What We Know From The First Texas Tech Football Scrimmage

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders prior to the game against the UTEP Miners on September 12, 2015 at Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders prior to the game against the UTEP Miners on September 12, 2015 at Jones AT /

Saturday, the Texas Tech football team had its first of two scheduled inter-squad scrimmages.  Here is what we know about the day’s events and what it may mean moving forward.

Saturday was the most significant practice thus far in the 2018 fall training camp for the Texas Tech football team.  And one of the candidates for the starting quarterback spot may have fallen behind in the three-man race thanks to a two-interception day.

While the practice was closed to the media, Texas Tech released a brief video showing eight plays from the workout.  Two of those plays were interceptions thrown by sophomore QB Jett Duffey.

Duffey’s first interception was returned for a touchdown by Justus Parker off a deflected pass at the line of scrimmage.  It comes as no shock to see Parker making plays.  After all, he had four interceptions, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown last season.

Duffey’s second interception came on a seam pass where he forced the ball into what appeared to be double coverage.  That ball was picked off by safety Vaughnte Dorsey who had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery last season, his first as a Red Raider.

Obviously, this development is not good news for Duffey’s chances of winning the QB battle.  Ball security has been mentioned several times by Kliff Kingsbury as the most important trait he is looking for in a starting quarterback.

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The knock on Duffey has been that he often takes too many chances with the football and these two plays certainly reinforce that notion.  But we must consider that not every interception is the sole responsibility of the QB.  Often, receivers run the wrong route or blocking schemes are bungled and the quarterback is left hanging out to dry.

But at first glance, both plays look bad for Duffey.  He certainly can’t afford too continue to give the ball away in practice if he hopes to convince the coaching staff that he will not give the ball away on September 1st against Ole Miss.

As for the other QBs, true freshman Alan Bowman hit fellow true freshman Myller Royals in the corner of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown.  This is a combination that could become quite familiar to Red Raider fans as both freshmen have made  huge impressions since arriving on campus in January and both are expected to be a big part of the Red Raiders’ future.

It is interesting to note that both Bowman and Royals were early enrollees who went through spring practices this year.  Now it appears that experience is paying off and both could be significant contributors early in their careers.

Like Bowman, Royals is competing for a starting spot.  He is one of the favorites to win the job as the starting outside receiver opposite sophomore T.J. Vasher.

Junior QB McLane Carter had two touchdown passes in the scrimmage though one was far more impressive than the other.  Carter’s first touchdown pass came on a screen pass to true freshman running back Ta’Zhawn Henry who took the ball 28 yards to the end zone.  Carter does not get too much credit for that play aside from executing the call properly and getting the ball where it needed to go.

But the second touchdown he threw, a jump ball to Vasher in the end zone, is more encouraging.  Carter put the ball where it needed to be by throwing it high and letting the former high school basketball star use his 6-foot-5 frame to go up and get it.  Those are the types of plays that Tech will need to execute this year it it is to improve in the red zone after a woeful perforce as a team last year.

While the quarterbacks are going to generate the most interest, the biggest development from Saturday was the loss of expected starting corner Octavius Morgan to a knee injury.  No official word has been given on his status but teammates took to social media shortly after the scrimmage to say they are praying for him and that they are dedicating the season to him, which is never a good sign.

Last season, Morgan was a nice surprise in his first year after transferring in from the JUCO ranks.  Making five starts, he recorded 41 tackles and eight pass break-ups.

If Morgan is in fact done for the season, perhaps redshirt freshman corner Adrian Frye could be in line to step up.  The Houston native made a name for himself during his redshirt season and was one of the newcomers the coaching staff expected to see contribute in some manner this year.

Saturday, Frye knocked away a Carter pass intended for true freshman receiver Erik Ezukanma.  At 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, Frye is physically ready to compete at the Big 12 level and with the injury to Morgan, he may be thrust into a much larger role right away.

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This was the first of two scheduled scrimmages during preseason camp.  The second is slated for next Saturday after which, we may start to get some clarity on the QB situation and other key roster questions.