SAN DIEGO– Texas Tech safety Tanner Jacobson will get the start in his final football game of the foreseeable future Monday in the Holiday Bowl. Safeties coach Trey Haverty said so after the team’s workout Friday night at UC-San Diego.
The freshman from Southlake Carroll is leaving the program at mid-term for a two-year Mormon mission toBolivia.
Former Texas Tech linebacker Bront Bird, now of the San Diego Chargers, was a visitor to the Red Raiders’ practice Thursday night at UC-San Diego. So was former coach Rick Neuheisel, now a TV analyst.
Neuheisel visited after the workout with Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Bird, in his second year in the NFL, has 28 tackles this season. The Chargers (8-7) host the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, and then Bird's alma mater plays at Qualcomm the following night.
SAN DIEGO-- Texas Tech hasn’t played a football game in four weeks, and the down time has helped several injured defensive players heal.
Safety Tre Porter and linebacker Terrance Bullitt both have had their casts removed, co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said after Thursday night’s practice at UC-San Diego, Porter for a dislocated thumb and Bullitt for a broken hand.
Both ended the regular season playing with padded casts.
SAN DIEGO -- Texas Tech backup linebacker Austin Stewart is not with the team in San Diego for the Holiday Bowl, an athletic department spokesman said Thursday.
Tech spokesman Blayne Beal said it "was a coaches' decision to leave him behind."
The news came hours before the Red Raiders' first on-site practice for Monday's game against No. 16 Arizona State (10-3). The Red Raiders work out at 8:45 p.m. CST Thursday at UC-San Diego.
Sophomore lineman Tony Morales could return to practice next week, offensive line coach Lee Hays said, after missing the regular season with a torn shoulder labrum.
When Morales comes back, he’ll be one of the several players scheduled to get time at center. In addition to starter Jared Kaster, Hays has given — or plans to give — work snapping to Baylen Brown, Alfredo Morales, Tony Morales and Joey White, the latter a walk-on transfer from Sam Houston State.
All five also play guard.
Hays says he doesn’t want to get caught short at center.
Former Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield plans to transfer to Oklahoma in January and walk on to the football team, according to a report Thursday by the Austin American-Statesman, Mayfield’s hometown newspaper.
The report cited an unnamed source close to Mayfield.
Arizona State running back Marion Grice was a big concern for any team preparing to face the Sun Devils this season, but there’s a chance Texas Tech could catch a break.
Grice missed the team’s regular-season finale against Arizona and the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford with a lower-leg injury. On Sunday, the Arizona Republic reported Grice is in a protective boot, walking with a limp and hasn’t practiced in three weeks.
Texas Tech recently moved two members of its 2013 signing class from offense to defense, with Gary Moore going from wide receiver to defensive end and Tyler Middleton going from running back to cornerback.
Moore, the former Clarksville High School standout, was 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds when he reported in the summer. Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt hopes in a year or two Moore can look something like starting defensive end Branden Jackson, who is 6-4 and 248.
In fact, he already does somewhat.
Texas Tech safety Tanner Jacobson, who cracked the starting lineup as a true freshman walk-on this season, will leave the program at mid-term for a two-year Mormon mission, athletic department spokesman Blayne Beal confirmed Thursday.
Jacobson will be with the team through the Holiday Bowl game Dec. 30 against Arizona State, Beal said.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound former Southlake Carroll standout ranks 10th on the team with 40 tackles, including one tackle for loss. He’s also been credited with a two caused fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt is Texas Tech’s highest paid assistant football coach, but ranks no better than 74th in the nation and 14th in the Big 12 Conference in pay among his colleagues, according to a national survey.
USA Today on Wednesday published a pay scale for all assistants in the FBS that showed three making more than $1 million this year. The leader is Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, the former Lake Travis head coach, at more than $1.3 million.