Coaching from Experience

On Friday against SMU Kliff Kingsbury will have the choice of which freshman quarterback to start and being a starting quarterback as a freshman is something Kingsbury himself has been through.

Ron Peters gets sandwiched on a big hit by linebacker De'Andre Lewis and cornerback Roderick Barbers, knocking him out of the game against No. 10 Texas on November 13,1999 in Austin.

 

With Peters sidelined temporarily with a concussion, Spike Dykes, in what would be his final season at the helm of the Red Raiders, decided to put a freshman quarterback into the game – Kliff Kingsbury.

 

Kingsbury would finish the game 5-for-19 for 87 yards and got sacked four times in the Red Raiders 58-7 loss.

 

The next week Kingsbury would get the start against Oklahoma and lead the Red Raiders to a 38-28 victory at Jones Stadium, which would be Dykes' last game.

 

On Friday Kingsbury, now as the head coach of the same Red Raiders that he started for over a decade ago, is going to be facing the same decision, but for him it will be which true freshman quarterback will he start?

 

Whichever one it is, Davis Webb or Baker Mayfield, Kingsbury said a lot goes through your mind as a freshman starting quarterback, but knows these guys are ready for the challenge.

 

"That's one of those situations that I don't think you can prepare for mentally," he said.  "I think the guys we're working with, fortunately enough, have had great high school coaches and played in big‑time high school games, so you hope that carries over to the college level.  From what I've seen in practices, I think it will."

 

In the spring Webb got the chance to play in the spring game, which was really the first chance to see what the freshman had to offer.

 

But with Mayfield all the evidence that there is to examine is highlights from his time at Lake Travis High School.

 

Neither Webb nor Mayfield have seen action on a college football field, except the practice field at Tech, and taking the field against SMU in Dallas on Friday would be a first for both of the possible starters.

 

Going into the first game week of the season, Kingsbury said he doesn't want the freshmen gunslingers to overthink the week or the game because it is still a game.

 

"Yeah, kind of the same thought process there is you don't want them to think too much," Kingsbury said. "It's still playing the game, whether the game they're playing last fall in high school, or in Mike's situation he had been here a little while, but you just attack it.  It's still football.  It's going to move around a little faster, but we try to get all these guys a bunch of reps and I think they'll be ready to go."

With a true freshman quarterback starting or coming into their first collegiate game on Friday there will be some mistakes.

 

Against an SMU defense that caused turnovers and scored on said turnovers in 2012, there will more than likely be some arrant throws that might be picked off.  

 

But the biggest key for Webb and Mayfield, if they do commit some errors or on the other end of the spectrum get off to a great start, Kingsbury said they couldn't let that affect them.

 

"Yeah, I think not to get too high or too low.  I think physically kids these days with the training they receive, seven on seven year round and the private quarterback training; physically they're ready when they get here," he said. "It's the mental aspect as far as the ups and downs, handling your composure, being poised, things of that nature. The offenses that both these kids come from are very similar to what we ran in high school, similar to what we had with Johnny last year.  They feel comfortable in it because that's what they played in through their high school careers."


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