Text messages were flying among the Louisiana Tech football coaches and players last Thursday. One of theirs, L'Jarius Sneed, not only pulled a starting assignment in his NFL debut but landed the Chiefs' first interception.
"I was quiet though," Bulldogs secondary coach Jeff Burris said. "I was nervous, watching his first game."
"So gratifying, the whole night," Burris said. "To see him jog out there with the first unit. That was a surreal moment."
Sneed made the most of his opportunity in last Thursday's 34-20 triumph over the Houston Texans with three tackles and two pass breakups besides the pick. He was filling in for Bashaud Breeland, who has three games remaining in his season-opening suspension.
Sneed's presence becomes all the more important this week as the Chiefs prepare for their first road game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Charvarius Ward has missed practice time this week because of a fracture in his hand suffered against the Texans. If Ward can't go, the Chiefs will be down to three listed at cornerback besides Sneed: Rashad Fenton, Antonio Hamilton and rookie Bopete Keyes,
Fenton and Hamilton combined for 70 snaps against the Texans. Keyes was inactive. Sneed wound up taking 55 of 59 defensive snaps and should be in line for as much action Sunday.
The Texans' Deshaun Watson tested the rookie early. Expect the Chargers to do the same.
"My mindset isn't going to change," Sneed said. "I'm just trying to better myself (after) my mistakes from last week."
There couldn't have been many, and there was a signature moment. On the second play of the fourth quarter with the Chiefs holding a 24-7 lead, safety Tyrann Mathieu got enough of Watson to disrupt his throwing motion.