Who's been the most eye-opening defensive player this spring? One guy stands out to Tech co-DC Mike Smith

Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said before spring practice that sophomore safety Keenon Ward needed to finish better on tackles and show more confidence at the point of attack.

Ward apparently took the message to heart.

Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Ward has stood out this spring, not just among the candidates for an open safety spot, but on the defense in general.

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was in a playful mood apparently when he phoned Tech tackle Rashad Fortenberry one morning, not quite five weeks ago. Kingsbury had good reason to be lighthearted.

April 1, 2014 - 9:01pm

Cantrell's position, Marquez's commitment to football, returning linebackers, a solid punter and injuries are all highlights of Saturday's practice scrimmage

March 29, 2014 - 10:46pm

No longer looking over his shoulder at Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer, Webb gave another four-TD, no-interceptions performance in an intrasquad scrimmage

March 29, 2014 - 7:21pm

Odds and ends from Texas Tech's scrimmage in Midland

MIDLAND — Among the players who sat out Saturday were SEs Devin Lauderdale and Derreck Edwards and DE Branden Jackson. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Lauderdale had a staph infection and Edwards and Jackson both had been bothered by headaches. He said he expects all three back for Monday’s practice. He said Edwards and Lauderdale had missed a couple of workouts each. ... Jackson’s being held out gave DE Zach Barnes a chance to go with the first team. ... NT Donte Phillips had a touch sack on QB Tanner Tausch and a tackle for loss on FB Rodney Hall, both in the first half of the scrimmage.

Symmank averages 51 yards per punt, but consistency's the queston he must answer

MIDLAND — Texas Tech punter Taylor Symmank averaged 50.8 yards with good hang time on eight punts during a special-teams segment of Saturday's scrimmage. Two caveats: It wasn’t a live period, so there was no rush, and Symmank had a south wind at his back.

Nevertheless, it’s no secret the junior from McKinney Boyd has a strong leg, so strong that he briefly took the job from senior Ryan Erxleben last September. He punted 12 times for a 42-yard average, but didn’t show the consistency coaches wanted.

Red Raiders get some defensive players back from extended injury absences

MIDLAND -- Linebackers Andre Ross and Kris Williams and defensive tackle Keland McElrath all took part in Saturday’s scrimmage, which constituted good news for the Tech defense.

Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said last week that McElrath had gotten back on the field after being bothered since last season with a foot stress fracture.

Williams suffered a torn ACL in August, and Wallerstedt was not expecting to see him back in the mix before late spring, if at all. And Ross had a back issue over the winter that kept him out at the beginning of spring.

Kingsbury: Marquez plans to stay with Tech football team, forgo baseball this summer

MIDLAND -- Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said senior inside receiver Bradley Marquez will not play pro baseball this summer for the first time since 2011. Marquez has spent school years with the Red Raiders and the summers of 2012 and 2013 in the New York Mets’ minor-league system.

“Now, he’s not done for good, but not (playing baseball) this summer,” Kingsbury said after the team’s scrimmage Saturday. “He’s going to stick around and work out.”

Kingsbury sounded excited about what Marquez can achieve.

Dylan Cantrell's on the move again, and another young receiver benefits with scrimmage-high seven catches

MIDLAND -- Texas Tech coaches have gone back and forth on whether to play sophomore Dylan Cantrell as an inside receiver or an outside receiver. He spent the 2013 regular season inside, but during Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage at Grande Communications Stadium, he was back on the outside, at flanker. 

Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said it was a recent move.

One of Davis Webb’ more impressive passes of the day was a 26-yard touchdown shot to Cantrell, who was lined up outside.