Kingsbury Has Decision to Make at Quarterback

Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb threw four interceptions in Saturday's 45-13 loss at Kansas State to give him 10 on the season. The Red Raiders have lost three straight to dip to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big 12.

Before this football season began, nobody really imagined Davis Webb’s status as the team’s starting quarterback would be on the chopping block going into the West Virginia game, but then few people foresaw a season effectively destroyed before the midway point. Nevertheless, both of these unpleasant facts are the reality after Kansas State demolished the Red Raiders 45-13 in Manhattan.

It was Tech’s most lopsided loss since falling to Oklahoma State 59-21 on Nov. 17, 2012 in Stillwater. And Davis Webb’s four interceptions were the most thrown by a Tech quarterback since Graham Harrell tossed four picks in a 31-26 loss to Colorado on Oct. 27, 2007 in Lubbock.

Webb has now thrown 10 interceptions in less than five full games of action. And that is to say nothing of the numerous errant throws that miss wide open receivers and those that fail to hit receivers in stride or lead them directly into hard hits.

Not that Webb is entirely to blame. Dropped passes have been an on-again, off-again plague thus far, with Jakeem Grant an especially frequent offender, and D.J. Polite-Bray failing to corral an easy touchdown pass against Kansas State.

Kingsbury’s play calling did Webb no favors against the Wildcats either. The lack of balance, the complete abandonment of Tech’s solid running game was nothing short of astonishing.

At a little beyond the midway point of the second quarter, Deandre Washington had seven carries for 27 yards. Not stellar stuff perhaps, but respectable proficiency against one of the best run defenses in the nation. Washington didn’t carry the football again. Indeed, in the second half, Kingsbury called two designed runs, both of which came on Tech’s final drive of the contest. For the game, the Red Raiders ran the ball 14 times and passed it 50. That comes out to running the football 22 percent of the time.

Part of the explanation for not running more was the fact that the Red Raiders were trailing and needed to score fairly quickly. But tossing in the token run would have helped the passing game by forcing K-State’s back seven to at least think about the run. As it was, all they had to concentrate on was the passing game, and no one-dimensional offense will succeed against a well schooled defense such as Kansas State’s.

But all of that is largely beside the point. The fact is that Kingsbury’s football team has a bona fide quarterback problem. It’s not even a debatable issue.

What is to be done?

In short, Kingsbury must decide whether sticking with Webb and enduring a horrendous 2014 season as a consequence is better for Tech’s program than benching Webb—doing who knows what damage to his psyche in the process—and going with true freshman Pat Mahomes who actually looked fairly sharp in mop-up duty against KSU.

Going into this season Kingsbury heaped copious praise on Webb. Has Kingsbury finally seen enough to convince himself that he was wrong? Is he so certain he was wrong that he is willing to cast Webb aside as Tech’s quarterback of the future?

I do not believe Webb will be benched for the West Virginia game. But I do believe the hook will come quickly if Webb throws interceptions and misses open receivers. And if Kingsbury yanks Webb, Patrick Mahomes will likely be Tech’s quarterback for the remainder of the season. Time is running out on Davis Webb.

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