After another lackluster performance against a Power 5 team, it is clear that Alan Bowman is not the QB of the future at Texas Tech.
It’s time to move on. Alan Bowman isn’t the answer at QB for the Texas Tech football program. If there was still any doubt about that certainty, Saturday’s putrid performance against Iowa State hammed home that fact in the most emphatic of manners.
Playing three-plus quarters against the Cyclones, Bowman had a nightmare of a game. Completing 13 of 22 passes for just 97 yards, he was able to lead his team to just four first downs over the course of nine possessions.
It was the continuation of a disconcerting trend, one that has seen Bowman struggle against teams from one of the Power 5 conferences for the majority of his career. In fact, when facing such teams, he’s been a below-average QB at best.
In his career, the Grapevine native has started six games against Power 5 teams that he didn’t leave due to injury. His record in those games is just 2-4. What’s more, he’s not won one of those since October of 2018 when he led Tech to a 48-16 victory over Kansas.
But that only tells part of the story. After all, wins and losses are a team stat.
What’s solely on Bowman though is how he’s performed in those contents and unfortunately, it hasn’t been up to par.
In all Power 5 games, he’s been just a 62.6% passer. Meanwhile, against other teams, he’s completed 75.3% of his passes.
Taking it even further, Bowman has a TD: INT ratio in Power 5 games of just 4:3. That is 16 TDs and 12 picks. Like the other stats listed above, that’s not going to cut it.
Bowman has had enough chances. He’s had parts of three seasons and worked with two different coaching staffs and yet he’s failed to take a step forward from where he was as a true freshman. In fact, he’s regressed since 2018.
Some theorize that he’s never been the same since the two collapsed lung injuries ended his true freshman campaign. They point out that far too often, he throws off his back foot and that could be a sign that the memory of the violent hits on which his lung was injured remain in the back of his head.
Another observation is that Bowman is still just a one-read quarterback. That was evident against Iowa State and it continues to be a problem because when his first read is unavailable, he either tries to force the ball to a covered receiver or he panics and either throws the ball away or checks down to his running back in the flat.
That’s not where a quarterback in his third season of college football should be. Granted, Bowman has made only 14 starts over those three years. However, if he’s going to be a starting QB, he’s got to figure out how to go through each play’s entire progression before he gives up on that play.
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But whatever the cause of his troubles may be, there’s no denying that he simply isn’t cutting it. In each of his last three games, all against Big 12 teams, he’s had a completion percentage below 60. When you throw last year’s Arizona game into that mix, he’s had four-straight ga
mes against Power 5 team below 60%. (While the Kansas State game may not be a fair barometer of his play given that he saw action in just one full series, the other three games are enough to give us reason for concern.)
It’s time to move on. Bowman has had his chance to secure this job and he’s failed to do so. This program can no longer continue to languish because of his poor play.
Now, to be fair, there are other problems with the 2020 team that have nothing to do with Bowman. Special teams have been a disaster, the defense is one of the worst in the nation, and the offensive line has been inconsistent at best.
But sometimes, elite quarterbacks can help cover some of those flaws by carrying their team. The problem is that Bowman isn’t that type of QB. Rather, he’s just a guy.
The problem is that years of poor recruiting at that position left him as what we thought was the only viable option. Think about the players that he’s had to beat out to earn the starting job. Jett Duffey, McLane Carter (who won the 2018 job over Bowman before an injury thrust Bowman into action in week one of that season), Jackson Tyner, Maverick McIvor, Henry Colombi…there’s not a player on that list who is going to even come close to sniffing an NFL roster and most of those players had or currently have no business starting at the major college level.
The same can be said of Bowman as well though and Texas Tech needs to start preparing for 2021 by spending the rest of this abbreviated season looking for some clarity at the QB spot. Henry Colombi should be the starter moving forward. He’s performed well in limited action in relief of Bowman and now it is time he gets a shot at showing what he can do with a full week’s worth of first-team practice reps.
Maverick McIvor also needs to see the field. The next time there is a blowout or if Colombi is injured, Wells can’t go back to Bowman. We’ve already seen what he has and it is a great big bag of nothing. Meanwhile, this program needs to finally find out if McIvor is Big 12 material or not after two years in the program.
Saturday in Ames, the Alan Bowman era of Texas Tech football likely came to an end. It was a disappointing run for a player who, when he was at his best, looked like he might be a Graham Harrell starter kit.
Unfortunately, injuries and a lack of development kept him from reaching that status and now we know that he’s not the QB of the future for Texas Tech. And if Matt Wells wants to be the future of this program, he’d better start to figure out the game’s most important position in a hurry.