Red Raiders adjusting to QB injuries

April, 14, 2010
4/14/10
8:30
AM ET
Steven Sheffield's injury was unfortunate, but Texas Tech Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville believes the timing was not.

Missing a handful of spring practices is certainly preferred over a handful of games, and the injury to Sheffield's previously repaired foot probably would have arrived eventually. Better now than October, in the thick of a conference schedule.

"Obviously, it didn’t heal right. They went in and did it another way and strengthened it," said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

Sheffield, a senior, had already used up a redshirt season, and reinjuring the foot at a crucial point in Texas Tech's season could have ended the quarterback's career.

But no sooner than Tuberville pulled up a chair for a long look at his other prospective starter, Taylor Potts, Tuberville lost him, too. He suffered a deep laceration and ligament damage to his throwing hand after hitting a teammates helmet while following through on a pass.

"It won’t set these guys back at all. They’re experienced and they understand it and they’ve been going to all the meetings and they’re at all the practices," Tuberville said. "I think it’s just going to set them back in their conditioning a little bit, but they’ll have a lot of extra work to do in June and July."

Even though his quarterbacks are all restricted from contact, they haven't escaped spring healthy. Sheffield's injury came after stepping on a teammate's foot.

"I would have at least liked one more scrimmage -- that’s the main thing -- out of them," Tuberville said. "But it didn’t happen and these young guys have benefited from it."

Sophomore Seth Doege and redshirt freshman Jacob Karam have been forced into starting roles, splitting first-team snaps since Sheffield and Potts' injuries. They've excelled. In Saturday's scrimmage, both threw five touchdown passes.

"Quarterbacks have to understand the game and both are like coaches on the field, they’re eager to learn. Both have a lot more to learn than the two seniors, but I’ve been very impressed with their demeanor around the other players and their line of scrimmage communication skills, and their decision making," Tuberville said. "Both have really improved their decision making after the ball is snapped. You can’t teach that. You try to teach it, but it has to become natural for them."

Potts and Sheffield are both expected to be back throwing on June 1.

"It’s balanced -- everybody’s got the same number of reps now, Potts and Sheffield got first half, Doege and Karam the second half," Tuberville said. "We wanted to go a little longer with the other two, but that’s the game. That’s how it worked out."

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