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Red Raider Gridiron | Injury Updates; Special Teams Preview; Clarity on the Offensive Line

LB Kris Williams, torn ACL, and OL Tony Morales, shoulder surgery, are both out with injuries. The official site previews the special teams unit. Hinton discusses starting a freshman quarterback.

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

1. Injury Updates | According the LAJ and various tweets from players backup LB Kris Williams tore his ACL in practice on Saturday. It was also noted on Friday in the LAJ that OL Tony Morales is having shoulder surgery, the opposite shoulder from the past year, and will be out at least until SMU. Like last year, I'm going to do my best to keep track of the injuries for each game.

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2. Special Teams Preview | The official site preview, and the accompanying video:

3. Practice Video | The TTU video guys put out a week 2 practice video that's awfully fun, you know, fun, right? And the official site put out a video for practice #16:

4. Notebook | The LAJ has some details on two of the notebooks linked in item #1 above, which is a bit of clarity on the offensive line:

The Red Raiders’ first-team line at the moment consists of Le’Raven Clark and Rashad Fortenberry at tackle, Jared Kaster at center, Alfredo Morales at one guard and either Trey Keenan or Beau Carpenter at the other. Short of getting hurt, each should be in the rotation.

Morales, Kaster and Keenan have set the tone since preseason workouts started two weeks ago, Hays said, with Carpenter close behind after he came back from a pectoral injury. None are seniors.

Also of note is that RB's Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington have separated from the pack and are 1A and 1B, which has seemed to be the thought since the spring. Here's RB coach Mike Jinks:

"Those dudes have separated themselves," Jinks said Friday. "Both those dudes are going to the league (pro football). I haven’t told them that, but a lot of it is the way you go about your business. I’m talking off the field, your approach, the way they practice.

"I don’t have to get on them. I can talk to them as men. They respond. They do a great job of leading. If (running back) Tyler Middleton’s not finishing his plays, I don’t have to say a thing. Kenny Williams, DeAndre Washington are the first people to jump on his tail."

The first link in item #1 above that mentions the Kris Williams injury also discusses a bit about the idea at the middle two linebacker spots might be to leave them on the field as long as possible rather than substitute them out and also a bit about the special teams, namely who will return punts. The most likely candidate is IR Sadale Foster.

5. You Are What You Are | A big welcome to Matt Hinton, from Sunday Morning Quarterback, who is now writing at Football Study Hall and on Saturday opined on starting a freshman quarterback situations, at Cal and possibly at Penn St. Hinton looked at all of the true freshman quarterbacks that threw 100 passes over the past handful of years (since 2008). The general idea is that a quarterback is what he and the thought that a quarterback will likely improve dramatically after his freshman year doesn't seem to be all that accurate (i.e. see David Ash, he is what he is and won't improve all that much). Essentially, you are what you are for the most part.

Among true freshman quarterbacks in the six major conferences over the last five years, in fact, only six have both a) Started a majority of their team's games, and b) Finished with a pass efficiency rating above 130, roughly in line with the national average.

One other caveat, which should be particularly important to Texas Tech fans is that there was another quarterback that had some success as a true freshman, Houston QB David Piland, who had a pass efficiency rating of 137. Kingsbury was the co-offensive coordinator of Houston with Piland at the helm. Houston only won two of the eight games that he played. Hinton only included the six major conferences, but if you needed a glimmer of hope that Kingsbury knows what he's doing, this is a good place to start.

6. Middleton Ready | The LAJ profiles RB Tyler Middleton, who is trying to crack that 1A and 1B Williams & Washington rotation with his speed. Here's Jinks on Middleton:

That hasn’t stopped Tech coaches from trying him at wide receiver, too. Though other Tech running backs in recent years have been spot-played in the slot, Middleton is viewed as a split end or flanker.

"More of an outside receiver, a guy that can stretch the field," Jinks said. "He can take the top off. He’s a 10.4 kid. He’ll be able to stretch the field a little bit, and he’s got really good hands.

"I know that we’ve put him out there and he has natural ability to run those slip screens and to stack people as you run fade routes. Tyler’s a good athlete. He can do a lot of different things."

7. Allen Gets Younger | The DMN has a bit on how LB Dakota Allen chose Texas Tech because the coaches were younger and more relatable and/or comfortable with them:

They’re a different staff than anyone else I’ve ever talked to. TCU, I had a great relationship with the linebackers coach and the head coach, but at Texas Tech it was just all the coaches. I guess it’s because they can relate to us. They’re younger, you know what I mean? We share the same interests. I don’t know, but whatever it was, it drew me to them."

8. Don't Use Kingbury | Per the LAJ, Texas Tech, on behalf of head coach Kliff Kingsbury has asked that local retailers not use his likeness on any merchandise. I would agree with this stance.

9. Big 12 Defenses Aren't That Bad | Football Study Hall with a look at defenses and the surprising conclusion is that the Big 12 defenses aren't that bad.

10. New Record for Annual Giving | Pat yourselves on the back as Texas Tech has established a new record for annual giving . . . $5.3 million.

11. ZIT Drumline | I was thinking about what I think about when I think of things I hear with college football and for me it's the drumline. Just hit play and start bobbing your head and tapping your foot.

12. Kliff Leads an Orchestra |

13. Defense is Under the Radar | The LAJ takes a larger view of the defense and how they've been doing during this fall camp. There are a couple of things that bear pointing out, the first being that the defense really isn't going to be what we've previously seen as it will be more aggressive. We tend to hear these things all offseason for every defense, but it sounds like we'll really see a defense that attacks more than sits back. Here's DT Kerry Hyder:

"We’re going to be coming from every direction, throwing different fronts at them, dropping the coverage, throwing different combinations at them," Hyder said. "It’ll definitely be difficult, especially the other offenses, especially if they haven’t seen them yet."

And Co-DC Matt Wallerstedt thinks that the face paced offense has helped the defense in terms of communications:

"I think they realize that this puts us in tip-top shape," Wallerstedt said, "not just for the offense to go fast, but defensively for us to see that — and everybody’s doing it now. The communication across the board, especially at the linebacker level and in the secondary, you’ve got to be adjusting to all the formations we see, all the different looks and making sure we get the calls in, communicate and execute our package without getting caught off guard."

14. Big 12 Starting QB's | The FWST looks at the various Big 12 teams that are still deciding on the starting quarterback.

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