Texas Tech football: There was never a doubt that Tyler Shough would be QB1

Texas Tech Football: Tyler Shough Propels Red Raiders to Texas Bowl Victory

Almost every offseason, coaches across the country like to champion the idea of ​​competition for entry-level jobs or top roles. They try to motivate their players during the doldrums of endless training sessions, the month of spring training, and the rest of the time between the bowl game and Labor Day weekend by pretending that snaps are available based partly on the what happens outside the lines. from Camp. While the January-August period is important developmentally, there just wasn’t a lot of intrigue about jobs starting for the Texas Tech football team in 2023, and on Friday, the laughable notion that anyone other than Tyler Shough would be named the starting QB was laid to rest.

We really don’t know why Joey McGuire and his offensive coaching staff chose this moment to officially name Shough the starter with social media posts. Perhaps it was to start a campaign to bring attention to the senior, thus starting the necessary hype train for pre- and post-season accolades and awards.

Likewise, this type of publicity can improve the image of an entire program, and as we already know, college football is the only major sport in the United States that is primarily based on perception, as the smallest playoff tournament in the world is an invitation-only event. If Shough starts to get preseason recognition it could do wonders for Tech’s preseason rankings, something that really matters in this sport as getting off to a good start in the polls greatly increases the likelihood that a team will play for something significant in January.

However, for most of this offseason, the normally outspoken McGuire has been slow to name Shough as his starter, perhaps the only position on the field where the hope is that the same player will take every significant snap in a game. Instead, the head coach was excited by the idea of ​​using pseudo QB competition as a carrot to motivate the younger players on the roster behind Shough, players like starting standby Behren Morton, to push themselves to improve this offseason.

In reality, though, anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Texas Tech football program knew that, short of a major injury occurring, Shough would be QB1 through the offseason and into Labor Day weekend.

The former Oregon transfer, who was a 4-star recruit in high school and once considered the heir apparent to current NFL star Justin Herbert in Eugene, has been the program’s QB of choice. He was a starter in 2021 and 2022, despite being evaluated by different coaches and offensive coordinators each season.

While two broken collarbones, one in each of the last two seasons, have kept us from seeing a full season of his work, Shough has shown that when he’s healthy, he’s the best on campus. A natural leader and an alpha male who doesn’t shy away from the responsibilities of being the face of a program, Shough has done everything you could ask of a QB1 besides staying healthy.

In the games Shough started, the Red Raiders are 8-1 with that loss coming into the 2021 Texas contest, which saw Shough exit the game after only playing in the first quarter before breaking his collarbone diving into the endzone for the first goal of the season. team. punctuation.

The best glimpse into what this program could be with Shough running the show came late last season when he returned from his second broken collarbone, suffered in the first quarter of Game One of 2022. Though he would see action against Baylor and TCU to relieve a lame Morton, it wasn’t until the season-ending home game against Kansas that he regained his footing. After that he was fantastic.

Leading a program that has traditionally struggled to finish seasons with any semblance of momentum to a 4-0 record to close out 2022, Shough showed why he’s the best fit for this team. With a 63.8 completion percentage during that drive, he threw for 1,065 yards and 5 TDs while rushing for 264 yards and 3 more TDs. Extrapolate those numbers over a 13-game season and you have a QB with 4,319 total yards of offense and 26 total touchdowns.

Those are numbers we haven’t seen from a Red Raider starting QB since the end of the Pat Mahomes era in 2016. What’s more, Tech could actually expect more than that from Sough this year, given the expected improvements to his offensive line and receiving corps. .

Of course, much of what Sough brings to the table cannot be measured statistically. The team simply looked more composed when Sough was in the fray. For example, thanks to a late 4th quarter TD pass from Shough to TE Baylor Cupp, Tech pulled off a 14-10 victory at Iowa State last season on a bitterly cold night, conditions in which many other Texas teams Tech have withered over the years.

A week later, he passed for over 400 yards helping Tech earn a 51-48 overtime penalty shootout victory against Oklahoma in Lubbock, the program’s first victory over the Sooners since 2011. These two games are proof that Shough it helps the Red Raiders win by any means necessary, and they underscore the fact that when Sough is right, this program is capable of pulling off the kind of wins that have been pretty elusive for the past two decades. Nothing Morton or any other QB on the roster did during the offseason was going to top that.

So while McGuire’s announcement on Friday was noteworthy, it was more of a formality than a surprise. The one question surrounding Sough won’t be answered this summer; what would a full season of it look like? If we find that out in 2023, Texas Tech could be one of the stories of the season both in the Big 12 and across the country.