A competition for starting right guard is underway after Justin Murphy suffered a knee injury last week against Baylor.
Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed that Murphy will not play this week, but added he was unsure how long he'd be out. Offensive line coach Lee Hays said Monday after practice that Murphy planted wrong on a play last week after trying to help corral a Baylor defender along the sidline who was returning an interception.
In to replace Murphy on Saturday was senior Tony Morales, who made the first appearance of his career for Texas Tech against Sam Houston State in the opnener. Morales struggled Saturday against Baylor drawing several penalties.
“Well it changes a lot if you are going to go out there and get a yellow flag,” Hays said. “I still have a hard time talking about it…but the number one thing is I have to do a better job as a coach to make sure he is not making those mistakes.”
With Murphy out, and Morales struggling there is an opportunity for redshirt freshman Robert Castaneda to get a shot at the starting spot. Hays said that Morales and Castaneda are trading reps on the right side and senior Emeka Okafor will stay on the left side.
“A big part of it is competing,” Hays said. “If he [Castaneda] comes out and does a good job, heck he might even be at the left guard. I’m looking for the guy who grades out the best this week, putting in the best effort and trying to get the best five in there,”
He added that Castaneda plays aggressive and is really a cutout of a mold of Murphy.
Right now the competition is even and there isn’t one guy that stands out according to coach Hays.
Senior center Jared Kaster said Monday after practice the competition has really motivated the whole offensive line to improve their performance as well.
“Whoever it is going to be in there will do a great job... It’s going to be fun to see who is going to get that and motivate us more because we are going to have to step up our game a little bit,” Kaster said.