Holding back Starts
Texas Tech coaches have held out Michael Starts in the first two games, hoping to redshirt the freshman defensive tackle. Still, it’s likely to be a week-to-week decision. Starts is practicing every day with the first- and second-team players in the defensive tackle rotation, Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said.
“One guy goes down, he’s going to have to play,” Tuberville said Wednesday. “We’re probably wishing too much and got our fingers crossed too much. He could play this week, depending on how things go.”
Tech’s top four are Kerry Hyder, Delvon Simmons, Leon Mackey and Dennell Wesley. Redshirt freshman Donte Phillips also has played in the first two games.
Last year, defensive end Branden Jackson was in a situation to similar to what Starts is in now. Jackson wound up redshirting.
“In hindsight, about the seventh, eighth game last year we probably should have played Branden,” Tuberville said. “But you look at him and you go, ‘Man, what’s he going to look like four years from now?’ That’s kind of what we play against. So we need to get into that redshirt mode.”
Saddle up Stephens
After getting 19 touches in the season opener via 16 rushes and three receptions, running back Eric Stephens wasn’t as busy in game two at Texas State. Stephens carried six times for 62 yards, the highlight being a 46-yard run on third-and-5 from the Tech 6-yard line. He didn’t catch a pass.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Stephens has had some soreness in his surgically repaired knee, which is to be expected.
“You’re not going to go through an injury like that and not have some soreness,” Tuberville said. “I’m just proud of where he’s at. He could get 10 carries this week. He could get five. He could get 20. It just depends on how things are going.”
Tuberville said Stephens will probably be given a couple of days off from practice next week before an open date, but he’ll still work out some to get ready for nine games in nine weeks after that.
“Put a saddle on him and ride him,” Tuberville said.
Compiled by Don Williams