Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Brandon Carter's teammates missed him last week.
The Texas Tech offensive line wasn't the same without the 6-foot-7, 344-pound Carter to play his prominent role at guard after he was indefinitely suspended following the Red Raiders' loss at Houston two weeks ago.
The season-high five sacks the Red Raiders allowed against New Mexico, including one that knocked quarterback Taylor Potts out of the game, were a testament to Carter's importance on the team.
Carter has switched between left and right guard all season. He started his last three games at right guard next to tackle Marlon Winn, who said he's relieved that Carter will be back for the Red Raiders' lineup Saturday against Kansas State.
“I missed him more than anybody else ‘cause I’m used to playing next to him,” Winn said during Tech’s weekly news conference Monday. “I’ve played next to him for two years straight. It was a little different working out chemistry with (Tech guard Chris) Olson next to me. But we’re glad to have him back this week, and we’re just excited to get back to what we were doing.”
Carter painted his face and wore his typical spiked, multi-colored Mohawk hairstyle while he sat with other classmates in the stands last week. And for good measure, he dusted off a new nose ring especially for the occasion, along with face paint to reflect tears streaming out of his eyes.
The preseason All-American selection returned to practice on Sunday night and has been working his teammates this week.
Sophomore Mickey Okafor started at right guard against New Mexico. Olson started at left guard.
Tech coach Mike Leach has not included Carter in the Red Raiders' most recent two-deep roster, but is ready for his return.
“I think he is a solid player," Leach said."Brandon has played well here in the past and I am sure he will play well this week.”