Good Morning Red Raiders! Hope everyone is gearing up for the opening kickoff this weekend and luckily, there is also plenty of football to watch tonight, as well.
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Shout out to everyone over at Texas Tech Athletic Communications who are busy at work getting everything ready for the fans and media this weekend. Blayne Beal, Brandon Ireton, Scott Lacefield, Matt Dowdy and the rest their crew have a huge job in providing all us media types with stats, research documents, interview opportunities and putting together the game programs for everyone to enjoy each game day. All of them work hard during football season and even had a nice lunch for us with coach Tuberville before the weekly press conference Monday.
Shout out to everyone for coming over to FSSouthwest.com on Monday night to do our first Texas Tech Preview Chat. I have received a lot of good feedback from the people at FOX Sports Southwest on how it went and hope we can make this a routine deal each week. I want to also let everyone know that you can access the game blog right here at RP.com beginning one hour before the SMU game and chat with others and myself about the game and others going on. I will have a link to the blog on the front of RP.com the morning of the game.
Shout out to defensive coordinator James Willis who turned 38 today. Happy birthday coach.
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What I'm Hearing
So the biggest questions for Texas Tech this weekend still surround the injuries to players sustained over the last couple of weeks. Inside receiver and punt returner Austin Zouzalik (appendectomy) is still limited and will be 50/50 for the SMU game, as well as outside receiver Alex Torres (back). If Zouzalik can't go, Detron Lewis and Eric Stephens could be the main two guys returning punts on Sunday. Both have practiced with special teams the last two weeks and Stephens will also be the primary kick returner this year.
Jacoby Franks, who has impressed offensive coordinator Neal Brown throughout camp, would replace Torres. Franks saw limited time last season, catching 26 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games played. Darrin Moore, a late transfer from Blinn College, would back up Franks.
The other big question along the offensive line is Mickey Okafor, who has been out of practice for two weeks after suffering a concussion in Tech's second scrimmage on Aug. 21.
Junior lineman Blake Emert more than likely becomes the primary backup for Deveric Gallington and Chris Olson on the right side of the line while Terry McDaniel will back up Lonnie Edwards and LaAdrian Waddle on the left side while freshman Beau Carpenter (appendectomy) sits out of the opener.
I'll have more on injuries and the full travel roster later today.