Texas Tech expected to feel the loss of Eric Ward this season. Not only did he catch more than 80 passes three years in a row, but he played a rough, physical style when a teammate had the football.
The Red Raiders felt his absence right away Saturday.
Texas Tech offensive coordinator Eric Morris said freshman receiver Cameron Batson will have a chance this week to play on offense, but at different positions than the ones at which he’s been projected.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and Morris weren’t pleased with the play of their outside receivers in Saturday’s 42-35 win against Central Arkansas and said they’ll plug in Batson there — at split end or flanker either one.
Batson started preseason practice training behind Jakeem Grant and Jordan Davis at "H" inside receiver.
Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt picked a conspicuous stretch to insert safeties Jalen Barnes and Josh Keys for their first career defensive snaps: virtually the entire fourth quarter of a game that hadn’t been decided.
Barnes, a redshirt freshman, and Keys, a junior college transfer, went in with 12:58 left Saturday and Tech up 35-21. They played every snap the last two series, during which Central Arkansas drove 15 plays to get within 35-28 and nine plays to cut it to 42-35.
Wallerstedt said he wanted to get both some playing time.
Texas Tech linebacker Chris Payne is enrolled in school for the fall semester, defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said Monday, and could be a candidate to help the team late in the season.
Payne was on the sideline in jersey and shorts Saturday night during the Red Raiders’ 42-35 victory against Central Arkansas.
Texas Tech noseguard Rika Levi is day to day, coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday, with the right knee injury he suffered in Saturday’s season opener against Central Arkansas.
“It wasn’t as bad as initially thought, which was good,” Kingsbury said. “So we’re going to brace him up and see how he’s feeling. But he’s day to day as of right now.”
Levi got hurt on his fifth play, a fourth-and-1 in Tech territory in the first quarter.
Although freshman Patrick Mahomes seems to be in an obvious will-play situation this season as the No. 2 quarterback, it remains to be seen how the Red Raiders will use him.
Since Tech coaches have no plans to redshirt Mahomes, they could try to get him into every game or nearly every game to maximize his development.
Luckless Tech lineman Tony Morales is out again — this time for an indefinite period with a knee injury — Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed Monday.
Morales, a junior from Arlington Houston, has suffered season-ending injuries — one to each shoulder and also to a knee — each of the last three years. He’s never played in a game.
Texas Tech offensive coordinator Eric Morris said slot receiver Ian Sadler caught the third-most passes of any Red Raiders receiver during preseason practices and will be a phenomenal player.
Tech fans might not see the start of that until 2015, howeveer.
Tech coaches will try to redshirt the freshman signee from Argyle, Morris said Monday. Sadler and Oklahoma City Millwood product Cameron Batson — both freshmen, both inside receivers and both punt-return candidates — ostensibly were battling each other for a spot.
Texas Tech had its first weekly football news conference of the season Monday.
Here’s the most noteworthy stuff to come out of it:
— Tony Morales is out indefinitely with a knee injury, Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed, yet another shot of bad news for the junior center. Morales suffered season-ending injuries each of the previous three years: on both shoulders and a knee.
Nigel Bethel II
Ht./Wt.: 5-9, 178
High school: Miami (Fla.) Washington