Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
DALLAS -- Texas Tech’s quarterback conundrum is not your typical position battle.
The Red Raiders know they can win with both Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb. In an offense that returns its top backs, four starting linemen and nearly every receiver, either QB is capable of leading and thriving.
So what is coach Kliff Kingsbury going to do? He heard lots of questions about that tough call on Monday at Big 12 media days. He doesn’t have the answer, but he does have a timetable.
“I'm planning on naming a starter fairly early in camp and trying to develop that chemistry with the first team and second team,” Kingsbury said. “Now, if somebody falters early on, we do feel that we have two guys that can win games. So that's a luxury we haven't had.”
Kingsbury left things on uncertain terms exiting spring ball, in part because Webb got so few live reps in spring practice while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The junior has 14 career starts under his belt and has shown flashes in his first two years.
But so has Mahomes, known best for his 598-yard passing day (fourth-best in school history) in a near upset of Baylor on Nov. 29, 2014. Going double duty with Tech baseball this spring didn’t prove to be problematic, either. But it’s still going to take a hot start to fall practice for the sophomore to lock the job up.
The decision is entirely in the hands of the head coach. One aspect of the battle that makes his job easier: Kingsbury’s confidence that, no matter the outcome, the choice won’t divide the locker room.
“I think if you took a poll and asked our players who should be the starter, you would get 50-50,” he said. “They’ve had success on the field with both guys. It’s a unique spot to be in. There aren’t any people taking sides or anything like that.”
That harmony speaks to Texas Tech players’ trust in their coach.
“We believe in him and we believe in the system. You have to. In order to be great, you have to believe in it,” Texas Tech center Jared Kaster said. “And we know he’s going to do a great job with whatever quarterback he picks. Because they both can do it. We’ve seen both of them win football games.”
No matter what, Kingsbury says he’s not willing to roll with a two-quarterback system. He’s never done that and won’t start now. As he put it, he knows the feeling of looking over your shoulder after a bad throw or interception, wondering if the backup is coming. After Kingsbury makes the call in August, there can’t be second-guessing.
“We’ll go with one guy, knowing that we have a very good backup,” Kingsbury said, “whoever that may be.”