Texas Tech – SMU Game Week Press Conference Notes
The first Texas Tech Football Monday media luncheon is over with and one thing is certain: a quarterback will start for the Red Raiders Friday night against the SMU Mustangs.
Glib comments aside, Tech Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday afternoon that both true freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb will see about the same amount of reps with the first team offense this week.
“It's still playing the game, whether the game they're playing last fall in high school, or in Mike's situation he had been here a little while, but you just attack it,” Kingsbury said when asked how he approaches game week with a roster of quarterbacks who haven’t started on the collegiate level.
“It's still football. It's going to move around a little faster, but we try to get all these guys a bunch of reps and I think they'll be ready to go.”
The pace of the offense has been a talking point this offseason for the Red Raiders and Senior Bradley Marquez let loose on just how fast they hope to be on offense saying,
“It's pretty fast. You'll see Friday night exactly what we're talking about, because all it has been really is talk for us these past few months.
But it's going to be fast. We're going to get off two, three plays a minute, that's really fast. It's going to be a thing that's going to benefit us come the third or fourth quarter, things like that.
But it's something that we've been training for, and we're excited about it. We have embraced it as fast as we go and everybody's bought in, so we're excited about it.”
Two or three plays a minute while on offense for the Red Raiders sounds unrealistic at first glance. They averaged 77 plays last season, which was 33rd in the NCAA. When Kingsbury was at Texas A&M last season they averaged 83 plays a game, which ranked 8th in the NCAA.
The break neck speed for the Red Raiders on offense might put the defense in a bind scoring too quick or punting with little time off the clock, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern with the trust that the coaching staff has in the offense and whichever quarterback takes the field.
Kingsbury also said in the press conference that offensive lineman Tony Morales will miss the SMU game with a shoulder injury and a time table has not been set for his return.
Kingsbury isn’t a stranger to June Jones and the Ponies. He’s coached against SMU the past five seasons with Houston and Texas A&M.
Jones brought in Air Raid patriarch Hal Mumme on staff at SMU to add a wrinkle to the Mustang Offense and Kingsbury said the Tech Defense will face a challenge.
“Yeah, offensively it's going to be interesting to see how Coach Mumme plays into it, obviously, those two great offensive minds coming together,” said Kingsbury.
“So we'll have to see. If it's a blend of both or more Coach Mumme or more Coach Jones. So there is some unknown in that.”
Last season, the Red Raider Defense was atrocious in forcing turnovers and they’ve worked on it in practice. Defensive lineman Kerry Hyder said more has been done this year in practice to get the ball away.
“We do a turnover circuit every day. Working on whipping the ball out, working on jumping, and jumping routes and stuff like that,” said Hyder. “So they put a big emphasis on us this off‑season, and hopefully it will carry over to the field.”
The wait will be over in four days when the Red Raiders take the field in Dallas against the Mustangs. Then we’ll know what team we have for this season.