Texas Tech football: OC David Yost says both backup QBs will play vs. OU

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 11: Jett Duffey #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders runs for the game winning touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 11, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 11: Jett Duffey #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders runs for the game winning touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 11, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The prevailing storyline surrounding Texas Tech football this week has been the situation at QB and when speaking to the media, offensive coordinator David Yost provided some insight on what we can expect this week in Norman.

Who’s ready for another round of backup QB roulette?  Certainly, that’s a game that Texas Tech football fans have had enough of but with Alan Bowman sidelined for several weeks, we will be pinning our hopes on the Red Raider backup QBs for a second-straight season.

Earlier this week, head coach Matt Wells indicated that both Jackson Tyner and Jett Duffey will play Saturday in Norman against Oklahoma.  That was confirmed by offensive coordinator David Yost, who also gave some insight into how his team is preparing for life without its starting QB.

"“They’re both gonna play,” Yost said.  “It’s just now putting them in positions to be as successful as we can with what they feel most comfortable with, what they can execute at the highest rate, and where we can create explosive plays to that give us a chance to go score points…”"

The talk about making each QB comfortable is interesting given that Tyner and Duffey have vastly different skill sets.  Though it would seem obvious for coaches to have different packages for each QB, it isn’t always possible to install two completely different schemes given the time constraints of game week.

Last year, we saw Duffey struggle when inserted into two games when Bowman went down and Kliff Kingsbury admitted that the play-calling was not suited to what Duffey was best equipped to execute.  Hopefully, having last week off will benefit the Red Raiders in that it gave them extra time to have two packages of plays ready to maximize each QB that will play this week.

Yost indicated that this is a new experience for him given that two of his top four QBs (freshman Maverick McIvor is out with a broken foot) are on the shelf.  It should make for an interesting game plan as one of the most well-respected and creative offensive minds in college football attacks a new challenge in his career.

"“This is only the second time ever that I’ve really started the backup quarterback because of injury,” he admitted.  “Did it when I was at Missouri one time and we were able to go out and beat Arizona State at the beginning of the season with our backup quarterback.  Things go on like that all the time and what it does, it just heightens everybody else and what we’ve told the offense is, it’s more about the 10 guys around than the QB itself.”"

If this is the second time in Yost’s long and successful career that he’s had a starting QB miss a game due to injury, he needs to find a way to bottle his good fortune and sell it.  Of course, all it took for that string of luck to be snapped was for him to don the Double-T where QB injuries have become the norm over the last decade. 

Ultimately, everyone knows that Duffey is the player with the higher ceiling while Tyner’s advantage has been his ability to avoid mistakes in practice.  But when asked about Duffey and how well he’s done in regard to protecting the ball, Yost was upbeat.

"“He’s been really good,” he said.  “He’s probably checking it down a little bit more than what maybe he’s done in the past and he knows that’s a big factor, keeping that football when we have it, is going to be vital in this game…He’s done a really really good job with it.”"

Last year, Duffey was picked off six times in just 154 pass attempts, an average of one pick for every 26 passes thrown.  But for his career, Tyner has been no better as he’s thrown seven picks in only 184 career passes, which also breaks down to one pick for every 26 passes.

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Of course, we should remember that it isn’t just dependant on the QBs to play well Saturday.  As Yost mentioned, to compete with OU, it is going to require a better effort out of the entire offense than what we saw two weeks ago in Arizona.

One position group Yost mentioned specifically was the offensive line.  Playing with its intended starting five for the first time all season against Arizona, the line was not sharp and struggled with communication and cohesion which is what ultimately allowed a blitzing LB to put the hit on Bowman that injured his left shoulder.  Yost said he wants to see what the line looks like in its second game together now that tackle Terence Steele has returned.

"“I’m really excited to see the second game with the offensive line being intact,” he said.  “We did not play up to our ability in the first [game together].  We had a few more busts than I thought we would with having everybody back.”"

He also pointed out that with Steele missing the first two games of the year and Jack Anderson missing the UTEP game, the Arizona game was the first time we had seen the right side of the line play together and that was noticeable in the first loss of 2019.  Now, the hope is that the side of the line that should be Tech’s most talented and dominant will perform up to its capability against OU and give the offense a shot to move the ball.

Next. Tyner vs. Duffey: A comparison. dark

Though the Red Raiders are heavy underdogs to OU this week and there’s a prevailing sense of dread among the fan base, this game presents a tremendous opportunity.  With nothing to lose, Tech can go out and play free while also getting invaluable experience for the QBs who will have to carry the program through at least the first half of Big 12 play.   Even if the score ends up as expected but we see signs of hope from Tyner or Duffey, it will go a long way towards helping calm and reassure a fan base that seems ready to jump ship before conference play even begins.