Notes and quotes from Texas Tech's weekly press conference.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Cameron Batson won the primary punt returner spot simply because he did the best at securing the football, adding with Tech's offense, that's the No. 1 thing he wants in a punt returner--sure hands.
Junior OL Tony Morales is out with a knee injury. Kingsbury said he was unclear how long Morales will be out, but he will be unavailable this week against Central Arkansas.
Batson is currently the third player on the depth chart at H (inside receiver) behind Jakeem Grant and Brent Mitcham.
As of Monday morning 3,000 tickets remained for both the Central Arkansas this Saturday and against Arkansas on Sept. 13. These tickets were returned from both schools.
Coach Eric Morris said freshman receiver Ian Sadler will likely redshirt, but that he has looked very good so far, it's just tough to break through the receiver depth chart as a freshman.
Kingsbury said sophomore OL Baylen Brown made great strides in fall camp and that he will have to be ready to play center in addition to both guard spots.
Kingsbury said he will try and get junior college transfer offensive lineman Dominique Robertson as much playing time as possible, either inside or outside. Morris said later in the press conference that Robertson needs to get in better shape to roll with Tech's up-tempo offense. Both coaches said Robertson has shown flashes of his athleticism and power. Morris added Robertson might have the strongest hands of all the OL.
Kingsbury said D.J. Polite-Bray and Devin Lauderdale continue to push eachother at split end, that Polite-Bray won the starting job because of his familiarity with the offense nd that they feel comfortable playing both there.
RB Deandre Washington received a ton of praise during Monday's pressser. QB Davis Webb said Washington had the best offseason of anyone in the program, that he spent hours of extra work to improve his foot work, conditioning, hands, blitz pick-up and more. Coach Morris added Washington has become a three-tool player in that he now excels as a rusher, receiver and pass blocker.
Other RB's: Webb also mentioned veteran backup Quinton White, freshman speedster Justin Stockton and fullback Rodney Hall all had great camps and are expected to do good things this season.
Webb said after practicing against Tech's defense so much in the offseason he expects junior DE Branden Jackson and senior ILB Sam Eguavoen to have monster seasons.
Branden Jackson believes Tech's defense will have more success against the run than in year's past because of the depth along the defensive line, adding the two-deep is just as good as the starters.
Jackson admitted there's a lot of pressure on his shoulders to be a vocal leader and to produce on the field. The leadership role is a new one for him, he's not a hurrah guy, but he likes being a leader and is ready to get the job done.
Coach Matt Wallerstedt said the defense had a good camp, is very talented, but still green in a lot of areas. He's anxious to see how his young guys perform under the lights. He cited the spring scrimmage in Midland was the biggest crowd JUCO transfer Keland McElrath has ever played in front of and Rika Levi has probably never played in front of a crowd bigger than 400.
Wallerstedt said freshmen Tevin Madsion and Jah'Shawn Johnson being named starter and backup at field corner is a product of both of them stepping up and also the returning veterans not doing so. Wallerstedt added it has been a revolving door at the position, to expect to see Johnson as early as the third possession on Saturday.
Wallerstetdt said one of the things he likes most about the current group of CBs. is their ability to play the ball in the air. He noted Madison and Johnson as well as Justis Nelson are all excellent at finding the ball and then making plays, which he said wasn't necessarily the case last year.
Wallertstedt said redshirt freshman DE Gary Moore is still a little light in terms of weight and that he is raw, but that he thinks Moore will be a great player at Tech one day. Moore is a very good pass rusher and puts a lot of pressure on tackles and quarterbacks.
Noteworthy Stats Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
Saturday marks the first ever meeting between Texas Tech and Central Arkansas and the beginning of Tech's 90th football season.
Texas Tech is 67-18-3 all-time in home season openers.
The Red Raiders have won its last 21 home-openers.
Tech is playing a FCS opponent in its home opener for the sixth time in 10 seasons.
The Red Raiders are 17-1 against FCS or Division I-AA schools since 1978 with the lone loss coming against North Texas in 1988.
Since 2000, Tech has outscored opponents 46.6-16.8 in home openers with a high score of 70 against TCU in a 70-35 victory in 2004.
"Davis is the quarterback so I think as of right now our plan is if the game is decided one way or the other then Pat (Mahomes) would come in." -Coach Kliff Kingsbury
"I think he's just a competitor. I don't know if he's top-end speed, like a Nigel Bethel
, but just down in and down out the two things that jump out with both young corners (Madison and Johnson), they are both football guys. They pick things up, they pick up concepts, they understand routes, they understand technique and they were really able to absorb our whole package and everything we asked those guys to do and still be productive." -Coach Matt Wallerstedt's scouting report on CB Tevin Madison
"(My goals this week are) Just be the best quarterback in the nation on Saturday, to be the best quarterback for this team. I have a lot of expectations for myself. Coach Kingsbury has a lot of expectations for me. Just have fun and play my best, because I think my best is pretty good." -Davis Webb
"I think the fan base is curious to see how we handle the run game and see us really perform. If you read all the clippings and listen to you guys then we're going to do big things on offense and it's up to the defense to really make this a special season. The kids sit in here and they know what's going on. I tell them all the time, 'don't listen to anything that's being said, on't listen to what I am saying in front of a mic. When we talk we'll have the doors shut and we'll talk about what we need to do to take care of business with our unit.' Pressure wise I don't want those guys to feel any pressure OK? I tell them all the time, we are the pressure and we'll do whatever we need to do to be successful." -Wallerstedt
"They'll (Central Arkansas) come in here fired up expecting to win the game and our players know that." -Kingsbury
"It's been my dream to be the quarterback here at Texas Tech and one day have my jersey in that little aisle out there next to Graham Harrell and Coach Kingsbury's and stuff like that. Those expectations don't really mean much to me as long as I play my best on Saturday. If I feel like I've played my best every Saturday, maybe those expectations will be reached even more." -Webb
"It (the competition at field corner) was close. We feel comfortable with both those guys and Ja'Shawn Johnson was most impressive. He was a safety most of his career and that is probably his best position, but with some incidents we had, fet like we needed to move him over there and he's done a great job." -Kingsbury
"I just want to be one of the most prolific pass rushers in the country, and if I can lead the Big 12 in sacks, and I think I have the capability and confidence to do it. So I know I want plus double digits as muh as I can." -Branden Jackson
"I think he's (Kingsbury) the best quarterback to play here, and I think he'll be the best coach to ever coach here until I coach here one day hopefully." -Webb
"I can see where we can set some records this year throwing the football and hopefully with our offensive line, we can get better in the run-game when people do give us the run boxes, we can be efficient in the run game.' -Coach Eric Morris
"Central Arkansas is a great group that does a lot of great things. They run and pass the ball and have a lot of different schemes, so we have to be gap sound and read our keys and things like that. They have a lot of things that make you think one thing when they're doing another, and they have play makers on the offensive side of the ball too. So it will be interesting to see how we're going to stop that offense." -Jackson