2018 QB Battle: The Case For Alan Bowman

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Raider Red, the mascot of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, poses for a photo before a game against the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Raider Red, the mascot of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, poses for a photo before a game against the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT /

The Texas Tech football program is staging a three-way battle for the starting quarterback position in 2018.  Here’s the case for giving the job to Alan Bowman.

The old cliche says that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”  and that certainly seems to be the case with the newest Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman.  Throughout the spring and summer months, there has been significant talk about the true freshman and his readiness to step in as the starter in just nine months after his arrival on campus.  Once considered a long shot to win the job and a developmental project, Bowman has emerged as a legitimate threat to emerge as the starting QB this year.

Initially, Red Raider fans were a bit skeptical of Bowman’s abilities to run Kliff Kingsbury’s offense because he was labeled as a pro-style pocket-passer.  After watching Pat Mahomes put up record numbers, due in large part to his improvisational abilities in the pocket, many thought Bowman looked to be an odd fit in the modern incarnation of the “Air Raid” offense.

But with the season opener just over a month away, that underrated prospect could be the QB upon whom Kingsbury places the 2018 season, and his ultimate fate as head coach.

What fans and the Texas Tech coaching staff did not know when Bowman committed was just how ready to play Bowman was.  What the freshman brings to the table is a precision passing touch that makes him already the best passer on the roster.

Bowman’s high school film reveals one of the most talented pure passing prospects Texas Tech has landed in the “Air Raid” era.  He not only has a cannon for an arm but he can make every throw on the field.

The most impressive aspect of his game is that he is a surgeon when throwing the ball to inside receivers, a staple of the “Air Raid” offense and something many high school quarterbacks are wary of doing.  Bowman can fit the ball into tight windows and hit receivers in stride, even when they are not running wide open.

Likewise, Bowman throws a beautiful deep ball, a skill he put on display in the spring scrimmage at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas.  On a 53-yard touchdown pass, Bowman hoisted a perfect pass to redshirt freshman Dalton Rigdon who caught the ball in stride and took it to the end zone.

But in the spring game in Lubbock, Bowman was not as impressive going 7-12 for just 76 yards and no touchdowns.  Those numbers are what one might expect of a true freshman who averaged just 6.3 yards per pass attempt while appearing somewhat overwhelmed and uncertain with the ball.

The drawback of playing a true freshman in week-one is that he may take longer to be able to execute the full playbook than players who have been in the program for multiple years.  In a season that begins with a matchup against SEC opponent Ole Miss, there will be no luxury of easing the starting quarterback into his role.

But while Bowman may still be learning the offense, his arm appears to be on a different level than the arms of Jett Duffey or McLane Carter.  In the end, the Texas Tech quarterback position is all about making the right reads and getting the ball to playmakers in space.  Mobility and escapability like Pat Mahomes displayed are luxuries but can be weapons that help a freshman QB make up for his lack of experience.

More from Wreck'Em Red

Bowman is an intelligent, instinctual player who in just over seven months on campus, has pulled even with two players that have been in the system for two seasons.  It is obvious that he is long on talent and it is almost certain that he will see the field.

In fact, a new NCAA rule taking effect in 2018 means that it would now be foolish for Kingsbury to keep Bowman on the bench this year.  Players may now play in up to four games and still retain the option of redshirting and not forfeiting a year of eligibility.

Therefore, even if Bowman does not win the starting job in fall camp, he could come on to start the final four games if either Duffey or Carter has not claimed the job by that point.  But that scenario would likely be a disaster as it is hard to imagine Tech being a great shape after eight games if the quarterback position is not settled.

Rather, it is more likely that Bowman will see the field early in the season, either as the starter or the backup.  And there is no reason to believe that Kingsbury will not start a true freshman.

In 2013, the first-year head coach started a true freshman in all 13 games going 8-5 and winning a bowl game.  The next season, Pat Mahomes started the final four games of the year as a true freshman in what would prove to be a launching-pad to his historic run in Lubbock.  In all, Kingsbury started a true freshman at QB in 17 of his first 25 games as head coach establishing the president that he will not shy away from playing a true freshman at the most important position on the field.

Next: The Case For Jett Duffey

The case for starting Alan Bowman is intriguing.  He is alreaIf Kingsbury believes that Alan Bowman is the best option, the true freshman will play.  And Kingsbury will expect him to play well.  Given when Bowman has shown thus far in his brief career, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be ready.