This past Saturday was an important day for the Texas Tech football program as the team conducted its first of two intrasquad scrimmages. But unfortunately, no media or fans were allowed to attend meaning that information about what transpired has been nonexistent.
That’s why Red Raider fans were eager to hear from head coach Joey McGuire after Tuesday’s practice. It was the first time since the scrimmage that McGuire spoke to the media and naturally, one of the first questions he was asked was about how the quarterbacks performed. Interestingly, McGuire said that one player has separated himself from the pack…though he chose not to reveal who that is. (The full video of McGuire’s remarks about the QBs can be see below in the Tweet from Carlos Silva Jr. of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.)
"“I know y’all want to hear the starter,” he said, “and trust me, I think there’s definitely somebody that’s taken it. But I told them from the get-go that we’re going to go all the way through the second scrimmage [before announcing the starter].”"
The reasoning for waiting until after the second scrimmage is sound. First of all, it allows for a thorough evaluation of the three players competing for the job (Tyler Shough, Donovan Smith, and Behren Morton).
Second, it keeps all three players engaged in the competition for as long as possible. Were McGuire to name his starter now, the other two players would naturally see a dip in repetitions and would understandably see their competitive fire dwindle quite a bit knowing they are not going to win the job. That’s just human nature.
Third, the longer this QB race goes, the less likely it is that one of the two players who aren’t named the starter transfers. With classes set to begin on August 25, the announcement of the starting QB should come just days prior. That’s important because once a player sits in a class at a university, he has to wait until the end of the semester to transfer.
It might seem like a dirty tactic on the part of college coaches to wait until just before class starts to announce the starting QB but given that the transfer portal is now an unavoidable reality in college athletics, it’s a wise move. Though McGuire doesn’t seem to be worried about any of his three QBs looking to go elsewhere, it is better to be safe and try to keep them all in the fold as all three have tremendous potential.
As for what he saw from his QBs on Saturday, McGuire was a bit measured in his response. However, he did provide some interesting insight into what he wants to see from his starter.
"“The biggest thing with those three is they’re making all the throws and they’re making big plays,” he said. “Are they putting us in bad plays? It’s almost getting to that point, like, who is not going to put us in a bad situation? Because [offensive coordinator Zach] Kittley’s offense, he puts so much on the quarterback and so that’s the thing right now that they’re really competing, like, hey, let’s get in the right play or if I have to pull the ball here, I’m going to pull it because I’m not going to give up a negative play…”"
It is fair to believe that experience could play the deciding role in this battle, especially given that Kittley wants his QB to call the audibles at the line rather than look over to the sidelines to get the new play from the coaching staff as so many offenses around the nation do. Thus, that might lead one to think that either Shough or Smith would have an edge given that Morton has never started a college game and has only played a handful of snaps.
Tech will have one more scrimmage this coming Saturday and then, McGuire should reveal who has won this all-important job. Though it sounds as if one of the tree candidates has already started to pull away and take control.