By John Helsley
Texas Tech has quarterback issues.
Like, who will start?
And who’s available?
And who’s best?
While much of the talk this week will center around OSU’s ability to slow the Red Raiders — something the Cowboys have long struggled to accomplish, as our man Brandon Chatmon addressed this morning in The Oklahoman — the difficulty of the job could be tied to who stands behind center on Saturday.
Could be Taylor Potts, the early season starter.
Could be Seth Doege, the freshman who replaced Potts a few weeks back.
Could be Steven Sheffield, the surprising former walk-on who has played the best, yet is trying to return from Oct. 18 foot surgery.
And it could be Saturday at 7 p.m. before we know which of the three it will be.
Here’s what Leach said Monday, when it was revealed Sheffield would give it a go this week at practice:
“We’ll see how it comes. It always is good to have more options. The more the merrier.”
Cowboys coaches say they’re preparing for anybody and everybody. And that it doesn’t matter in Tech’s system.
But for a change, it does matter. Check out the numbers.
Potts 67.2 completion percentage, 2,221 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs
Sheffield 74.5 percentage, 1,014 yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs
Doege 62.3 percentage, 369 yards, 2 TDS, 0 INTs
More to consider, Tech’s record when each starts:
Potts 3-3 (W – North Dakota, Rice, New Mexico; L – Texas, Houston, A&M)
Sheffield 2-0 (Kansas State, Nebraska)
Doege 1-0 (Potts actually relieved and sparked the win over Kansas)
Sheffield seems to bring something special to the Raiders, including a toughness that teammates can feed from. And all indications are that he gives them the best chance to win.
But will his foot allow him to return so soon after surgery?
“I know Sheffield,” Tech wide receiver Alex Torres told reporters Monday, “his leg is still tentative. I don’t know exactly the whole injury situation and what’s the deal with that, but right now I’m not too sure what (the QB spot is) going to look like.”
Most likely, we can rule out Doege. The Pickens Palace is no place for a freshman who has been inconsistent and had to be replaced in his only career start.
Assuming that, it comes down to Sheffield’s tolerance for pain, as he’d likely be Leach’s Option A, considering Potts’ so-far shaky season, which includes an ugly scene in which he was booed off the field — at home — against A&M.
Stay tuned, although Leach isn’t likely to leak news. This is a major development in a game that could all but lock in the Cowboys for no less than the Cotton Bowl.