Dallas Colleges: Taylor Potts

Tech's Doege finally ready for his shot

March, 24, 2011
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Last season, Oklahoma State surely made some sort of history by starting a quarterback in Brandon Weeden, who hadn't made a start in nine years.

Next season, there's a good chance Texas Tech could have a quarterback who has made one start in five seasons. Junior Seth Doege's never made it on the field for his final two seasons of high school in 2006 and 2007, thanks to preseason torn ACLs in his right and left knees.

[+] EnlargeSeth Doege
Dustin Bradford/Icon SMISeth Doege is excited to get a chance to start for Texas Tech.
In 2008, he redshirted. Doege started against Kansas in 2009 but was benched in favor of Taylor Potts at halftime, making his only start a forgettable one. In 2010, he waited his turn behind a pair of seniors, Potts and Steven Sheffield, both finally fully healthy.

"I know a lot of people that would have gone through those [injuries] and said, 'You know what, I’m done. I’m not going to go through this.'" said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville. " But it shows the perseverance he’s got and how resilient he is and how much he wants to play."

The big question: Why?

"Ever since I was little, this has been my dream," Doege said. "Not many people can say they’re living their dream."

Doege can. For now, it's not official. But he's established a clear lead over Jacob Karam as the Red Raiders' starting quarterback, earning the majority of the first-team reps as the most experienced quarterback on the roster.

The quarterback play under former coach Mike Leach became a signature of the Red Raiders' program, and that doesn't look likely to change.

"We still want to go out and recruit quarterbacks who can throw it 50 times a game -- maybe 60," Tuberville said. "That’s something that’s helped Tech when Mike brought it here and I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s opened doors for us."

That includes Doege's door. A native of Wolfforth, Texas, Doege went to nearby Frenship High School and was a self-professed "West Texas kid." He remembers well the first time his dad, Randy Doege, a high school coach himself, brought him to a Texas Tech game.

"I was like, 'Man, I want to play here. I want to throw for 4,000-plus yards,'” he said. "I wanted to be the next Kliff Kingsbury, the next B.J. Symons, the next Graham Harrell. I wanted to be those guys."

That didn't change throughout high school. One of the top passers in Texas, Doege committed to Texas Tech the day he got his offer, the first of several that eventually rolled in.

"I knew this was where I wanted to be when I was little," he said. "There were other schools that offered, but as soon as they did, I’d tell them hey, I’m committed to Tech. I’m solid."

And despite missing those final two years, Texas Tech honored that commitment just as Doege honored his, both to the game itself and other schools that expressed interest.

"That really motivated me. It was like, 'OK, I still have a chance,'" he said.

Now that the chance is closer than ever, Doege's hopes and expectations are high.

"I just want to win, that’s the main goal," he said. "My expectation is to be the No. 1 offense and that’s what we want to do. For a quarterback to know that your unit is No. 1 in the nation, that’s probably the best recognition you can get."

And Doege's confidence in himself and those around him is reflected by his coach, too.

"He’s an older guy. He’s not 18 years old. He’s been through some tough times, some tough surgeries, and he’s still got the hunger for it," Tuberville said. "You can tell he’s physically tough, mentally tough to go through that, and you can tell he kept the hunger and he wanted to do it.

"Now we can see what he can do."
Springtime is almost here. And here's a look at what to expect across the Big 12 when it gets into full swing here in the next couple weeks.


Spring practice starts: February 28

Spring game: April 2

What to watch:
  • Big changes on defense. Baylor brought in Phil Bennett as its new defensive coordinator, and he says his scheme will be multiple, built to fit the Bears' personnel. Considering the Bears' recent recruiting successes in the secondary, look for a 4-2-5 type of look.
  • Recruiting stars: time to shine. Both safeties, Tim Atchison and Byron Landor, are gone. Baylor, though, has two former ESPNU 150 recruits at safety who would be well served to start filling their potential. Prince Kent was a reserve last season and at one time, the nation's No. 51 overall recruit who originally signed with Miami. Ahmad Dixon, meanwhile, was the No. 15 overall prospect in the 2010 class. The opportunity is there. Baylor needs big talent at the position. Briles has recruited it. Can they develop into players who make Baylor a contender?
  • Running back competition. Jay Finley topped 1,200 yards in 2010, but he's gone. Who steps into his void? Terrance Ganaway is a bowling ball at 5-foot-11, 235 pounds, but the shifty Jarred Salubi could get a good amount of carries, too. They could begin to share carries this spring.

