SAN DIEGO —Texas Tech hasn’t played a football game in four weeks, and the down time has helped several injured defensive players heal.
Safety Tre Porter and linebacker Terrance Bullitt both have had their casts removed, co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said after Thursday night’s practice at UC-San Diego, Porter for a dislocated thumb and Bullitt for a broken hand.
Both ended the regular season playing with padded casts.
Noseguard Dennell Wesley, who missed the last two regular-season game with a sprained ankle, practiced Thursday.
“We’ve got guys that have been beat up all year that are coming back on defense that are looking healthy,” Smith said, “and guys that just were fighting nagging injuries are looking healthy. Today I was watching Terrance, and he’s just a totally different person.”
Defensive tackle Dartwan Bush and cornerback Bruce Jones also have had extra recovery time, Bush from the sprained knee he suffered at midseason that caused him to miss four games, and Jones from the concussion he suffered in the regular-season finale.
That should give Tech, a two-touchdown underdog, a better chance in Monday’s Holiday Bowl against No. 16 Arizona State.
“It’ll be good to see most of our pieces back on defense from when were playing pretty well — to get those guys back and see what we can do,” Smith said.
Checking out Tech
Former Texas Tech linebacker Bront Bird, now of the San Diego Chargers, was a visitor to the Red Raiders’ practice Thursday night at UC-San Diego. So was former coach Rick Neuheisel, now a TV analyst.
Neuheisel visited after the workout with Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Bird, in his second year in the NFL, has 28 tackles this season. The Chargers (8-7) host the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, and then Bird’s alma mater plays at Qualcomm the following night.
Compiled by Don Williams