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Red Raiders football notebook: Competition on corner

Texas Tech cornerback Derrick Mays' starting job might be in jeopardy after he was benched during a 35-34 victory Saturday against Nevada.

Posted: September 26, 2011 - 11:41pm  |  Updated: September 27, 2011 - 12:01am
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Competition on corner

Texas Tech cornerback Derrick Mays’ starting job might be in jeopardy after he was benched during a 35-34 victory Saturday against Nevada. Defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow said Monday that Mays was fine physically.

“Derrick had a chance to make a few plays that he didn’t go make,” Glasgow said, “and for us to be successful we’ve got to win one-on-ones. We gave them some third downs in some crucial situations that we can’t afford to give up.”

Glasgow was more upbeat about the job Jarvis Phillips did. Phillips, who led the team with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups last season, had a slow comeback from shoulder surgery and was a non-factor in August practice and the first two games. He played a lot Saturday.

“I thought Jarvis made a couple of really nice plays,” Glasgow said.

Phillips successfully defended an out-and-up shortly after he entered the game. Late in the game, with Nevada at the Tech 3-yard line and leading 31-28, Phillips broke up a pass in the end zone.

“Those were both really big plays,” Glasgow said.

This week’s practices will determine who starts, Glasgow said. Tre Porter, who missed Saturday’s game, is the team’s regular boundary corner. Another option at field corner is Eugene Neboh, who started Saturday for Porter and the week before for Mays when Mays got sick before kickoff of the New Mexico game.

 

Mackey return imminent

Defensive end Leon Mackey will be available to play this week, head coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday, a return that came much faster than the team originally anticipated. After Mackey suffered a partially collapsed lung in the Sept. 3 season opener, Tuberville indicated Mackey would be out several weeks, possibly even for the season.

However, he has gradually participated more and more in practice and took part in about 40 plays of a 60-play scrimmage Sunday night at Jones AT&T Stadium.

 

Daniels’ suspension indefinite

Running back Ronnie Daniels’ suspension is indefinite, Tech spokesman Blayne Beal said Monday. Daniels missed both the season opener against Texas State and Saturday’s game against Nevada because of suspensions for violating team rules.

With Daniels unavailable, Tech coaches decided to forgo trying to redshirt true freshman Kenny Williams last week to give them more running back options.

Daniels took part in the team’s weekly Sunday scrimmage that involves mostly younger players and others down the depth chart.

 

Moore back soon

Though Darrin Moore is listed as doubtful for this week’s game, the junior wide receiver’s injuries don’t appear to be a long-term issue. Moore twisted his right knee and his left ankle Saturday when a Nevada defender came down his back on a deep pass.

“He was walking around on it pretty good yesterday,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “They are not going to rule him out, but he can’t play this week, to this point.

“Receivers and running backs, those guys use their legs obviously, and they have to be strong or we’re not going to put him out there. There’s not a lot of difference between a lot of the guys we have behind him.”

Seniors Jacoby Franks and Tramain Swindall filled Moore’s flanker spot for the last 31/2 quarters Saturday.

Moore posted Monday on Twitter that he expects to be back for the Texas A&M game on Oct. 8.

 

No dropoff

Tech coaches’ decision to take Eric Stephens off kickoff return duty looked sound Saturday night. The junior running back set career highs for rushing attempts (26) and yards (134), and Ben McRoy set school records for kickoff returns (seven) and return yardage (203). On Monday, McRoy was named Big 12 Conference special teams player of the week.

Stephens broke virtually all the major single-season and career Tech records for kickoff returns when he was a freshman and sophomor.

He said he expects McRoy, a speedy sophomore, to outdo him.

“It’s only a matter of time before he breaks them all,” Stephens said. “He’s got a couple of years left, and he’s tremendously fast, so it’ll probably take him less time to break them than it took me to break them.”

 

Top-40 rushing team

Three games into the season might be too early to identify a trend, but Tech is in the unusual position of having the nation’s 38th-ranked rushing offense with Eric Stephens’ 16th in the country individually, averaging 114.7 yards per game.

Tech moved up by rushing for 219 yards in Saturday’s 35-34 victory against Nevada.

“I think it has a lot to do with us having an entire line back,” Stephens said, referring to all five starters returning from last year. “We are going to lose a couple of guys next year. But for us to have everyone back, it helped us get off to a quicker start than what we did last year and the previous years.”

Tech ranks ninth in passing offense and total offense and seventh in scoring offense.

Tech had 38 runs and 38 passes Saturday. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said it wasn’t an attempt to be balanced. Instead, Tech’s staff game-planned thinking they should take advantage of a size advantage up front.

 

Offensive ideas

With Tech trying to incorporate some elements of the pistol offense, Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown was asked if he saw pistol practitioner Nevada do anything new Saturday that he wanted to add.

Brown said the fact the Red Raiders have only two tight ends and one fullback available limits the breadth of what they can do with the pistol. Brown said the Wolf Pack stock their roster with three or four tight ends and fullbacks apiece.

“I thought they did a really good job with ball deception,” Brown said. “It was hard for our guys to find the ball. It was hard for me watching to find the ball sometimes, so we’re going to look at some of that. But what they can do with their personnel groupings isn’t necessarily what we can do.”

 

Tech, A&M set for TV

Texas Tech’s Oct. 8 home game against Texas A&M was picked up for television Monday and set for a 6 p.m. kickoff. It will be televised by FX or FSN.

The game originally was selected for FX, Tech announced, but FSN invoked a contractual allowance to switch the Baylor-Iowa State and Tech-A&M games if it chooses.

That decision will be made six days in advance.

 

Players of week

Tech announced its players of the week for last week’s game against Nevada. Tech coach Tommy Tuberville chooses the weekly honorees after victories.

Offense: RB Eric Stephens, 5-8, 195, Jr., Mansfield Timberview: Stephens ran 26 times for 134 yards — both career highs — and two touchdowns.

Defense: DT Kerry Hyder, 6-2, 268, So., Austin LBJ: Hyder was credited with five solo tackles, plus a sack, two tackles for loss and a quarterback pressure.

Special teams: RB Ben McRoy, 5-9, 163, So., Lakeland, Fla.: McRoy broke school records for kickoff returns (seven) and kickoff-return yardage (203). His last six returns gave the Red Raiders’ field position outside their 30-yard line.

Scout team offense: WR Tyson Williams, 5-11, 218, Jr., Aldine.

Scout team defense: LB Justin Cooper, 6-0, 208, Fr., Davie, Fla., University School.

 

In brief

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown praised the play of LT LaAdrian Waddle and LG Lonnie Edwards. Waddle graded higher Saturday than any lineman has in his year-plus on the Tech staff, Brown said. ... Though QB Seth Doege had 48- and 26-yard runs Saturday, offensive coordinator Neal Brown said he would never want Doege to run 10 or 12 times a game. “What we tell him is once you get past your third read, you can get out of the pocket if you see grass,” Brown said.

 

Compiled by Don Williams

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PLAY SELECTION... 38 RUN ...38 PASS

Let our QB get in a groove, before starting to run the ball

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