Spring practice starts: March 22

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Quarterback competition. It should be a good one in Ames this spring. Jerome Tiller is the name most recognize after getting lots of meaningful time and starts because of injuries to Austen Arnaud over the past two seasons. But juco transfer Steele Jantz sounds confident he can win the job. Rising sophomore James Capello and redshirt freshman Jared Barnett will compete, too.
  • Paging Cyclone receivers. Iowa State had one of the most underwhelming receiving corps in the league during the past season, and three of its top five pass-catchers won't return in 2011. Of those three, however, one is a tight end (Collin Franklin) and another is a running back (Alexander Robinson). The new quarterback will need some help, and Darius Darks and Darius Reynolds will need to provide it as seniors.
  • Shontrelle's time or not? Freshman Shontrelle Johnson looked like the running back with the most pop behind Robinson for most of 2010, but two other freshmen running backs jockeyed for carries, too. Paul Rhoads is hardly handing the job over to Johnson, but spring could be the time when he really separates himself from the pack.

Spring practice starts: April 1

Spring game: April 30

What to watch:
  • What are they doing behind center? Kansas never got much consistent play out of the quarterback position last year, but freshman Brock Berglund is one of the 2011 class' top recruits, and enrolled early to compete in the spring with Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham. With a building program like Kansas, there's perhaps some value in handing the program to a younger player like Webb or Berglund, but they'll have to earn it. Doing so will start in the spring, but don't expect the Jayhawks to have a set-in-stone starter by spring's end.
  • Top linebacker back on the field. Huldon Tharp missed all of 2010 with a foot injury, but he says he's 100 percent and ready to get back on the field. As a freshman in 2009, he was fifth on the team in tackles, with 59, and looked like one of the league's possible budding stars. Now, he'll get his chance to join fellow linebacker Steven Johnson as one of the team's top tacklers, and he'll do it as a sophomore after redshirting in 2010.
  • Toben rising? Turner Gill raised plenty of eyebrows when he moved his team's leading rusher in 2009, Toben Opurum, to linebacker in fall camp, and eventually slid him up to defensive end. But toward the end of 2010, Opurum started showing some major signs of growth at the position. We'll get a better idea this spring if he's one of the league's most unlikely new stars at defensive end.

Spring practice starts: April 6

Spring game: April 30

What to watch:
  • Prodigal Kansan sons come home. There's no doubt that the Wichita native Brown brothers are the main attraction at Kansas State this spring, a season after transferring back home. Bryce Brown, the running back, was the nation's No. 8 prospect in the 2009 class. Arthur Brown, the linebacker, was the nation's No. 6 prospect in the 2008 class. Bryce transferred from Tennessee and Arthur from Miami. The Wildcats are pinning much of their hopes on the duo, and we'll get a good sense of what they can provide soon.
  • Quarterback competition. Carson Coffman is gone, and two new faces will challenge for the job: juco transfer Justin Tuggle and Daniel Sams. Sammuel Lamur is also up for the gig. Collin Klein may or may not be; Bill Snyder hasn't explicitly confirmed a past comment from Sams saying Klein had moved to receiver. Don't expect a starter to be named by spring's end, but a general order could start to form.
  • Can the defense show improvement? Kansas State had the Big 12's worst overall defense last year, and the worst rushing defense in college football, giving up 3,008 yards on the ground. Coordinator Chris Cosh looks like he'll still be around in 2011, and defensive backs David Garrett and Tysyn Hartman are solid pieces to try and build around. But this young maturing defense must get better to make a bowl game again with so many questions on offense. That starts in the spring.

Spring practice starts: March 8

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Franklin comes alive! Blaine Gabbert bolted to the NFL early, and Missouri has a gaping hole a quarterback. The position, however, is surrounded by a lot of quality talent that likely makes the Tigers a Top 25 team. There's no understating the importance of the position for the Tigers, and that will begin to be decided in the spring. James Franklin, a rising sophomore, saw spot duty in 2010 as more of a runner, and may have the inside track on the job, but Tyler Gabbert, Blaine's younger brother, and Ashton Glaser should make it an interesting competition in the spring. If neither of them impress early, don't count out incoming freshman Corbin Berkstresser.
  • Here is the new secondary. Same as the old secondary? After years of pass defense being one of the Tigers' biggest weaknesses, it became a strength in 2010 behind the leadership of senior corners Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis. But the Tigers lose them and safety Jarrell Harrison. Rutland emerged as one of the team's most impressive players last spring, but was Missouri's success in the secondary a one-time thing or the beginning of a welcome trend?
  • Time to dominate the trenches? Missouri played without likely first-round pick Aldon Smith for much of the previous season, but the defensive and offensive lines for the Tigers were as good as ever in 2010. How will they look in 2011? Impact juco transfer Sheldon Richardson won't be enrolled by the spring, but the four returning starters on the offensive line should get some solid work against Brad Madison, Jacquies Smith and Terrell Resonno.

