Texas Tech football: What went right for the Red Raiders in 2023

UCF v Texas Tech
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Texas Tech QB Behren Morton was forced to mature

There was a changing of the guard at the QB spot in 2023 with Shough's Red Raider career ending in game four. That led to the Behren Morton era beginning a year earlier than expected but that transition didn't quite look like we might have expected.

Prior to this year, Morton was considered a young gunslinger. In his redshirt freshman season, he saw action in nine games and he threw six interceptions on just 169 passes while tossing only seven TDs.

He was a player still learning when it was best to take chances and when to live to fight another down. It was all about his athleticism and arm strength last year and he played a wild brand of football that, while fun to watch, wasn't going to lead to a ton of winning.

This year, Morton was forced to mature because of the sprained throwing shoulder he had to play through all season. No longer was he able to play a brand of football that saw him take on the gunslinger mentality. Rather, he had to learn how to manage games and play a safer game.

Ultimately, we all would have loved to see what a healthy Morton would look like for multiple weeks. That's something we've yet to see during his college career.

However, playing through his injury in 2023 could have been one of the best things for his long-term development as a quarterback. Morton learned how to win games by relying on his ground game and by playing a more cautious brand of football and that was a needed component of his development.

In 2024 we will likely see a combination of caution and playmaking from Morton who (fingers crossed) will start the year healthy. That's going to bring about the best version of his game.

No one wants the big-play mentality taken out of Morton's psyche. However, some maturity was needed before he was ready to be QB1.

This season, he had no choice but to mature because the electric arm strength that he had relied on throughout his entire football career was no longer available to him. Sometimes a negative in the short term can have long-term benefits and that's what happened for Morton in 2023 when he had 15 TD passes and only 8 picks despite throwing 293 passes. In the end, he came out of this year a more complete and under control player and that's something that needed to happen before he took over as the full-time starter.