LUBBOCK — Texas Tech wide receiver Alex Torres missed Sunday's game against SMU with an injury. WR Austin Zouzalik and OL Beau Carpenter both had appendectomies during fall camp and also sat out last week's game.
Torres will travel with the team to Albuquerque for this week's game. Additionally, Zouzalik is maybe a week or two from returning to his customary role as Detron Lewis' primary backup, but he's at least penciled in as the punt returner this week.
Offensive lineman Mickey Okafor will also make the trip and is expected to play.
That's important for this Red Raider team. Based off last year's performance, Torres was Tech's most consistent receiver. Alex wasn't missed too badly in Sunday's game against SMU, but it took a Herculean effort from Lyle Leong to hide his absence.
As mentioned above, Zouzalik is expected to be the No. 1 punt returner for Texas Tech, and there is a small chance that he'll be available to spell Lewis for a few plays at receiver. Zouzalik's sure hands and experience at punt returner should be a welcome addition to a special teams unit that did not have a good outing last week. If Zouzalik can't go, Tech appears to have a solid backup in Cornelius Douglas. Douglas caught three passes for 49 yards against SMU.
Defensive back Urell Johnson and linebacker Zach Winbush will each make the trip as well. Both are true freshmen and could be a sign that Tuberville is leaning more toward playing them than handing out a redshirt this season. On Wednesday, Tuberville said he was still on the fence about Johnson.
True freshman linebacker Tahrick Peak will not make the trip and has yet to play.
Freshman offensive lineman Beau Carpenter surprised many with his play during spring and fall camp but has not had the chance to play in a collegiate game just yet. Not many true freshmen will play once they arrive on campus. Fewer still are able to impress coaches enough to play as a true freshman on the offensive line. Carpenter is without a doubt one of the top seven linemen on the team but it would be interesting to see if he gets any time this weekend against New Mexico before next week. It's hard enough being a freshman on the O-line and playing your first game. It's even harder when your first test could be against a team like Texas.
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