Spring practice starts: March 21

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Freshmen on display. Coach Bob Stoops hasn't been shy about saying his 2010 recruiting class was his best ever, but it could look even better after this spring. Two of his best emerging recruits, Justin McCay and Geneo Grissom, didn't even play in 2010, and could start to make an impact. The same goes for Corey Nelson, who will try to earn some more time somewhere backing up star Travis Lewis.
  • Is there a golden boot in Norman? Jimmy Stevens was much more accurate in 2010, finishing 19-for-23, but his attempts outside 45 yards were sparse. The good news is he missed none of his 53 extra points. Field goals have been a bit of an adventure for the past couple years, but continuing in the spring what he started last year would be a good sign for Oklahoma. The Sooners are strong everywhere and need good special teams play to reach their lofty title goals.
  • Are the Sooners' backs back? Roy Finch missed the Fiesta Bowl with a stress fracture, and his durability is certainly questionable entering 2011. When he's healthy, he looks like the next star in the Sooners' backfield, but they'll need some depth behind the 5-foot-8, 173-pounder. Jermie Calhoun, Jonathan Miller and Brennan Clay have all looked good at times, but there should be some good competition from newcomers Brandon Wegher, an Iowa transfer who'll be in camp this spring and eligible next season, and blue-chip recruit Brandon Williams, who enrolled early.

Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Every piece of the offense. The spring in Stillwater is all about keeping or improving upon the status quo. Had it kept Dana Holgorsen, there'd be little doubt that would happen, but Oklahoma State must make the most of its five returning offensive linemen, quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon. The opportunity for a historic season is there, but they'll have to pick up the nuances of the new offense quickly in the spring like they did last year.
  • What about the kicker? Dan Bailey won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker in 2010, but he's gone. Oklahoma State needs to fill that role quickly, and we'll likely know who will get the nod after the spring.
  • Who steps up on the defensive line? The Cowboys lose three starters up front on defense, including All-Big 12 performer Ugo Chinasa and tackles Chris Donaldson and Shane Jarka. Can senior Richetti Jones become a star in the Big 12? We'll have a good idea if he, or any of the Cowboys' other defensive linemen, can by the end of April.

Spring practice starts: February 24

Spring game: April 3

What to watch:
  • New coaches and their students/players. Texas has five new coaches. Although it's hard to get a good read early on, how they relate with the players on the field, in the film room and around the facilities will have a big impact on how the 2011 season plays out in Austin. The young-blooded coordinators could serve themselves well by relating to players and the players will need to spend plenty of extra time learning new schemes and plays.
  • Quarterback competition ... or not? Mack Brown says the gig is open and it is, for now. Garrett Gilbert can close it with a strong spring. If Garrett struggles on the field or has difficulty grasping the new system, the door will be wide open for Connor Wood or Case McCoy to step in and close it. Gilbert didn't get much help, but he did very little in 2010 to inspire a lot of breathing room with McCoy and Wood clamoring for playing time.
  • And you've got to defend the pass, too. Texas loses its top three cornerbacks to the NFL, and only Carrington Byndom and A.J. White got much meaningful playing time last season. Younger players can earn some rare early playing time with a strong spring. Will anyone step up?

Spring practice starts: March 22

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • New linebackers in the running. Spring isn't so scary when you bring back nine defensive starters, but the two Texas A&M lost were the heart of its defense. Linebackers Michael Hodges and Von Miller are gone. Kyle Mangan didn't look fantastic when forced into action during the Cotton Bowl, but the time is now for Damontre Moore and Dominique Patterson, a pair of sophomores, to make their impact.
  • Tannehill's tuning things up. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill played about as well as anyone could have hoped late last season, but he'll need it to continue his performance with a solid spring nailing down the timing with his receivers, who all return. He's already got a leg up on last year's quarterback, Jerrod Johnson, who was held out of team drills last spring after shoulder surgery that eventually derailed his senior season.
  • Christine's back. Christine Michael missed the second half of the season with a broken leg, giving way to Cyrus Gray's rise among Big 12 backs. It should make Texas A&M's depth at the position even more impressive, but we'll see how Michael looks coming back from the injury.

