Michael Brewer is expected back in practice between now and Texas Tech’s next game on Oct. 5 at Kansas – as if the Texas Tech quarterback picture could get much murkier.
No. 25 Tech stayed undefeated with a 33-7 victory Saturday against Texas State, rolling up 552 yards with an offense that still might need more polish than a bye week can provide. True freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb accounted for 434 yards passing, but also three turnovers and several missed chances in the red zone.
“Davis came in and played OK. Baker played OK,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We’ve got to get a lot better at that position overall. I told them both they’re probably both going to play the rest of the year. We’ll figure it out.
“To win with two freshmen quarterbacks who made some good plays, made some bad, that’s what you get early on. We’ll continue to get better there.”
Kingsbury has indicated that Brewer would “resurface” before the Kansas game, though he’s also said he believed it would take him an extended period of time to be game ready once he returned to practice.
The sophomore has been out with a back injury since early August, but was expected to be the starter before he got hurt.
After the game, Kingsbury said Brewer “has come a long way, but I still don’t have a timetable exactly.”
Asked how difficult making a quarterback call might be, Kingsbury said, “I’m glad we have the bye week to think it over. As coaches, we’ll sit down and talk it over and we’ll see who gives us the best chance to win. Baker’s 4-0 as a starter, so we’ll see how it goes.”
After playing two strong games to start the season, Mayfield has ebbed in the last two games, starting with three interceptions against TCU. On Saturday, he came out after four series, having fumbled in the red zone and thrown an interception.
The fumble was Mayfield’s fourth this season, though Tech has retrieved them all.
“When he takes off like that, he’s got to protect it,” Kingsbury said. “We’ve just got to keep working on it. They’re trying to make plays, which you appreciate. But you’ve got to be smart, especially down there in the red zone.”
Mayfield, who returned late in the fourth quarter, finished 14 of 20 for 124 yards.
Webb was 19 of 43 for 310 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. He threw the first interception as he drifted out of the pocket and didn’t set his feet.
“I just think we’ve got to keep him more in the pocket when it is there,” Kingsbury said. “There’s a time to get out and run. He knows that. We’ll watch film and get better. With young guys, they’re excited, and that happens. It comes with the territory.”
As the Red Raiders prepare to resume conference play, they have more issues on offense. The run game has been a season-long struggle, and Tech had trouble Saturday in the red zone, forcing the Raiders to settle four times for Ryan Bustin field goals. Each of the four came after Tech had a first-and-10 inside the Texas State 20.
“We definitely left a lot,” wide receiver Bradley Marquez said. “We need to finish in the red zone, we pride ourselves on that and we can’t settle for field goals. Granted, Bustin did a great job, (tied) a school record. He’s definitely a good person to have in your corner to be able to come through and put it through the uprights, but as an offense we need to finish it out in the red zone.”
Tech finished with 118 rushing yards. After four games, focal-point running backs Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington have yet to reach 40 yards rushing in a single game. Washington had a team-leading 38 yards Saturday, and Williams’ highest rushing output was 36 yards on Stephen F. Austin.
Kingsbury absolved the backs of blame against the Bobcats.
“We had way too many times where we had numbers in the run game and we weren’t able to produce yards,” Kingsbury said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better, because those backs are good players and a lot of times there’s nowhere to go.”
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