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Mayfield solidifies position as Tech starting QB with another stellar night

Walk-on freshman has seven touchdowns, no interceptions in two games

Posted: September 7, 2013 - 10:58pm  |  Updated: September 8, 2013 - 2:23am
Texas Tech's Baker Mayfield leaps between Stephen F. Austin's Jordan Burton and Avery Henderson.  Stephen Spillman/A-J Media
Stephen Spillman/A-J Media
Texas Tech's Baker Mayfield leaps between Stephen F. Austin's Jordan Burton and Avery Henderson.
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Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury answered one question Saturday regarding his quarterback situation: Davis Webb won’t be redshirting.

An even bigger question hangs in the air: If and when Michael Brewer returns, is Baker Mayfield even in position to be dislodged as the starter?

The walk-on freshman has done about as much as he can in six quarters against weaker opponents to seize the job. Mayfield led the Red Raiders to a 45-7 halftime lead against Stephen F. Austin, throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns before he got the rest of the night off in a 61-13 rout at Jones AT&T Stadium.

"We're still week to week on that," Kingsbury said when asked if Mayfield starts regardless who's available. "Anything can happen. So he's just got to continue to get better and continue to improve."

However, Kingsbury says he's comfortable and confident with Mayfield behind center going into the Big 12 opener Thursday against TCU.

"Yeah, very. Very," Kingsbury said. "I think he's prepared himself well and showed a lot of improvement from week one to week two. And if he continues to protect the football, then we'll be in good shape."

Just as he did in last week's 41-23 victory at SMU, Mayfield showed against SFA he has the arm to make all the necessary throws in Kingsbury’s offense, and the judgment and verve to tuck it and run judiciously.

The former Lake Travis star threw a couple of fly-pattern passes on a line to flanker Bradley Marquez, a 34-yarder that set up a touchdown and one for 60 yards that was a touchdown. Tight end Jace Amaro took another bullet, a pass of about 30 yards over the middle, and turned it into a 47-yard gain.

"He's great," Amaro said. "He controls the huddle really well. He makes plays, and he throws as hard as anyone I've ever seen. ... Sometimes he needs maybe a little bit more touch, but I'd rather have it coming fast to me just because it gets us open and gets to us quick. We can make plays right when we catch the ball a little faster than (with) some of the other quarterbacks here."

Mayfield’s not the fastest player on the team, but he’s fast enough to move the chains and aggravate defensive coordinators by running out of the pocket. In the first quarter, with Tech facing third-and-8 from its own 25-yard line, Mayfield saw a lane to his right and dashed 12 yards for the first down.

In the second quarter, with Tech backed up to its 4 and facing third-and-10, Mayfield spotted room to his left and motored 11 yards, reaching for and easily getting the first down. He finished with nine carries for 66 yards.

"Sometimes he has guys open and you'd like him just to throw it, and then he takes off with it," Kingsbury said. "That's just growing pains. I thought it was good that he kept the drives going. So whether with his arm or his feet, if he gets it, that's all that matters."

How well his game will play up remains to be seen. Against SMU and SFA, Mayfield is 64 of 90 for 780 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

But TCU has far better defensive talent than either of the first two opponents. The Horned Frogs will be better equipped to make the Red Raiders pay if Mayfield has some of the ball-security lapses that cropped up in the opener at SMU.

Mayfield was much better in that aspect Saturday. 

"Yeah, just protecting the football," Kingsbury said. "I thought he did a better job not forcing throws. ... The ball wasn't bouncing around everywhere and (he was) not trying to force into tight windows."

About the only thing that seems certain is Mayfield will get the call again against TCU. Brewer, the quarterback who was supposed to start after 2012 senior Seth Doege departed, hasn’t practiced in about a month because of a back injury. Brewer reportedly will see a back specialist this week to see if he can return to practice.

In the meantime, a little more of the pecking order fell into place Saturday. With the Red Raiders far ahead at halftime, Kingsbury gave the second-half snaps to Webb. The second-semester freshman from Prosper threw his first career touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Reginald Davis.

Webb finished 11 of 17 for 127 yards and a touchdown but also threw two interceptions.

Asked if coaches had considered redshirting Webb based on Mayfield's success, Kingsbury said, "No. No."



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Mayfield was impressive.



He's definitely been impressive in the first two games. All things considered I don't think we could ask anything more of him up to this point. The big test is in 4 days. If he can keep his composure against the TCU defense and pull off the win I will be doing backflips in front of my TV!!!


Call we call him ...

Baker Football yet?


Not yet...

maybe after Thursday.

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