Matt Wells says his Texas Tech quarterback room is “the best it’s ever been” in his three years with the Red Raiders during Big 12 Media Days on Thursday in Arlington.
The Red Raiders are coming off a 4-6 season and are 8-14 in the Big 12 under Wells, who took over before the 2019 season for Kliff Kingsbury. He acknowledged that in the Big 12, as the quarterback room goes, so goes your team.
That’s why he appears excited about what he has on the roster going into the fall.
“Top to bottom, that (quarterback) room is better than it’s ever been and in this league, you have to play well in that room to compete and win,” Well said.
While Wells has a returning starter in Henry Columbi, much of the attention in Lubbock this spring and summer has been on Oregon quarterback Tyler Shough, who transferred from the Ducks after last season.
Shough had a productive year for the Ducks last season, as he threw for 1,559 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Shough also ran for 66 carries in 2020 and finished the year with 271 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns.
He has given the players in the quarterback room quite the boost, and not just on the field.
“Tyler came to Tech, practiced in the spring and the things that he brings are hard to measure,” Wells said. “He comes in early, he stays late, he’s a football junkie, he’s a good leader and he fit in immediately.”
Shough will probably face off with Columbi for the starting job. Columbi threw for 1,065 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions, as he shared time with Alan Bowman, who eventually transferred.
“Columbi won a few games for us last year and he had a good spring,” Wells said. “I’m really proud of him and that’s going to be a battle.”
Add to that Donovan Smith and incoming freshman Behren Morton, and you have makings of a room that can make the Red Raiders productive at quarterback this season and beyond.
Texas Tech has not had a winning season since its 7-6 record in 2015, and have made just four bowl games in the last 10 years. The Red Raiders have finished no better than a tie for fifth place in the Big 12 (2015) since it went to a 10-team league.
Most of the offensive line returns from last season, and TCU transfer T.J. Storment was an All-Big 12 Second-Team selection at offensive line last year. Each of Texas Tech’s top three rushers are expected back, along with wide receiver Erik Ezukanma, who could produce All-Big 12 numbers for a second straight season.
Defensively, the Red Raiders expect back eight starters, including most of its front seven. Tech’s defense also has 10 Power 5 transfers that were taken in either last offseason or this offseason, led by former Arizona linebacker Colin Schooler, who was second in tackles for Tech a year ago. The secondary also features returning transfer Eric Monroe (formerly at LSU and played for Tech last year) and Duke transfer Marquis Waters. They’ll be counted on to help a unit that was ranked either eighth or ninth in the Big 12 in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and passing defense.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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