For Texas Tech, Mahomes is latest in line of great quarterbacks

Cody Hodges. B.J. Symons. Graham Harrell. Michael Brewer. Baker Mayfield. Davis Webb. Those guys all wore the Texas Tech Red Raider uniform. All had the chance to operate the high-powered offense.

Now it’s Patrick Mahomes’ turn. The second-year starter is looking to build on what he accomplished last season when he led the nation with 393 yards of total offense per game and led the Big 12 Conference in passing yards, passing yards per game, points responsible for, passing touchdowns, completions per game and total offense per game.

On the first day of Big 12 Media Days July 17, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he hoped the offensive scheme continues to attract great quarterbacks, but he credited another group for the success of the Red Raiders’ signal callers.

“I think there is better quarterback development throughout the state,” he said. “I think our Texas high school coaches do a great job with their programs developing those quarterbacks through 7-on-7, which is year around now. Even in middle school, those kids are getting great work through their high school programs. I think it’s a testament to those guys.”

The system even attracted Kingsbury, who played for the Red Raiders in the late 1990s.

“There’s a great history of throwing the football and putting up great numbers and leading your team at that position at Texas Tech,” he said. “So we’ve been fortunate to have some really good ones come through there and hopefully that continues.”

Mahomes, who is the son of former Major League Baseball pitcher Pat Mahomes, gave up playing baseball this year to concentrate wholeheartedly on the gridiron. Kingsbury said that was huge for the 2016 football season.

“When you’re in the third year of the system, it goes a long way, and he has complete control out there,” he said. “Now you watch the way he operates, the way he’s checking the line, what he’s seeing — he’s made huge strides. I think the first two years, he did it on athleticism and natural talent, and I really saw him take great strides as being a great quarterback. If what I saw this spring translates to the field this fall, then he will have a very special year.”

Mahomes said his mindset was to compete in the weight room, and he made it a point to get to 230 pounds to help his durability.

Both said one important part of Mahomes’ spring was for him not to force a big play when it’s not there. Kingsbury said he told the quarterback that it’s OK to take the ordinary play.

“He told me to lead and do what it takes to get the team to where you want it to go,” the quarterback said.

With Davis Webb transferring to California, Texas Tech is looking for a backup to Mahomes. Kingsbury said that might be freshman Jett Duffey, a true freshman, but he cautioned against counting out transfer Nic Schimonek.

“He’s got a chance,” he said. “Jett Duffey had a really good spring for us, was a tremendous player in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.. He played in a similar offense, so he knows what we’re trying to do. Nic Schimonek … earned a scholarship with us and has really come along, one of the hardest workers on the team. We’re going to give Jett every opportunity to get that job, but Nic really played well this spring.”

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