Although Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury wouldn't tip his hand during the week as to which quarterback would be starting against SMU on Friday, he did have an interesting take on the situation.
During Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference, Kingsbury said it didn't matter if his starting quarterback was a freshman, he would be held to the highest standard possible in terms of knowing and running the offense.
As it turned out, freshman walk-on Baker Mayfield got the start for the Red Raiders on Friday. And he ended up passing the ball 60 times in his first college game.
It's not like Kingsbury didn't say this was coming. Even if he didn't really say, well, much of anything.
Mayfield showed tremendous poise and decision-making for someone who only had a few weeks of preseason camp to practice. The Lake Travis High School product threw for an impressive 413 yards and four scores to zero interceptions against the Mustangs. It took a while for the Red Raiders to find the end zone, but they were rolling by the fourth quarter.
And, according to ESPN's Jake Trotter, Mayfield demonstrated some maturity beyond his years during the game.
Tech players said Mayfield changed the play several times tonight— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) August 31, 2013
To put it another way, it looked like Mayfield had done this quarterback thing before. Though he put up some gaudy numbers at Lake Travis and won a lot of games, Mayfield was generally overlooked in his recruiting process.
Now, he has a better grip on the starting job.
That should instill some confidence that this offense can score with anyone in the Big 12. The running game was practically nonexistent—TTU averaged less than two yards a carry as a team with Mayfield finishing as the leading rusher—so if that area can improve, this offense can be even more dangerous.
Judging by how many times Texas Tech was able to get to SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert tonight, this defense looks like it can be a factor as well. Who knows, if things come together, Texas Tech can make some noise in Kingsbury's first season.