Spring practice starts: February 19

Spring game: March 26

What to watch:
  • Past defending that pass defense. Texas Tech had the Big 12's worst pass defense last season, but has a pair of big potential players at cornerback in rising sophomores Tre Porter and Jarvis Phillips. Starters LaRon Moore and Franklin Mitchem are gone, but if returning starters Cody Davis and Will Ford can continue to mature, the defense should improve in the area most important for success in the Big 12.
  • And they're off! There's a four-man quarterback derby set in Lubbock this spring between Seth Doege, Jacob Karam, Michael Brewer and Scotty Young. I don't expect it to be settled until midway through fall camp, similar to last season, but there should be a solid front-runner and more clarity after spring. Coach Tommy Tuberville was extremely impressed with Doege and Karam last spring after Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield went down with injuries.
  • Time to find new stars. Most of the big names on Texas Tech's defense are gone. Colby Whitlock, Bront Bird, Brian Duncan will all continue their careers elsewhere. The leaders on the defense will have to begin to emerge in the spring. Is it Scott Smith? Cody Davis? A younger, unexpected player? We'll find out. Sometimes these types of situations aren't as easy to predict as they might seem, like Missouri's strength in 2010 emerging in the secondary.

Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Texas Longhorns, Baylor Bears, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Texas A&M Aggies, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Mack Brown, Von Miller, Bob Stoops, Art Briles, Taylor Potts, Garrett Gilbert, Steven Sheffield, Jerrod Johnson, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Weeden, Brian Duncan, Turner Gill, Jarvis Phillips, Phil Bennett, Travis Lewis, Justin Blackmon, Ryan Tannehill, Jay Finley, Cyrus Gray, Collin Klein, Jerome Tiller, Paul Rhoads, Christine Michael, Quinn Mecham, Carson Coffman, Ahmad Dixon, Byron Landor, Jarred Salubi, Terrance Ganaway, Corey Nelson, Dan Bailey, Damontre Moore, Bront Bird, Cody Davis, Colby Whitlock, Michael Hodges, Kyle Mangan, Bill Snyder, Carl Gettis, Chris Donaldson, Franklin Mitchem, LaRon Moore, Shane Jarka, Tre Porter, Ugo Chinasa, Sheldon Richardson, Ashton Glaser, James Franklin, Tyler Gabbert, A.J. White, Aldon Smith, Alexander Robinson, Arthur Brown, Brad Madison, Brandon Wegher, Brandon Williams, Brennan Clay, Brock Berglund, Bryce Brown, Carrington Byndom, Case McCoy, Chris Cosh, Collin Franklin, Connor Wood, Corbin Berkstresser, Daniel Sams, Darius Darks, Darius Reynolds, David Garrett, Dominique Patterson, Geneo Grissom, Huldon Tharp, Jacob Karam, Jacquies Smith, James Capello, Jared Barnett, Jermie Calhoun, Jimmy Stevens, Jonathan Miller, Jordan Webb, Justin McCay, Justin Tuggle, Kevin Rutland, Michael Brewer, Prince Kent, Richetti Jones, Scott Smith, Scotty Young, Seth Doege, Shontrelle Johnson, Steele Jantz, Terrell Resonno, Tim Atchison, Toben Opurum, Tysyn Hartman

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 12

November, 15, 2010
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

1. Nebraska (9-1, 5-1, last week: 1) The Huskers did it ugly against Kansas, but they did it, and that's all that really matters. The offense will have to be sharper in College Station next week to beat the red-hot Aggies.

2. Oklahoma State (9-1, 5-1, LW: 2) The Cowboys took care of business in Austin, and are inching toward a first-ever trip toward a Big 12 title. Don't be looking for a slip-up in Lawrence next week, but hype is building for what should be a heated Bedlam battle in Stillwater in two weeks.

3. Oklahoma (8-2, 4-2, LW: 3) Bob Stoops-coached teams at Oklahoma continue their home dominance, but Owen Field will remain quiet for the rest of the season. The Sooners have to get by Baylor in Waco next week to still have a chance to play for the South title in Stillwater a week later. That's not as easy as it used to be.

4. Missouri (8-2, 4-2, LW: 4) Blaine Gabbert redeemed himself in a big way, but the Tigers defense made plays everywhere against Kansas State. Good luck finding a team that loses with a 4-1 advantage in turnovers and a defensive touchdown. This week, even with Iowa State missing senior quarterback Austen Arnaud, Missouri's trip to Ames won't be easy.

5. Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2, LW: 5) The Aggies are the league's hottest team, but it's hard to move them above any of the four teams higher than them. That'll change if Mike Sherman's team can knock off Nebraska this week. Texas A&M played one of its best halves of the year in its comeback win against Baylor. And by the way, how does that last-second loss to Oklahoma State back in the conference opener look now? A lot more impressive.

6. Kansas State (6-4, 3-4, LW: 6) Kansas State burned itself with costly fumbles, but the Wildcats would be well-served to ride Collin Klein to the finish line in 2010. A second dynamic running threat adds a lot more to the offense than a second average-at-best passer.

