LUBBOCK, Texas — It was quite a weekend for Cowboys fans in Canton, Ohio as former running back Emmitt Smith became the latest Cowboy great to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.
But it quickly became a night for former Texas Tech football players to shined during the first preseason game against Cincinnati.
Former defensive end Brandon Sharpe stood out the most, grabbing an interception late in the fourth quarter and dove into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown to help seal Dallas' 16-7 win over the Bengals. It was the only Cowboys touchdown.
Sharpe's pick was the second time a former Red Raider defensive player snagged an interception. Another former Tech defensive end, Brandon Williams, also picked off Bengals quarterback Jordan Palmer, a former UTEP player and younger brother of Bengals starting QB Carson Palmer, returning it 36 yards to set up a 23-yard field goal for kicker David Buehler.
The Tech twosome had two of the four turnovers forced by the Cowboys.
"It felt good to be back out there with the team and be able to contribute like you knew you could last year," said Williams, who spent all of last season sidelined with a torn ACL after being drafted by the Cowboys. "I really couldn't believe that I caught it, to tell you the truth. I know I can catch, but I probably should have gotten into the end zone to give us another score."
Sophomore running back Harrison Jeffers and junior defensive back Jared Flannel are both in non-contact situations at Tech's practice for the next couple of weeks. Jeffers is recovering from back surgery and Flannel is rehabbing his shoulder, according to head coach Tommy Tuberville. Neither should miss any time during the regular season.
"We're just going to bring (Jeffers) along slowly," Tuberville said. "He's getting all the learning, everything that he needs to get. We want to get him to the point where we're just not grinding out here every day and can't get into a rhythm."
The biggest setback may have come early in Sunday's practice when defensive linemen Britton Barbee and Kerry Hyder were carted off the field midway through the workouts. Hyder was complaining off tightness in his leg and Barbee had to have his right leg placed in an air cast. One source has reported that Barbee suffered a season-ending injury after tearing his achilles tendon. He was expected to be the main backup for starting nosetackle Colby Whitlock.
Six other players — Aleon Calhoun, Lawrence Cayon, Delons Griffin, Braylon Smith, Phillip Warren and LaVaughn Whigham — did not qualify after signing letters of intent back in February.
Putting On the Pads
Today will be the first chance for Texas Tech to practice in pads as workouts continue at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Practices will be closed to the public for the remainder of fall workouts unless coaches and athletics personnel decide to allow fans to attend a future workout.