ESPN.com Big 12 Blog contributor Jake Trotter created a list of 10 predictions for the conference this spring, and one of them includes that Texas Tech rising sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes will eventually end up winning the starting job.
Trotter says that Mahomes, who started the final four games of the 2014 season after replacing the turnover-prone Davis Webb, is expected to beat out his competition –not an easy since he’s splitting time between the football and baseball teams over the next few months.
“Tight quarterback competitions in Austin, Manhattan, Morgantown, Norman, Waco and even Lubbock and Lawrence emerge as dominant storylines,” wrote Trotter. “Baylor’s Seth Russell, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and Kansas State’s Joe Hubener eventually are named starters before the summer. But the spring fails to bring resolution to the other battles, which all carry over into the fall.”
Mahomes finished his freshman season by completing 105 of his 185 attempts (56.8 percent) for 1,547 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. But what’s hidden in those stats is quite remarkable; he found pay dirt through the air on nine percent of his total pass attempts, which was good for first in the Big 12 among all other starting quarterbacks.
He also threw for a combined 991 yards and 10 touchdowns (with just one pick) against Oklahoma and Baylor, the latter in which Texas Tech lost 48-46.
“Mahomes was spectacular for the Red Raiders down the stretch last season, intimating a two-man QB derby with Davis Webb would be a mere formality before Mahomes would be named the starter by spring’s end,” Trotter said. “It’s easy to forget, though, that Webb was terrific himself in Tech’s 2013 bowl game before a turnover — and injury-plagued season — sullied a potential encore campaign.
“Still, the Red Raiders were pumped about Webb this time last spring for a reason. And with Mahomes splitting time playing baseball – he’s missing Saturday’s football workout to travel with the baseball team for a series at Cal State Fullerton – Webb makes coach Kliff Kingsbury’s decision much tougher than anyone anticipated.”
Lost in Texas Tech’s 4-8 product in what was an overall dismal campaign was Davis Webb’s incredible run as a freshman himself during the 2013 season, when he threw for 2,168 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions in six starts, leading the Red Raiders to an upset win over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.
Though he was ultimately benched for the aforementioned Mahomes following the team’s 82-27 nightmare loss to TCU in Week 9, there was no noticeable drop off in production. In fact, his numbers were very similar to those from the year before, and that could actually be a testament to his ability and poise considering his defense allowed an appalling 42.5 points per game during his eight starts last year.
As things currently stand, Mahomes should be the favorite heading into spring practice. However, with Webb taking first-team reps with the former spending time playing baseball, there’s a chance that he could capitalize on his opportunity as the spotlight quarterback until things heat up in the fall.
From there, it’s all going to be about which quarterback gives the Texas Tech offense the best chance to put up enough points to account for an extremely mediocre defensive unit.
Texas Tech will play its spring game on March 28th.