7. Baylor (7-4, 4-3, LW: 7) Baylor's offense got deadlocked by Tim DeRuyter's defense in a frustrating loss, but the Bears will try to go out with a bang against Oklahoma in their season finale this week.

8. Texas Tech (5-5, 3-5, LW: 9) Texas Tech didn't move up as much as the four teams below them moved down. The Red Raiders looked pretty helpless in Norman, but that's nothing new for Texas Tech or anyone. The Sooners haven't lost a Big 12 game at home since 2001. A late switch back to Steven Sheffield didn't help much, either. Expect Taylor Potts to start again next week.

9. Iowa State (5-6, 3-4, LW: 8) The loss to Colorado was crushing, but not as crushing as losing Arnaud. Expect Paul Rhoads' team to rally around experienced backup Jerome Tiller this week and give Missouri a tough time with a bowl berth on the line.

10. Texas (4-6, 2-5, LW: 10) Don't think a lopsided win against Florida Atlantic is a given for the Longhorns. Howard Schnellenberger's Owls gave Sun Belt leader Florida International its only conference loss of the season, 21-9, and have won three in a row.

11. Colorado (4-6, 1-5, LW: 12) The Buffs won a big one for Brian Cabral, and might tap into something down the stretch. If Kansas State turns it over like it did against Missouri, Colorado might string together a two-game winning streak.

12. Kansas (3-7, 1-5, LW: 11) Kansas is getting better, but the season's finish will be tough against Oklahoma State and Missouri.

MMQB: Tech offense hopes to get up to speed

September, 27, 2010
Texas Tech has had an extra week to work on Tommy Tuberville's offense, which wheezed to just 144 total yards in the 24-14 home loss to Texas.

Can you imagine 144 yards of total offense in the Mike Leach era? Quarterback Taylor Potts threw for 158 yards, while the running game went literally nowhere (-14 yards).

"We didn't do a lot of things right on offense," Tuberville said. "The thing that we're in right now. We're in transition of running a pretty complex offense. I thought the first couple of weeks we handled it well. We played a couple of teams that we were able to control the ball a little bit more the ground, a little bit more balance. We knew going into the game against Texas we were going to have to open it up a little bit more. We didn't handle that very well."

Texas Tech (2-1) hits the road for Iowa State (2-2, 0-1) on Saturday night looking to even its Big 12 record. Tuberville said the off-week was used to get back to basics with the offense, understanding what the unit can handle and then going up against the Red Raiders' first-team defense during scrimmages.

"What happens is when you put a new offense in, the speed of the game catches up with you," Tuberville said. "You can practice all week long, but you get into a game, all those things change because all those players are faster with the starting defenses that you play. Texas is obviously that. We didn't handle their speed very well. We've gone back to practicing against our defense, which has some very good speed, we play a lot of man-coverage, and so what we want to do is be able to react to the type of speed that we see on the defenses when we play them with the type of offense that we're running."

Mature Taylor Potts ready for Texas challenge

September, 15, 2010
Texas Tech holds two advantages Saturday against No. 6 Texas: The game is at night on the frenzied High Plains, and senior quarterback Taylor Potts.

Tech lost in Austin last season, 34-24, but it was a seven-point game until Colt McCoy threw a short touchdown pass to give the then-No. 2 Horns some breathing room. Otherwise, Potts outplayed McCoy, completing 46-of-62 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. McCoy was 24-of-34 for 205 yards, the one TD and two picks.

This time around, Potts is a year older and he knows he's facing a still-evolving Texas defense that is getting used to life without NFL draft picks Sergio Kindle, Lamarr Houston and Earl Thomas. And this time around, Potts will duel with Texas first-year starter Garrett Gilbert, who's busy dealing with an adjusting Longhorns' offense that has shown growing pains.

Potts has also evolved as a quarterback, having won the starting job in fall camp and guiding the new-look Red Raiders (and if you saw those white helmets last week at New Mexico you know what I'm talking about) to a 2-0 start by averaging 43.5 points and 446.5 yards in wins over SMU and New Mexico.

"This season I am a little more mature as far as understanding the game and what's at stake every week," Potts said. "I have a lot of confidence in my team that we'll get it done and play really well."

Tommy Tuberville promised risk-taking

September, 6, 2010
This is part of our Monday Morning Quarterback series, designed to give you a quick look at some things we learned from Saturday's college football action. Let's look at some brief items from Texas Tech's victory over SMU:

Tommy Tuberville wasn't in Lubbock long before he was quickly reminded that there wasn't a fourth-down situation that his predecessor didn't like. Tuberville said not to worry. He said he's not crazy, but he's not exactly conservative either. He proved it Sunday in the fourth quarter when he kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 from its own 34 despite leading 35-20 with 9:37 to go.

