As Texas Tech prepares for a trip to the Little Apple, Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury declined to give an update on quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who injured his shoulder during the 55-19 win against Kansas Sept. 29. Mahomes is considered day to day, according to reports.
But Kingsbury indicated he’s very comfortable with Nic Shimonek taking the reins of the Tech Air Raid offense when the team plays at Kansas State at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 on ESPNU.
He said Shimonek graded out well for his performance against the Jayhawks, noting the quarterback made solid reads and delivered the ball accurately. While Mahomes may have more foot speed, Shimonek has shown an ability to escape, Kingsbury said.
“He made a nice play rolling to his right, but that’s not really his game,” the coach said. “He’s really good at recognizing stuff and getting the ball out of his hand quick. He does a good job of reading defenses, good pre-snap recognition. He throws a very accurate pass. He gets a lot of the reps every week of our package and what we’re doing, so we won’t hold anything back.”
Somebody else who noted Shimonek’s performance was Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who said the quarterback “played extremely well” and “threw the ball with great confidence.”
Shimonek completed 15 of 21 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Jayhawks.
The Tech-KSU contest features the nation’s top offense in TTU (59.5 points, 664.3 yards of total offense and 547.8 passing yards per game) against the Big 12’s leader in scoring defense and pass defense. KSU allows 154.5 yards passing per game.
Kingsbury said the Wildcats (2-2, 0-1) “force you into making mistakes. They don’t make mistakes, they force you into earning every yard, every point. So we have to maximize our possessions and not turn the ball over.”
By the same token, he said, the Tech defense can’t allow KSU quarterback Jesse Ertz to get into a comfortable rhythm. Ertz has thrown for 584 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions and has rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns this season.
The Tech defense gave up 296 yards of total offense to Kansas, but only 46 rushing yards. Kingsbury noted the defense played very well when Mahomes left in the game in the third quarter.
“The defense as an overall unit was much improved,” Kingsbury said. “We had some adversity in the third quarter, but they stood up, made some stands, kept us in the ball game and kept getting us the ball back, which was good to see.”
He is looking for a tougher, more physical unit that’s better at playing assignment football, he said.