Texas Tech defensive end Kris Williams is tied for the Big 12 lead with four sacks through four games. That’s a big jump for a 6-foot-1, 240-pound senior who came into this season with 12 career tackles and no sacks.
Williams initially was credited with 2 1/2 sacks against Kansas, and that was later changed to three sacks.
“I can’t really say how much I’ve grown,” Williams said after Tuesday's practice, “but I think I’m a pretty good pass rusher. I feel like I’ve been a pretty good rusher, but I have more confidence than I’ve had before. It should help.”
When Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Keke Coutee on one series last week and a 59-yard TD to Jonathan Giles on the next, he froze Kansas defenders with a run fake in both instances.
That’s nothing new. A lot of the Red Raiders’ TD passes and big plays this season have come off play-action.
Texas Tech director of football operations Tommy McVay recruited Dana Dimel to Kansas State when McVay was a Wildcats assistant from 1983-85.
Now Dimel is KSU co-offensive coordinator and his son, Winston Dimel, is fourth in the Big 12 this season with six touchdowns. Most of Dimel's TDs have come with him taking direct snaps in the wildcat formation.
Not many teams use a fullback as often as Kansas State. It’s a staple for the Wildcats, and perfect for the younger Dimel, who’s 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed on Tuesday that backup offensive lineman Cody Wheeler is no longer on the team. Kingsbury declined to comment on the reason for Wheeler’s departure.
Later Tuesday, a post on Wheeler's Twitter page said he’s giving up football because of concussions.
“Due to repeated concussions throughout my football playing career,” Wheeler wrote, “I have decided that it is best for my personal health that I retire from the game that I have loved ever since I was a kid.”
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Patrick Mahomes II spent the offseason harping on two areas in which Mahomes needed to improve: fewer interceptions and a higher completion percentage.
The number in the first column last season was 15, in the other 63.5.
Through three games this season, the junior from Whitehouse has two interceptions and a 71.2 percent completion rate.
Kingsbury was asked Monday if the emphasis was paying off.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday he expects starting offensive tackle Terence Steele and defensive end Zach Barnes to play in Thursday’s game against Kansas. Steele came out of the last game against Louisiana Tech with an ankle injury, and Barnes missed the last two games with a knee injury.
Kingsbury said both practiced last week, when the Red Raiders had an open date. Last week, Kingsbury said starting cornerback D.J. Polite-Bray also will return from the shoulder injury that prompted his exit for most of the game against Louisiana Tech.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury says he likes Les Miles and thinks Miles is “a phenomenal coach,” but he understands the culture of college football. So he’s realistic about LSU’s decision to fire its 12th-year head coach on Sunday.
“I’m sure he’ll land on his feet very soon,” Kingsbury said at Tech’s weekly Monday press conference. “I thought he did a great job there, but you know what you’re getting yourself into, and nobody is going to feel sorry for somebody making five millions dollars a year, and it’s part of the profession.”
With Texas Tech having an open date Saturday, the Red Raiders are practicing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. The latter will be the equivalent of a Monday game-week practice to start preparation for Tech’s Sept. 29 home game against Kansas. Players will be off Wednesday for schoolwork and rest and again Friday while coaches scatter to recruit. ... Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday it’s too early to tell whether starting OT Terence Steele (left ankle) will return for the Kansas game.
Da’Leon Ward’s path to playing time at running back appears blocked in the short term, but Texas Tech coaches decided to use the true freshman for what he can bring to special teams.
The Dallas Skyline product tackled a Louisiana Tech kickoff returner at the Bulldogs’ 19-yard line Saturday.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday he thinks Ward’s getting into the fray will help his development, even if his role doesn’t expand this season.
Freshman flanker T.J. Vasher made a good impression in preseaon practice and played in the season opener, but might have fallen from favor.
Responding Tuesday to a question about the 6-foot-5 wide receiver from Wichita Falls Rider, Kliff Kingsbury said, “He’s got to grow up off the field. His approach isn’t where it needs to be, or anywhere close. Physically, he’s very gifted, but he’s got to grow up.”
Kingsbury said an ankle injury that bothered Vasher early in the season isn’t an issue.
“He’s fully healthy,” Kingsbury said. “He’s just got to mature.”