Texas Tech football: Alan Bowman redshirting is best for player and program

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 07: Quarterback Alan Bowman #10 and wide receiver RJ Turner #2 signal during "The Matador Song" after the college football game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the UTEP Miners at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Lubbock, Texas. (Poto by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 07: Quarterback Alan Bowman #10 and wide receiver RJ Turner #2 signal during "The Matador Song" after the college football game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the UTEP Miners at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Lubbock, Texas. (Poto by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /

Monday, Texas Tech football head coach Matt Wells announced that starting QB Alan Bowman will redshirt this season, a decision that makes sense for the good of the player and the program.

It’s been since September 14th that we’ve seen Alan Bowman take a snap for the Texas Tech football team.  Now we know that we aren’t going to see him take his next snap until September 5th, 2020.

That’s because Monday, head coach Matt Wells announced that his sophomore QB has decided to redshirt this season after missing the last six games with a shoulder injury sustained in the third game of the year at Arizona.  Because of the new NCAA rule allowing players to maintain their ability to redshirt even after appearing as many as four games, the Grapevine, Texas native is going to sit out the remainder of this season despite the fact that he’s been medically cleared to play.  That means he will once again be a sophomore next year and have three years of eligibility remaining.

"“He’s been cleared to play. It’s our intent to redshirt him. And his intent. I respect that and agree with that,” Wells said Monday."

In addition, Wells said that true freshman QB Maverick McIvor will also redshirt this season.  The San Angelo native has not played at all this season after breaking his foot in fall camp.  It is the second-straight season he’s missed the majority of after an ACL tear cost him all but one game of his senior season in high school.

But it was Bowman’s status that Tech fans had grown increasingly curious about given that he was throwing the ball in warmups prior to the Kansas game and was suited up for Saturday’s game at West Virginia.  Now we know he is going to take the rest of the year to heal and not only is that the wise decision for Bowman, but it is also best for the long-term future of the program.

Many fans had been hoping that a possible late-season return from Bowman would spark this team to a resurgence in the season’s final month and a potential bowl bid.  But while the problems with this team are plentiful, the QB play has not been one.

Jett Duffey isn’t going to be confused with a Heisman Trophy candidate but he isn’t why this team is 4-5 on the season.  The junior is completing 68.7% of his passes and has thrown for 1,774 yards, 10 touchdowns, and only two interceptions.

It is tough to imagine that a rusty Bowman who has not played for two months would give the Red Raiders anything better than what Duffey has.  When both are healthy and ready to play, Bowman gives the offense a bit more than Duffey in that he seems more apt to be able to hit all throws that the game plan calls for.

When Bowman was at the helm of the offense, OC David Yost was able to run more of his lightning-quick tempo scheme which called for the offense to snap the ball in the first 11 seconds of the play clock.  But because Duffey is not as trusted by his coaches to make his own reads and get the team in the right play as Bowman is, the offense has slowed down tremendously this year since Duffey has taken the reins.

The coaches have simply asked Duffey to give his team a chance to win.  His first priority has been to keep from losing the game by not throwing interceptions, which was his most fatal flaw prior to this year.

He’s done that well as he just completed his third-straight Big 12 game without being picked off.  That’s something that Bowman has not done, mainly because he’s yet to play three-consecutive conference games for their entirety.

But even when Bowman has been on the field, he’s been prone to be picked off as well.  After starting his career with three-straight clean games, he’s been intercepted in six of his eight starts.  What’s more, one of his two clean games during that span was last year’s contest against OU, in which he played only the first half before leaving with a collapsed lung.

In his last 8 starts, Bowman has thrown 10 picks.  In his last eight games (seven starts and all but two series against Oklahoma this year) Duffey has thrown four.

An argument can be made that Bowman gives this passing game a bit more explosiveness because of his ability to make throws downfield but given how pedestrian this year’s group of receivers are, it’s likely not going to matter if it is Bowman, Duffey, or Pat Mahomes throwing the ball, this offense is just not going to be anything more than average.

Thus, it makes more sense to give Bowman the remainder of the year to fully heal up and work his way back into football shape.  This decision also prevents the coaching staff from having to face a late-season QB controversy.

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This team has enough problems without having to worry about a November QB battle.   If there is one trait that this team has displayed on a game-by-game basis, it has been its willingness to play as one and fight for each other.  It would be a shame for a needless QB controversy to potentially ruin that in the final three games of the year.

Now, we face an offseason QB battle that will presumably pit Duffey and Bowman (though MvIvor and 2020 signee Donovan Smith could also be factors) against one another for the starting job for the third time in as many years.  Thus far, Bowman is 2-0 against Duffey in offseason competitions but one has to wonder if the new and improved Duffey that we’ve seen this year is going to translate to the practice field, which is where he’s struggled since his arrival.

Long-term, preserving this year of eligibility for Bowman is what’s best for the program as well.  The best this year’s team can hope for is a low-level bowl birth and that’s not worth wasting a year of Bowman’s career for.

Is an appearance in the Weed Eater Bowl against Double-Direction State A&M that huge of a prize that it necessitates putting Bowman back into another situation where he could be injured again?  Of course, last year Kliff Kingsbury was coaching for his job so as soon as Bowman could play, he needed to get his best QB on the field.  That’s not what Wells is facing this year and given what we’ve seen from Duffey, an argument can be made that Wells may already have his better QB in the starting lineup anyway.

Now, Bowman is going to enter next year with three years left to play which means that by the time his eligibility is exhausted, McIvor, Smith and 2021 4-star commit Behren Morton will have been on campus for multiple years thus bringing stability to the QB position, which has been in turmoil since Pat Mahomes left for the NFL Draft after the 2016 season.

Wells indicated that this decision was left open to Bowman and his family.  While they made the right decision for the individual, the decision also happens to be best for the Texas Tech football program’s future.

Next. Why Tech was able to beat West Virginia. dark

Thanks to the steady play of Jett Duffey and the lowered expectations in year-one of the Wells regime, there’s no need to rush Bowman back for the second-straight year.  This rebuild is all about the future and with Bowman retaining three years of eligibility, the future of Texas Tech football at QB seems to be in as solid of shape as it has been for quite some time.