But it is not the highlight-reel plays Mahomes mentions when asked what will make him a better quarterback in 2015.
“Last year I made a lot of freelance plays—had to—big plays, but in order to be a great quarterback and take your team to the next level you have to make the easy plays better,” Mahomes asserted. “That involves working on your footwork and just looking at film and being a better quarterback.”
Making the “routine play,” and doing one’s own job rather than trying to win games all by oneself were messages Mike Leach hammered home, and they clearly continue to resonate in the Tech football camp via the likes of Kliff Kingsbury and Mahomes.
You just have to know when it’s needed. That’s the big thing—just taking the small stuff and whenever the play does break down, making it happen and taking a big play out of it.
But by the same token, a focus on the quotidian does not mean that Kingsbury will attempt to rein Mahomes in. After all, it was improvisational ability that won former Kingsbury quarterback Johnny Manziel a Heisman trophy, and it is one of the things that sets Mahomes apart from more conventional quarterbacks. According to Mahomes, knowing just when to improvise is the key.
And it looks like Mahomes will have ample opportunity to make those plays, whether easy or big. Naturally, he will have the ball in his hands on virtually every offensive play, but in addition it looks like Kingsbury will make a conscious effort to take advantage of Mahomes’ ability to run with the football.
“I’m sure he’ll design some run plays for me,” said Mahomes. “I mean, our offensive line is so good that you want to give chances to run behind them, and I mean you have such great running backs in general, just throwing in a different mix of me running with the running back as an extra blocker will help out a lot, and we’ll run a few of those.”
Not that Mahomes will be paying much attention to his rushing yardage, mind you. Or even his passing numbers. The way he sees it, statistics are hardly the measure of a great quarterback; wins and championships are.
“Personally I don’t have any stats or anything that I’m setting goals for,” Mahomes states. “My job is to put the team in the best position to win every single game. To me being a great quarterback you don’t always have to put up the greatest stats, just as long as your team’s winning, you’re winning championships, then you’re considered a great quarterback.”
The 19-year-old signal caller is not only mobile and creative, he is also wise beyond his years.