LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury announced his starting quarterback early and has been impressed with the maturation and confidence of sophomore Davis Webb.
So much so that Webb has started overruling the second-year coach, whose team hosts Central Arkansas of the Football Championship Subdivision on Saturday night.
"Davis will wave me off on play calls now if he sees stuff," Kingsbury said. "He has a better grasp of the offense" than last year.
Webb earned the starting role after his MVP performance in the Red Raiders' Holiday Bowl win that followed five straight losses to close the regular season. Also, two quarterbacks who were battling with Webb last year have moved on — Baker Mayfield, the Big 12's offensive freshman of the year, went to Oklahoma and Michael Brewer to Virginia Tech.
"Just have fun and play my best, because I think my best is pretty good," Webb said of his goals for the opener.
Bears coach Steve Campbell makes his debut against Texas Tech. He left Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College following a 10-year stint that included sharing a national junior college title with Butler Community College in 2007. He's never had a losing season. The Red Raiders finished 8-5 last season, while the Bears went 7-5.
Central Arkansas' experience is led by three All-Southland Conference players: WR Dezmin Lewis, OL Cole Caruthers and DE Jonathan Woodard.
"Each possession is key whenever you're playing a high-powered offense like theirs," Campbell said. "We have to limit our mistakes and make them make some."
Here are some things to watch Saturday night:
TURNOVER TURNAROUND: Kingsbury wondered how good the Red Raiders could have been last season without all their turnovers. Webb and Mayfield combined for 18 interceptions and the team lost 15 fumbles. They also averaged 75.2 penalty yards per game. This year "we've stepped back a little bit and put the onus on the team," Kingsbury said. Campbell's well aware of the stats: "Turnovers will be huge," he said.
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