Quarterback Taylor Potts, who threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns, was under center and not in the shotgun. He bobbled the snap and SMU took over at the 32 and scored to make it 35-27.

Potts said he liked the aggressive call.

"That was a great call. Coach calls it and expects me to get a first down. I need to do it. The snap was my fault," Potts said. "I've got to come back with [center] Justin [Keown] this week and work on it. If he expects us to get a first down, we need to do it. We kind of fell short on that one and that's my fault."

Tuberville took the onus off his quarterback.

"I put them in a bind by going for that fourth down," Tuberville said. "I forgot we don't take many snaps underneath the center. I've got to get that out of my mind, but that was my fault and my call."

*Potts and wide receiver Lyle Leong had a huge day, connecting 11 times for 142 yards, both career highs for Leong, and three touchdowns, which tied his career-best. Yes, the two have a feel for one another. They were high school teammates at Abilene High School.

Asked if that was there best game together, Potts had to ponder that for a moment: "I have no idea. Maybe. Maybe better in elementary school. I don't know."

*So much attention has been paid to how coach Tommy Tuberville would alter the Red Raiders' famous aerial attack. Well, Potts put the ball in the air more than 30 times -- in the first half. He finished with 34 completions on 53 attempts. But, what about the defense, Tuberville's specialty?

A defensive scheme promising a more aggressive approach in sacking the quarterback paid off with three sacks of SMU sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron. Tech also intercepted Padron three times -- by three different defenders -- and held the Ponies to 218 yards on 21-of-38 passing.

"We played a lot of nickel, a lot of dime, a lot of six DBs. With a passing attack like SMU's, they know what they're doing passing the ball," Tuberville said. "They had us a little confused at times. We gave up 200 yards passing, which is probably a little bit too much, but they had us confused. But, that's what first games are about. We'll get into more of a rhythm, guys will know what to expect and hopefully we'll play a little bit better. But, overall I thought they graded out well for the first time out as a group."

*The Tech ground game certainly didn't come through as expected. The Red Raiders finished with 431 yards of total offense with just 72 yards coming on 31 rushes. Baron Batch had a team-high 52 yards on 15 carries, not a great start on the senior's quest to become the first Tech tailback to eclipse 1,000 yards since the 1990s.

Taylor Potts talks about Tech's victory

September, 5, 2010

Taylor Potts beat out Steven Sheffield during training camp to claim Texas Tech's starting quarterback spot.

In the Red Raiders' 35-27 season-opening win over SMU on Sunday, Potts made new coach Tommy Tuberville look good with four touchdown passes. Potts was 34-for-53 for 359 yards as Tech led by as many as 21 points before the Mustangs' late rally fell short.

Potts answered questions from the Texas Tech sports information department after the game, and here are are some of his answers.

On his overall performance:
"Really we kind of came out there expecting to complete every pass, really. When it's incomplete, it's my fault. So any incompletions today were my fault. But the game, you know, it's a team game. You're not going to win on one side of the ball or the other. Offense stepped up at times and defense stepped up huge. You've got to win it as a team and play as a team, and that's what we did today."

On the differences between this year's offense and last year's:
"This year it's paying a lot of attention to detail. That is kind of our main focus. We want to do things right every single snap. Details are huge. If you can get the little things right, it will pay off in the end. From every position from O-line to myself, the running backs to the receivers, it's the details, everything's precise and done the right way. There's no lollygagging around, everything's got a purpose and detailed and planned out."

On the defense:
"This year they're sound and solid and good. I mean, there's not enough ways to describe them. They're doing different things, mixing things up. They've got players out there. Great athletes, it's just a great defense. It's a new look. It's exciting to watch them. So when we come off the field, it's exciting to see the defense perform."

Taylor Potts won job after 1st scrimmage

August, 30, 2010
Texas Tech starting quarterback Taylor Potts won the job during fall camp on the strength of a solid first scrimmage, beating out fellow senior Steven Sheffield.

"The biggest thing, as we told them, we weren't looking necessarily for the completion average or anything like that. It was just who was able to move the football team, mentally and physically, talking to players, getting them going," first-year Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. "The first scrimmage, it wasn't even close. Taylor did a good job of handling the team, from communication, huddle, line of scrimmage, making decisions. Steven, he struggled a little bit. The next week Steven had a great week of practice, he was very close the second scrimmage, but again, I thought the separation of the first was awfully hard to overcome."

Tuberville said Potts has been impressive since being awarded the starting job. He started 10 games last season, throwing for 3,440 yards and 22 touchdowns. Injuries, however, opened the door for Sheffield, who played in six games last season and also experienced injuries. Both were hurt during spring workouts.

