Texas Tech won and lost this past Saturday against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. They won the game 59-45, but are now short-handed at the safety position of their defense. One player is no longer on the team and another won't be able to play the next few weeks due to injury.
During the game, senior safety Keenon Ward injured his arm and was forced to exit. According to reports, Kingsbury said he will miss at least two weeks after he went through surgery on Wednesday. Ward also wrote a post on his personal Facebook page confirming the news about his injury and surgery. He is a key senior captain of this defense who has started 23 games during his time at Tech. The best thing Ward brings to this defense is experience. He is the only senior safety on the team. It will be tough for this defense not having one of their best players on the field.
While Ward was hurt during the game, news broke after the game that another safety, Tevin Madison, would no longer be on the team. Before he switched to safety this summer, Madison was one of the better cornerbacks on the team. The past two seasons, he's produced some remarkable defensive plays which is huge given Tech's defensive woes in the past. He had a key interception against Oklahoma at the end of the first half his freshman year and another one at the beginning of the Arkansas game last year. He could've definitely filled the void left by Ward.
So, who is going to step up for the Red Raiders in the secondary with both of these players absent. The name I keep hearing about is Payton Hendrix. He replaced Jah'Shawn Johnson briefly in the game this past Saturday to give him a rest, but played the rest of the game after Ward was hurt. A sophomore from Dallas, Hendrix was primarily used last season on special teams recording 10 tackles. Other options Kingsbury discussed were freshman Kevin Moore, sophomore Kisean Allen, and redshirt freshman Christian Taylor. Moore and Allen have played sparingly during the first three games.
There is a noticeable lack of experience when it comes to these replacements for Ward. However, there is an upside to all of this. Texas Tech is currently on a bye week and they open conference play next Thursday night against 1-2 Kansas. Based on the timetable for Ward's return, this is the best scenario for the Red Raiders especially with their defensive struggles so far this season. Hopefully Ward can come back in time for the Kansas State game when Tech really starts hitting conference play.