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Takeaways: Texas Tech gets week two of preseason camp rolling

RELATED: Texas Tech and the talent acquisition business

The Texas Tech football team completed its seventh practice of preseason camp on Monday afternoon. Here are a few takeaways and notes from the day's action:

- It appears that redshirt freshman Madison Akamnonu may be getting ready to lock down the starting spot at left guard. He started there once again on Monday and has been there with the first-team for a number of practices in a row. Kliff Kingsbury noted earlier in camp that the hope was to get that position battle settled as soon as possible, and things appear to be trending in that direction.

- Offensive guard Justin Murphy and center Tony Morales were both held out of practice on Monday. According to Kingsbury, the staff wanted to give both veterans a day off to rest. With Morales out, Baylen Brown slid over to center for the day and is now considered the emergency starter there should anything happen to Morales.

- While he missed practice again on Monday, wide receiver Derrick Willies is set to come back and practice full-go on Tuesday, according to Kingsbury. Good news there.

- Other players not seen practicing on Monday include rush end Gary Moore, slot receiver Ian Sadler and cornerback Thierry Nguema. In place of those three, Kris Williams started at rush end, Jonathan Giles started at Y-receiver and Paul Banks started at corner.

- True freshman defensive back DaMarcus Fields will miss this upcoming season with a shoulder injury. He's on track to have surgery this week and will redshirt this fall. Fields was not included on the team's fall camp roster, which would indicate that the injury occurred at some point before practice started.

- The Red Raiders had their first scrimmage of camp last Saturday. Kingsbury said that, offensively, ball security was as good as it has ever been since he's been the head coach. The quarterbacks were efficient and moved the ball well. Defensively, the unit stopped the offense on the first two drives of the scrimmage, something he head coach was very happy to see, saying: "I thought it was one of the more competitive scrimmages that we've had since I've been here."

- Kingsbury singled out senior safety Keenon Ward and sophomore H-receiver KeKe Coutee as standing out during the scrimmage. Kingsbury noted that Ward has made some great strides as a tackler, which is really paying dividends for him as a player, and that Coutee is doing well as the fifth receiver in the offense's empty packages.

- True freshman X-receiver T.J. Vasher has been turning heads of late. He seems to be earning more reps in the team period as fall camp goes along, and he had a nice 10-yard catch for a first down in the opening team period on a screen. Kingsbury on the true freshman: "Big, talented guy who is going to do some things for us this season."

- Backup quarterback Nic Shimonek has had the best completion percentage of any of the Red Raider quarterbacks so far in camp, according to Kingsbury.

- True freshman defensive backs Douglas Coleman and Desmon Smith are starting to get some run with the second-team defense, as both were in the secondary at corner and safety respectively during the early team period today. Kingbsury noted the defensive staff is starting Smith out at safety because corner is easier to learn. They want him to learn the safety position in case they need him there at some point down the line.

- Kingsbury on his freshmen defensive backs: "Douglas (Coleman) and (Desmon Smith) are getting better. They're competitive, they don't like to get beat, and I like that. It means a lot to them. They come up here, study extra, work hard, so if you can do that you have a chance."

- The head coach on junior Z-receiver Dylan Cantrell, and what Cantrell did to get better during his year off: "He's more explosive, much more physical as a blocker. I think last year if we would have had him he would've made an impact because of our lack of being able to throw balls up and going to go up to get it."

- True freshman defensive tackle Joe Wallace continues to earn praise from Kingsbury: "Joe Wallace is gonna get in there (and play). He's been having a heck of a camp, explosive, still figuring out how to do it, but he fires off the ball and will definitely be playing for us this year."

- Quarterback Patrick Mahomes noted that he thought Giles had the best scrimmage on Saturday of all his wide receivers. Mahomes on Giles: "Last year he was a skill player that could make some big-time plays, but he didn't have that toughness to go across the middle and make those big-time catches. This year you can really see that he trusts himself and is confident enough to go across the middle."

- Mahomes on Vasher and how he's done so far in fall camp: "You don't see it a lot - just the talent he has with his body, especially as a tall guy. You expect him to be uncoordinated, but he really knows where he's at with his body and controls his body well. It's someone that's going to be hard to not let play. He's probably going to get on the field."

- Sophomore safety Jah'Shawn Johnson feels great about the defense's front seven: "They're going to be a big help for us this season. I was joking with them earlier in practice that, 'Man, can ya'll stop doing all that? I'm getting bored back here. But yeah, they're all staying in their gaps, a lot more mature this season, and doing what they're supposed to do, not trying to do too much."