"Two seniors with a lot of experience," Tuberville said. "They understood the competition going in, knowing that one would win out, the other would be second. It could have gone either way, but as we've told Steven, just be ready to go. He's taken advantage of every rep that he's had in practice and also has been a good leader."

Tuberville said that he was less concerned with how Potts would perform as Sunday's season-opener against SMU gets closer, and more concerned with how Sheffield would handle a difficult situation.

"Around the players -- because all the players knew how much competition it was -- he did a great job. He's a good, young man," Tuberville said. "He understands the situation, that he's one play away from being the starter and I thought both of them handled the week very well and I think it's going to be a good situation."

Decision rendered: Potts named Tech stater

August, 22, 2010
Ding, ding, ding...We have winner:

Taylor Potts has emerged from a dual between seniors, announced Sunday as the starting quarterback for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

[+] EnlargeTaylor Potts
Brendan Maloney/US PresswireTaylor Potts started 10 games last year and threw for 3,440 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The 6-foot-5, 222-pound Potts outperformed Steven Sheffieldduring fall camp, including two intrasquad scrimmages. Potts, a preseason candidate for the 2010 Davey O'Brien Award, will make his 11th career start when the Red Raiders open the season at home on Sept. 5 against SMU.

Initially, a decision was not expected until Monday or Tuesday. Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville will not discuss his tabbing Potts until after Monday's practice, but he did provide a statement Sunday through the Tech media relations department.

"We have a very talented group of quarterbacks and are excited about every one of them," Tuberville said. "The competition during camp between Taylor and Steven has been outstanding, but at the end of the day we can only have one starter. Taylor has done a tremendous job and we feel like he has gotten better each and every day. There is no doubt that Steven has also improved during camp and will still be fighting to take over that starting job every day at practice. That kind of competition will only make us stronger as the season goes along."

Potts, a fifth-year senior from Abilene, made 10 starts in 2009 and threw for 3,440 yards along with 22 touchdowns. He wrapped up the 2009 season with an Alamo Bowl record 372 yards and two touchdowns on 29-of-43 passing against Michigan State. Yet, it was Sheffield who came in and rallied Tech to the victory in the fourth quarter.

After Saturday's second scrimmage, Potts told reporters: "I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress on mechanics and just the way I play — throwing the ball and everything. I’m really glad that we got coach [offensive coordinator Neal] Brown and we’re able to work on these details because I feel like I’ve developed more as a quarterback and as a person being under these new coaches.”

Earlier this summer, Potts won the annual "Air It Out" competition at the prestigious Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La. Last season, both quaterbacks suffered setbacks due to injury and neither gained the upper hand during spring practices because injuries required surgery for both.

Tuberville has made it clear that he is no fan of rotating quarterbacks. The starting QB job from here on out then, it would appear, is Potts' to lose.

At last month's Big 12 football media days in Irving, Sheffield said that it would hurt to lose the competition heading into his final year of eligibility, but when asked what he would tell the eventual backup, Sheffield seemed to have a good grasp of the reality of the position.

"The No. 1 thing would just be, be ready. I’ve heard that so many times, especially last year. Anything can happen at any time and it really did twice, or three times," Sheffield said. "We went through three starters last year, technically. And I think last season really was the best, and even this spring, was the best scenario of be ready for anything because anything can happen.

"I would just tell him to remain positive," Sheffield continued. "I don’t know how the transfer rules work, but I mean if he didn’t want to remain positive than he’d need to find another place to play."

Tech will know starting QB in day or two

August, 22, 2010
After a second intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Texas Tech's two competing senior quarterbacks will know which one will start the Sept. 5 opener by Monday or Tuesday.

The scrimmage, like the first one a week ago, was closed to the public and media, but afterward it seemed that both performed well, unlike last week when Steven Sheffield said Taylor Potts had undoubtedly outplayed him.

The final decision is in the hands of first-year Tech coach Tommy Tuberville and offensive coordinator Neal Brown. Tuberville said both quarterbacks threw touchdown passes Saturday, but he told reporters after the scrimmage that he's looking deeper than completions and touchdowns.

"I don’t worry about completions," Tuberville said. "I worry about [the quarterbacks] making the right decisions in terms of if we’re checking out of a play, or are they going through their progressions or taking the easy way out. And just being a team leader. That’s going to go into it as much as somebody throws a 50-yard touchdown pass because the guy that’s going to be the solid leader’s going to be the guy that we want running the team."

Entering fall practices, neither quarterback had a distinct edge. Both required surgery to repair injuries suffered during spring drills. Tuberville has repeatedly said he will not rotate quarterbacks. He plans to name a starter in the next two days and stick with him until either injury or quality of play necessitates a change.

