Texas Tech leaves 2 starters behind

Updated: September 18, 2009, 4:15 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

Two Texas Tech defensive starters did not travel with the Red Raiders on Friday and will not play Saturday night at No. 2 Texas.

Senior defensive end Ra'Jon Henley and junior strong safety Franklin Mitchem were not on the Red Raiders' charter plane to Austin that left Lubbock on Friday afternoon.

Neither player practiced this week. Henley was seen after Tech practices in a protective boot for a left ankle injury, and Mitchem had his left arm in a sling.

Henley has contributed five tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack in two starts this season for the 2-0 Red Raiders. Mitchem has notched seven tackles and one pass deflection.

Henley's injury is particularly costly considering the Red Raiders' lack of depth at defensive end.

Freshman Ryan Haliburton, the other left end on the Red Raiders' two-deep roster, was also left behind.

That means senior defensive ends Daniel Howard and Brandon Sharpe likely will be asked to play most of the game, though Tech coaches could employ some of their bigger linebackers to give them depth at the position.

Tim Griffin covers college football for ESPN.com. You may contact him at espntimgriff@yahoo.com.