But occasionally a player manages to surprise not with his optimism, but with the intensity of that optimism. Such a player is Texas Tech’s junior quarterback Davis Webb. To hear him speak of the upcoming season you’d never guess the Red Raiders are coming off a 4-8 campaign in which they squeaked by Central Arkansas and UTEP, and gave up 82 points to TCU.
You’d never guess that Webb threw 13 interceptions and had a passing efficiency rating that would have placed him No. 48 in the nation had he passed enough to qualify.
The Red Raiders are coming off their worst season since 1981, and Webb himself had a forgettable year, but he is expecting truly great things in 2015. Either that or he should be in line for an Oscar.
And the optimism begins with Webb himself. Forget that he is not even guaranteed a starting position—indeed, most observers think he is on the outside looking in—Webb expects to rebound from his mediocre season in a big way.
“I feel like I’ve always had the physical tools; I feel like I throw better than anybody else in the country,” Webb offers. “But the one thing I really, really want to work on is my mental side of the game. I want to be mentally strong. I want to keep a small circle. I want to keep people around me that makes me mentally strong and basically worry about things that really matter.”
He continues, “You know, bad years happen. Guys like Colt McCoy, Graham Harrell, Kliff Kingsbury, they all had just so-so sophomore years just like I did. And I feel like they continually got better, they worked on the process, they’re all hard workers and it worked out for those guys. So why shouldn’t I copy those guys ‘cause it worked for them? So just stuff like that. Understanding that it’s a process, just living in the moment and winning every battle, and I feel like I have a chance to do that this year.”
Webb is not chary of spreading the optimism around either. As confident as he is in his own prospects, he is equally bullish on several members of his receiving corps.
“I know this summer Jakeem [Grant] has had a great workout, has been very motivated and has been a team leader. He’s the oldest guy in the receiver group, him and Brad Pearson. Those two guys have really done a good job, being leaders in that group. And I know Jakeem’s gonna have a breakout year just like Dylan Cantrell will. Those guys have all worked hard, and Ian Sadler. So those four or five guys are gonna have a good year this year. “
And as for that aforementioned evil number 82—it might as well be 666 in Tech’s book—Webb attaches significance to it, but also sees it was dirty water under the bridge. By his lights, we sure won’t see its like again in the upcoming season.
“I think about it  every morning when I get up!” Webb affirms heatedly. “You always remember it. I remember every loss and I remember every win. But at the same time we just weren’t very good that day and they were good. They were 4-8 two years ago and now they’re the best team in the Big 12. We understood that it was a bad game just like we blew a 21-point lead with five minutes to play against West Virginia. So we’ve had a lot of those games and I think we’ve learned from it, and I feel like we’ve gained enough confidence where we know we’re not gonna let it happen again. And I feel like this team has the chance to leave a legacy that’s very good. I feel like that 82 is gonna go away very fast.”