Texas Tech Football is notorious for offensive weapons, but the quarterback battle throughout fall camp is presenting some telling storylines.
From Rodney Allison to Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech Football has produced some notoriously potent quarterbacks in program history. The level of talent that’s filtered through the position at Texas Tech has also created a restless fanbase, which expects its gunslingers to be able to extend plays on the ground, and thread needles like Aaron Rodgers.
In 2017, Texas Tech Football was left with a substantial void due to the early departure of Mahomes to the NFL. That left Nic Shimonek as the anticipated starter, and just as it seemed he was finding his stride, fans grew restless because the void Mahomes left was just too substantial. Two seasons removed from the end of the Mahomes Era, and Red Raider quarterbacks are in an advantageous situation, as it presents the guys competing with an opportunity to carve their own legacies without the comparisons and criticisms Mahomes’ backups faced.
Heading into the offseason last season, the narrative was that if Jett Duffey didn’t start at quarterback, head coach Kliff Kingsbury was done at Texas Tech.
Since finishing an impressive senior season at Mansfield High School with over 4,000 yards of total offense and 48 touchdowns, Duffey has had to work his way back into the fold at Tech. Many expected Duffey to emerge past Shimonek to compete for the QB2 spot in 2016, but an investigation sidelined him through 2017 season, where he burned his redshirt year. This put McLane Carter in a spot to earn reps with the first-team offense, and in Tech’s victory over Texas last season, Carter was able to demonstrate his value in a trial by fire situation that carried confidence well into Spring Ball.
In the Spring Game back in April, Carter finished 11-of-19 overall for 139 yards, followed by Duffey, who threw 11-of-15 for 89 yards, and Alan Bowman, who finished 7-of-12 for 76 yards.
While passes and receptions were on-par between all three quarterbacks, rumor has it, Carter has been spending a lot of time with the first-team offense. Although, Coach Kingsbury has been adamant since Media Days that all quarterbacks will receive equal time vying for the QB1 spot, brief snapshots could carry hidden meanings.
But Kingsbury isn’t worried about the quarterback spot, and nor should he be.
“Just because they’re young or inexperienced, to me, you never know how they’re going to respond,” Kingsbury said. “I wouldn’t say [I’m] nervous. I think excited to not really know who it is, and be able to work with those guys and try to have one guy really step up.”
While practices have been limited to a few minutes for media, and scrimmages have been limited to short clips, it’s growing apparent that the progression needle is moving towards one quarterback in particular–McLane Carter.
What’s more, Texas Tech fans seem to believe Carter is the front-runner, too. Texas Tech Football fans were polled on Monday, and 82 percent of the 150 votes came in for McLane Carter, with Alan Bowman and Jett Duffey receiving nine percent of votes each.
After the storylines coming out from scrimmage 2, who do y’all think will be Texas Tech’s starting QB against Ole Miss?
— VF Castro (@TheVFCastro) August 20, 2018
Jett Duffey is a dual-threat quarterback who was billed to become Patrick Mahomes reincarnated, but unfortunately, the biggest issue raised regarding Duffy has been in his mechanics.
According to the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal, first-year c0-offensive coordinator Kevin Johns discussed what the requirements were to fill the QB1 spot, “Manage the offense. Take care of the football. Get us in the right play. Move the offense down the field. Be smart on third down. Things like that.” Said Johns, who also elaborated that Shimonek’s successor had to “Play smart. We don’t need anyone to necessarily win the game, but they can’t lose the game.”
While Duffey’s reps in front of media have been limited, his interceptions in practices have raised some questions, increasing the belief that experience will win out when Kingsbury announces who will start against Ole Miss on Sept. 1 at NRG Stadium.
As Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said on an SEC preview show, “The team will tell you [who your quarterback is].” Coach Kingsbury is looking for a player who’s reactionary; a player who leads in every category, and moreover, a player who encourages progress and productivity by every player on the team–including quarterbacks.
And as Texas Tech Football fans have experienced in the past, backups are always one play away from reopening the doors on the competition.