Tech QB battle heads into final scrimmage

August, 20, 2010
Tommy Tuberville inherited the most unusual of position battles pitting two capable senior quarterbacks. Tuberville has made it clear that he is no fan of rotating QBs, so either Taylor Potts or Steven Sheffield will emerge as the undisputed starter as Texas Tech begins a new era.

Potts can seemingly nail down the job with a crisp second scrimmage on Saturday. After last weekend's initial scrimmage that was closed to media and fans, Potts came out ahead, even according to Sheffield, who gave his own performance a harsh assessment.

"If you take this scrimmage and look at it from an outsider looking in, there's no way you can say I did better than Potts," Sheffield said following the scrimmage. "Of course I hurt my chances and I'm just going to have to work hard and make it up this next week and make it up when the next scrimmage rolls around."

Later, Tuberville said Sheffield's self-assessment was an accurate one.

"Sheffield pretty much said what everybody saw out here as players and coaches: He didn't have a very good day and Taylor did. That happens," Tuberville told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "That's the reason we're going to go through both scrimmages, to give a true insight of who the best guy is."

Both quarterback have started games for the Red Raiders and have had success, including in last year's exciting Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State. Both have thrown seven touchdowns in a single game. Both have been stung by injuries.

Now both come into Saturday's final scrimmage realizing, with what will be 15 days left until the Sept. 5 opener against SMU, that their fates -- at least to start the season -- will soon be decided.

For Tech's Sheffield, Potts, QB race is on

July, 27, 2010
IRVING, Texas -- Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville has two senior quarterbacks -- both of whom have started and won games -- and one very difficult decision to make during fall camp.

Steven Sheffield and Taylor Potts are both capable signal callers, but only one will start. Tuberville reiterated Tuesday that he will not deal with rotating quarterbacks. One will start. The other will sit.

The competition officially started Tuesday at the Westin DFW during Day 2 of the Big 12 Media Days. Coaches typically bring three players with them to meet the media. Tuberville brought three, and two were his quarterbacks.

"I wanted to see how they handled themselves in front of [the media] and the TV cameras," Tuberville said. "So this is just part of their growing process, coming here today. And, at the end of the day, we'll have a vote and we'll let you [the media] pick out the starter. That will make it a little easier on me."

The last part was a joke (Tuberville had several good ones).

"What we'll do is we'll go into two-a-days and I want to get at least two scrimmages with both," Tuberville said. "It's going to be tough to make a decision, but one will stand out. We look at everything from how they handle the pre-game all the way to how they handle the meeting at the end of the scrimmage."

A starter will likely be named a couple weeks before the Sept. 5 opener at home against SMU.

O'Brien list loaded with top-notch Texas QBs

July, 14, 2010
Two Metroplex quarterbacks, five Big 12 passers and another signal-caller in the state of Texas were selected to the 30-man Davey O'Brien Award watch list that was released Wednesday. The award is given to college football's top quarterback.

SMU sophomore Kyle Padron heads into a highly anticipated sophomore season after leading the Mustangs to its first bowl game in a quarter-century. He threw for 460 yards and two touchdowns in the 45-10 victory over Nevada to run away with the MVP trophy.

To the west, TCU senior Andy Dalton is finally on the national radar as a top-notch quarterback. He heads into his final season attempting to guide the Horned Frogs to a second consecutive BCS bowl berth.

The five Big 12 quarterbacks on the list are: Robert Griffin (Baylor), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M), Blaine Gabbert (Missouri) and Landry Jones (Oklahoma).

Houston quarterback Case Keenum, who opted to return to school rather than enter the NFL draft, is also a nominee.

The list will be narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Oct. 25 and pared to three finalists on Nov. 22. Texas' Colt McCoy won the 2009 honor.

Texas Tech's Potts needs surgery on hand

April, 5, 2010
It's been a rough spring for Texas Tech quarterbacks.

Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield, who are competing for the starting job, are both done for the spring.

Potts suffered a deep cut in the webbing between his right index and middle finger when he hit a teammate's helmet last week. And Sheffield had surgery on his foot last week after he re-injured it during practice.

Now comes word that Potts will also need surgery.

Not exactly the kind of spring coach new Tommy Tuberville was hoping for, but it's better than getting hit with injuries during the fall.

Tuberville addresses Tech QB situation

February, 24, 2010
In his live chat with ESPN Dallas on Wednesday, Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville said he'd like to have an idea on who his starting quarterback is -- either Taylor Potts or Steven Sheffield -- during spring practice.

"I'd like to know something by at least 3/4 of the way through spring practice," Tuberville said. "Maybe not name the starter, but let one of the guys know that he's leading and other guys that he's second and create a little competition."