Three-headed QB leads No. 16 Texas Tech
LUBBOCK, Texas – West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen isn’t the only head football coach in the Big 12 Conference dealing with quarterback issues this season.
First-year Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his unbeaten Red Raiders have been dealing with their own problems at the signal-calling position.
“Yeah, Baker (Mayfield), we’ll get him over here today and see how he feels,” Kingsbury said. “Davis (Webb) is good and Mike’s (Brewer) good.
“So we’ll see if we have all three available this week. We should know by the end of the week.”
What the former TU quarterback does know is that he has the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week on hand when his Red Raiders invade Milan Puskar Stadium for the first time.
“Yeah, now there are two of them that have done that,” the coach said. “It’s fun to see. He (Webb) was disappointed earlier in the year, obviously, at not being named the starter, but never blinked an eye. Kept working and getting better, and he’s progressed and progressed and progressed, and really played well and made some big time throws.
“I’m excited to see him have that success, and I’m sure he’s going to keep getting better.”
Good news for Texas Tech fans, not such good news for Mountaineer fans which watched their defense get torched for 73 points by a Baylor Bears team in its last outing.
“The biggest deal, you watch the film, is how multiple they (WVU) are,” Kingsbury said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence. I know they had a rough night in Waco, but aside from that, they’ve played really good defense.
“They’ve turned people over, lots of negative plays wreaking havoc. You never know where they’re going to lineup. Week in and week out they look like a completely different team as far as games go. That obviously is a challenge for a young quarterback.”
It wasn’t much of a challenge a week ago as Webb threw for three touchdowns and 415 yards in place of Mayfield as the No. 16 Red Raiders defeated Iowa State by a 42-35 margin.
Webb finished 35-of-56 with an interception while Kenny Williams, DeAndre Washington and SaDale Foster each ran for a score at TTU improved to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in league play.
“Yeah, our O-line, like I said earlier, they played really well. Their conditioning showed up later in the game when we had to have those yards and had to seal the game, which was fun to see that game winning drive there at the end.
“Then those backs, as I said all along, they’ll make the plays if we can give them a little bit of daylight and we did that.”
Washington leads the pack with 207 yards on 53 attempts and four touchdowns while Williams is close behind with 198 yards and four scores on 58 carries. Foster rounds out the group with 123 yards on only 13 carries, but is not the only weapon the Red Raiders possess in the backfield as Quinton White has 130 yards on 13 carries and Mayfield has added 119 yards on 45 totes of the pigskin.
A name familiar to Mountaineer fans, Jace Amaro, leads the receiving corps with 47 catches for 606 yards and one touchdown.
The senior finished with 156 yards and one touchdown in TTU’s 49-14 victory over a then-unbeaten WVU team in Lubbock last season. But, he is not the only weapon the WVU secondary will have to worry about.
Eric Ward has 34 catches for 404 yards and three scores while Jakeem Grant has 30 for 394 and three touchdowns. Brad Marquez rounds out the unit with 25 catches for 342 yards and five scores.
“I knew they (WVU) had some great players on their defense,” Amaro said. “They were very talented. I just think they were out of position a lot last year. I’ve watched tape on them already, and I think they do a better job of disguising their coverages and being in better position to make plays.
“So, that’s one big difference from last year to this year is they’re playing better team defense. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
Defensively, the Red Raiders will look to capitalize on the same mistakes the Mountaineers made in their last outing a 73-42 loss at Baylor.
“We expect West Virginia to be West Virginia,” said Branden Jackson, who attended high school in nearby McKeesport, Pa. “Spread us out, try to get around the edges, play fast tempo a little bit. Test our conditioning and see how fundamentally sound we are.”
A strategy that has not worked with much success through the first half of the Red Raiders season.