Like plenty of his college peers, Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege spent part of his Sunday evening taking in a movie at a local theater, a brief reprieve from the pressure that surrounds his position as a major conference quarterback.
But Doege was probably more eager than most classmates to end the weekend and begin this week’s work. After all, he said, the quickest way to put a forgettable performance behind him is to start working on the next one.
“It motivates me,” Doege said of an outing against Oklahoma in which he completed 22 of 36 passes for 203 yards with three interceptions and no touchdowns. “I don’t really care what people say or their opinions about me. My teammates trust me, and I trust in myself.
“So I’m just motivated to get back out there. I’m motivated for the next practice to come so I can make that throw that I missed, or I can see that read that I missed or whatever it may be, something where I can just go out there and execute what I didn’t do on Saturday and understand that I can do it.”
Doege isn’t hiding from the fact that he hasn’t been at his best through two weeks of Big 12 play. He’s already thrown five interceptions (half of his entire 2011 total), two of which have been returned for touchdowns. When asked to evaluate his play, Doege said he’s played only one good half in each of the last two games.
But the second-year starter said he isn’t suffering from a lack of confidence, and teammates have left little doubt they have plenty of it in their signal-caller. Running back SaDale Foster voiced his support following the Oklahoma game, and senior center Deveric Gallington did the same on Twitter.
“I have all the faith in the world in MY quarterback (Seth Doege),” Gallington tweeted. “Hell of a player and a great leader for us!”
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said he, too, has seen strong leadership out of Doege in the days following the loss, adding the quarterback owned up to his mistakes during a senior meeting Sunday.
“Quarterbacks get a lot of praise and a lot of criticism,” Tuberville said. “He works awfully hard at it. It’s not one of those deals where he went out and wasn’t prepared to play or ready to go. He understands what he has to work on. He’s the first guy that will go out early and work on the things he did wrong the week before.”
Another person who doesn’t question Doege’s resolve is West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, the former Tech assistant/offensive coordinator, who will bring his No. 5 Mountaineers to Lubbock for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday.
Holgorsen, who coached with the Red Raiders under Mike Leach from 2000 to 2007, left the school for a job at Houston before Doege arrived, but the two built a relationship while Doege was in high school.
Holgorsen was impressed with the way Doege stuck with football despite suffering two major knee injuries that cost him two seasons at Frenship.
“You talk about a determined kid that never gave up,” Holgorsen said. “That’s how he plays the game, too. He just never gives up. Obviously, he hung on there and stayed the course at Texas Tech, did a good job and got the opportunity to play. He’s made the most of it. I’m proud to see him doing that.”
Doege certainly wasn’t the sole reason for Tech’s offensive struggles on Saturday. Whether it was blocks being missed, routes being run the wrong way or balls being thrown off target, the Red Raiders didn’t make enough plays when they needed them, particularly in Oklahoma territory.
Still, Doege knows the rest of the team takes its cues from him.
“I think it’s my job,” he said. “My play wasn’t great in the second half, and they deserve better from their quarterback. It wasn’t the fact that mentally I was out of the game or anything. I just didn’t perform, and I think if I perform those guys will catch on and understand our mindset is to score.”
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