., is learning behind senior Dartwan Bush and sophomore Branden Jackson. Jenkins, listed at 6-2 and 205, is a middle linebacker.
Rashad Fortenberry will start at right tackle in the season opener, Texas Tech offensive line coach Lee Hays said, after finally getting enough time in training camp to win the job. The 6-foot-5, 297-pound senior missed most of spring practice with an ankle injury and the start of August workouts coming back from meniscus surgery.
“Right now, Rashad’s starting to come on,” Hays said Tuesday. “I’m excited about how much he’s improved. I’ve gotten a chance to see him get after it a little bit. He was hurt the first half of camp, really, but I’m excited about him.”
Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator Eric Morris could play a couple of true freshmen at inside receiver positions this year. The “H” and “Y” inside receiver spots both are two-deep with returnees, but February signees Dylan Cantrell from Whitehouse and Carlos Thompson from Manvel will travel for the SMU game, Morris indicated Tuesday, and are being prepared to play.
The 5-foot-9, 173-pound Thompson was a low-profile recruit despite a 67-catch, 1,400-yard senior season at a Class 5A high school. He could get some snaps behind Jakeem Grant and Sadale Foster.
The $5.3 million in annual donations to the Red Raider Club that Texas Tech announced last week will be sufficient to cover scholarship costs for all athletes, a Tech official said.
According to Amy Heard, associate athletic director/Red Raider Club, the total tab for athletic scholarships for fall, spring and summer comes to $5.217 million.
It’s the first time donations have met or exceeded scholarship costs, according to Tech officials. In recent years, annual shortfalls have been in the range of $2 million to $3 million, according to reports in the Avalanche-Journal.