On the inside
With Texas Tech’s change in defensive coordinator and switch to a 3-4 front, Jackson Richards moved from defensive end to defensive tackle back in the spring. Then the adjustment took him even farther inside.
The second week of training camp, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound junior went to noseguard.
“It’s been fun, actually,” Richards said. “They told me one day in practice, ‘We’re going to try you at nose.’ I don’t know if I was nervous, but I’d never done that since pee-wee football. But I got in there and it’s kind of fun.”
Richards has been productive in limited time so far. In last week’s 61-13 victory against Stephen F. Austin, he recovered a fumble the first play he was in the game, and it set up a touchdown. On the second play he was in, he got penetration and batted a pass.
Kerry Hyder started at noseguard against SFA, and Richards and Dennell Wesley backed him up.
“It’s good to have Kerry and Dennell,” Richards said. “They have a lot of experience, to tell me when I’m doing something stupid or wrong in practice, and so I learned from them. We’ve got a great coach in (defensive line) coach (John) Scott, so it really wasn’t too big of a transition.”
Branden Jackson and Dartwan Bush have gotten most of the snaps at end, with senior Chris Knighton and freshman Zach Barnes also seeing some time there. The Red Raiders have manned the tackle spot mainly with Bush, Hyder and newcomer Demetrious Alston.
Richards put on about 10 pounds during the offseason to get ready to move inside from end. Now he’s trying to play with high effort and adopt a noseguard’s mentality.
“Whenever you’re playing end, there’s never a play when you’re going against one guy and two guys come in to bang on you,” Richards said, “so that was a little bit, ‘All right, this is different.’ But you get used to it pretty quick.”
In putting together his game plan this week, Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt has to consider more than TCU’s offensive personnel. Wallerstedt doesn’t want to be predictable, because Horned Frogs coaches know him well.
TCU beat Air Force every year from 2008 through 2011, when Wallerstedt was on the academy’s defensive staff. And TCU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rusty Burns served as OC and quarterbacks coach from 1999 to 2001 at Wyoming, whereas Wallerstedt was on the Cowboys’ staff from 1997 through 2002. Wallerstedt and Burns were Cowboys’ coordinators at the same time for a couple of those years.
“They’ve seen some of our wrinkles,” Wallerstedt said. “So we’ve had to really look hard at what we’ve done in the past and put together a menu that our (players) could operate. Not overdo it for our guys, but also keep them (TCU coaches) guessing.”
Tech safeties coach and special teams coordinator Trey Haverty spent five of the last six years on the TCU staff, though he downplayed what insight he can offer about the Horned Frogs’ Xs and Os.
“The Xs and Os are going to change,” Haverty said. “The only insight I can give is I know they’re really well-coached, because I’ve seen it firsthand.”
Long time coming
Tight end Jace Amaro has a chance Saturday to play his first full game in a long time. Amaro played only the first half of the Red Raiders’ 61-13 rout of Stephen F. Austin, because Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury rested his starters the entire second half.
Amaro was suspended for the first half of the season opener at SMU for punching a Minnesota player in the third quarter of the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas back in December. That resulted in his ejection.
And he missed the last six games of the 2012 regular season with a spleen injury he suffered in the second quarter of the West Virginia game last October.
“That was kind of the storyline last year,” Amaro said. “I only played the first half of the first three games last year. I’m expecting to play the full game this next game. But if it takes just one half, I’d be perfectly happy with that.”
Texas Tech announced Tuesday that 6,000 tickets remain for the Red Raiders’ home game Thursday against No. 24 TCU. ... Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said IR Jordan Davis’ status will be a game-time decision. Davis caught five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown in the season opener at SMU, but suffered a hamstring injury in that game that caused him to miss last week’s win over Stephen F. Austin. ... Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said the defense’s top player last week against Stephen F. Austin was MLB Micah Awe, followed closely by FS Tre Porter. “Tre’s been playing really good football for us,” he said. ... Backup bandit OLB Andre Ross left last week’s game with an undisclosed injury. If he were unable to go, Wallerstedt said Zach Winbush, Malik Jenkins and Branden Jackson all have spent some time at that position.
Compiled by Don Williams