Texas Tech linebacker Kris Williams suffered a potentially serious knee injury Saturday, according to one of his teammates.
Tech running back Quinton White posted on Twitter that Williams suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. No immediate confirmation could be obtained from Tech.
The Red Raiders scrimmaged Saturday, but the event was closed to the public and media and there was no media availability afterward.
Williams, a redshirt freshman from Dallas Bryan Adams, started training camp as the team’s third-string middle linebacker.
The battles for starting jobs at Texas Tech’s two inside linebacker positions might matter a little more this year than last. That’s because if two separate themselves, they might be less likely to being subbed in and out than last season.
“I do believe if there’s a clear-cut two, then you need to let them play and then spot where needed to keep them fresh,” said defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt, who doubles as inside linebackers coach.
Wallerstedt said before camp that, based on what he witnessed in spring, the two starters would likely come from Micah Awe, Will Smith and Sam Eguavoen. Blake Dees, who also was in the rotation last year, is the other inside linebacker in the two-deep.
Tech’s linebackers rotated frequently last year, every few series or within series. That was the pattern of then-defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, who coached linebackers.
“If drives continue and they start to drop off with their energy level and all that, then I do think you’ve got to keep your defense fresh,” Wallerstedt said. “It really just depends. Like I said before, if you rotate them too much, maybe they can’t get into a rhythm. But I do think we’ll rep two-deep.”
Senior Sadale Foster is the frontrunner to be the team’s punt-return specialist, a job receiver Austin Zouzalik held the last four years. Foster has a solid track record, having been a first-team all-conference punt-return man two years ago in junior college.
Then again, that was in California, where Foster readily admits he rarely had to deal with the swirling winds he’ll confront while fielding kicks in Jones AT&T Stadium.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s a big concern here,” Foster said. “You have to learn how to read the ball. You have to understand how the wind is in West Texas, and that makes it really tough to catch balls out here, especially in the stadium. It just whips down in there and the ball will carry.”
Special teams coach Trey Haverty has stressed that having someone who safely catches every punt is more important than having a dangerous return man with inconsistent hands.
In addition to Haverty, Foster said he’s listened to tips from Eric Morris, the co-offensive coordinator. Morris knows what he speaks because he returned punts during his Tech playing career.
“He’s done a great job of teaching me things that he had success on when he was catching punts here,” Foster said. “That’s helping me a lot, as far as reading the ball and knowing that if it’s pointed a certain way, how it’s going to get to me and how I’m going to catch it. It’s been real beneficial having him back there, helping me out, because he’s played here and he understands the winds of West Texas.”
Compiled by Don Williams