Douglas nabs honor
Texas Tech cornerback Cornelius Douglas woke up Monday to a text message from associate athletic director of communications Blayne Beal.
“It said, ‘You’ve been named the Big 12 player of the week,’” Douglas said. “Man, I was pretty excited.”
Douglas was deserving of the honor after intercepting two Steele Jantz passes during the Red Raiders’ 24-13 victory Saturday at Iowa State.
Douglas returned his second interception to the Iowa State 9-yard line, setting up a fourth-quarter touchdown.
On his interception in the first half, Douglas baited Jantz into an errant throw by faking press coverage, then retreating off the line of scrimmage. Jantz bit on the decoy and threw a fade-pattern pass anyway, which led to an easy play for Douglas.
“It was a picture-perfect play on how you run that type of coverage,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said.
Tuberville on Monday also announced the team’s in-house players of the week, selected by the coaching staff.
Wide receiver Eric Ward was offensive player of the week after a nine-catch, 122-yard, one-touchdown performance.
Defensive tackle Kerry Hyder won the team’s defensive player of the week honor by making five tackles, two sacks and a key fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
Jarvis Phillips, who graded out at 90, according to Tuberville, was the special teams player of the week.
The weekly scout-team honors went to freshman defensive lineman Brad Duru and junior tight end C.J. Parkhill, an Idalou product.
Starts’ status unclear
Freshman defensive tackle Michael Starts missed the Iowa State because of a blood pressure issue, coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday.
It’s not determined whether Starts, who didn’t travel with the team to Ames, Iowa, will suit up when the Red Raiders host No. 17 Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I hope,” Tuberville said when asked if Starts could return against the Sooners. “We’ll reevaluate him this week and let the doctors make that call.”
Early in the season, the coaching staff said it hoped to redshirt the 6-foot-4, 303-pound Waco La Vega product, but Starts entered Tech’s third game of the season against New Mexico and recorded three tackles and a sack.
If the blood-pressure condition keeps Starts out the rest of the season, he could be eligible for a medical hardship waiver.
Where was two-back?
Texas Tech’s use of two-back formations, a frequent deployment in three non-conference games, was nearly absent in Saturday’s win at Iowa State. The Red Raiders spent a large majority of the time in one-back sets and sometimes in empty backfield.
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said it was by design, to combat the Cyclones’ rangy, 250-pound linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein and big safety Jacques Washington.
“When we put two backs in the game, everything kind of got condensed,” Brown said. “I thought (Washington) was a really good run defender, so what we wanted to do was kind of keep them spread out. The empty stuff was in that same regard.
“I thought if we could get them in space, we had a lot better chance of making plays than if we kept them in tight.”
The Red Raiders still ran the ball effectively. Kenny Williams carried 15 times for 80 yards, usually without fullback Omar Ontiveros or any other lead blocker in the backfield.
Sophomore running back DeAndre Washington was on the sideline in uniform Saturday, but offensive coordinator Neal Brown said the plan still is to redshirt him.
With Kenny Williams, Eric Stephens and SaDale Foster, the team has a running back to fit every role.
“We’d reconsider if we had an injury there,” Brown said, “but right now we feel like we’ve got three guys that are healthy and ready to go. We took him in case there was an emergency, really.”
Washington’s best game last season was against Oklahoma, the opponent this week. He carried 17 times for 86 yards in the 41-38 victory in Norman. He suffered a torn knee ligament Nov. 19 and had surgery Dec. 14, but Brown has said since August he is ready to play if needed.
DTs earn approval
Though defensive tackle Kerry Hyder has been the bellwether of the team’s front four, defensive coordinator Art Kaufman likes what he’s been getting from the other defensive tackles. Delvon Simmons, Leon Mackey and Dennell Wesley haven’t been playmakers to the same extent, but Kaufman said they’ve been effective so far.
“A lot of times, a quarterback has to get out of there and scramble because of the pressure up front,” Kaufman said. “There’s times where Delvon Simmons had a great pass rush, and all he did was hold his lane. He could have easily gotten collapsed out of there two or three times, probably would have a month ago. Now he’s matured into holding his rush lane integrity, and that’s the biggest thing those guys do.
“They understand their fits, where they’ve got to be within the rush scheme, and then our defensive ends complement them.”
Hyder leads the team in tackles for loss (five), sacks (three) and pass breakups (three). Simmons has five tackles, Wesley and Mackey three apiece, and defensive tackle Donte Phillips has four stops.
Back in black
Texas Tech will wear its all-black uniforms on Saturday against Oklahoma — black pants, black jerseys, black helmets — coach Tommy Tuberville announced Monday.
Tuberville said the school is also encouraging all fans to wear black for the 2:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will air locally and regionally on ABC and can be viewed on ESPN2 in other parts of the country.
“It’s going to be a cool day, around 70 degrees, so (wearing black) shouldn’t be a problem,” Tuberville said. “We want to show the people on national television what we look like in terms of being a Red Raider when we do have a blackout game.”
Tech expects a sellout crowd, as fewer than 800 tickets were left as of about 5 p.m. Monday.
West Virginia game set
Texas Tech will play its second straight game on national television when it hosts West Virginia on Oct. 13.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. and will air on ABC. That is the same game time and television listing for Tech’s game Saturday against Oklahoma.
The Mountaineers are ranked No. 8 in the most recent Associated Press poll and will face No. 11 Texas this week.
Compiled by Don Williams
and Nick Kosmider