After four years backing up Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons and Sonny Cumbie, Cody Hodges’ chance to engineer the Texas Tech scoring juggernaut finally came in 2005.
But first, Hodges had to hold off freshman Graham Harrell. "It wasn’t easy beating him out, even though I was a fifth-year senior and he was a freshman,” Hodges said. "The great thing about Graham when he came to Tech was that he was talented and mentally sharp. "But the component that puts him over the top is confidence.” Four years later, Harrell, the fifth Tech quarterback to start under coach Mike Leach, has the Red Raiders undefeated and ranked second in the nation. He has thrown for 4,077 yards and 36 touchdowns to just five interceptions and could all but lock up the Heisman Trophy and Big 12 South title with a win over Oklahoma this weekend. Kingsbury put Tech on the map. Symons broke records. Cumbie was a Holiday Bowl MVP. And Hodges beat Oklahoma. But Harrell is the culmination of those past achievements. "Overall, he’s the best quarterback Leach has had,” said Hodges, who at one time was teammates with all four of the other Tech quarterbacks. "That’s nothing against the other guys, or myself. "But he’s winning, and that’s how you measure a quarterback.” Of the five, Harrell doesn’t possess the strongest arm or quickest feet. But his combination of skill, experience and confidence is the reason why Tech is having such a special season.
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Texas Tech at Oklahoma
→When: 7 p.m. Saturday →Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman →TV: ABC (Cox 8) →Radio: KOKC-AM 1520; KRXO-FM 107.7 Quoteboard
Here’s what the four Red Raider quarterbacks who started under Mike Leach had to say about Graham Harrell: