Tech's Manziel? Coming into tonight's scrimmage I thought Kliff Kinsbury was blowing smoke by appointing Davis Webb co-starter along with Michael Brewer. Now I'm not so sure. And my newfound uncertainty has nothing to do with the play of Brewer, who was occasionally extraordinary in the scrimmage.
No, it is what Webb brings to the table that is beginning to sow doubt in my mind. Put briefly, Webb has a package of traits and skills that has never before been seen in a Red Raider quarterback.
First, Webb has an extremely live arm. An NFL arm. He's the latest in a long line of lanky Tech quarterbacks (his head coach was one of the first), but although Webb is built like an arrow, he's got a rocket of an arm.
Second, Webb has great height. At six-foot-four, he's a quarterback who has no trouble seeing downfield.
Third, Webb is quick and decisive. There is little wasted motion with him. He is extremely economical with every move.
Fourth, he's got a bullet-fast release. When Webb uncorks the pigskin, it's out of his hand and to the target in nothing flat.
Fifth, Webb is surprisingly mobile. We all know that Michael Brewer can get outside of the pocket and make things happen, but it really looks like Webb also has real athleticism and speed.
And fifth, Webb is a great student of the game. Following the scrimmage in Midland, Sonny Cumbie couldn't say enough about Webb's film study habits and his ability to learn the game quickly. Cumbie used the word "special" a time or two.
Now football coaches love experience and seniority, particularly at the quarterback position. And if Kliff Kingsbury holds true to form in this respect, the job is Brewer's regardless of what Webb does between now and SMU. But Kingsbury strikes me as an unconventional coach. He's certainly young enough not to be locked into the rigid conventions of football coaching.
And then there's Kingsbury's recent history. He went to a certain freshman quarterback by the name of Johnny Manziel while coordinating the offense at Texas A&M. The results of going with that freshman QB need no further elaboration. Put it all together—Kingsbury's youthfulness, his recent success with a freshman quarterback, and Davis Webb's obvious talent—and it's not out of the question Kingsbury may attempt to make lightning strike twice in a bottle. Kingsbury just may be serious about Davis Webb.
Hope at Linebacker: The linebacking corps was an acknowledged weakness of the Red Raider football team last season. There just wasn't much positive you could say about this group. But signs are emerging that linebacker may be a weakness no more.
Three signs, specifically. And they are Micah Awe, Sam Eguavoen and Chris Payne. Awe and Eguavoen both play the middle in the 4-3 alignment, but they may be too good to both remain at that spot. Eguavoen had his second strong scrimmage. He is progressing rapidly in his knowledge of the game, and as a result, is playing much faster than before. No longer is he hesitant, and no longer does he take poor angles. Eguavoen is playing the game the way a middle linebacker should.
Awe had a big scrimmage tonight. And he played huge. Awe is not much more than 210 pounds but plays the game like a 240-pounder. It's safe to say that he's the most explosive hitter on the defense. Awe reminds one of those fast, physical, undersized linebackers that Oklahoma always puts on the field.
Chris Payne is another small fry. And his first season at Tech, after transferring from junior college, was completely forgettable. But in tonight's scrimmage he was a disruptor. If this performance wasn't just a flash in the pan, Payne may yet accomplish some things in his D1 career.