New Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville has some fans ready to jump ship already. The Red Raiders haven't even played their first game yet.
Tuberville named senior Taylor Potts quarterback over majority fan favorite Steven Sheffield. Sheffield, who started the season as a back-up last year, on multiple occasions sparked the Raiders offense. The former walk-on was 4-1 in games that would not be considered mop up duty. In the process, he showed Texas Tech fans that he might be better suited for their pass happy style of offense.
2009 CMP ATT YDS TD INT SACKS RAT
Potts 309 470 3440 22 13 15 137.14
Sheffield 101 136 1219 14 4 8 177.64
But, as with any new coach, players slates are wiped clean. The coaching staff wanted to have a clear cut leader after spring practices, but both seniors found themselves banged up during most of the spring and saw limited work. So the two found themselves in a quarterback competition all fall.
According to Tuberville, Potts won and he is not looking to defend his decision to fans that disagree.
"(They'll) get over it," the head coach said to a group of reporters on Monday. "We've got two good quarterbacks and a guy that had a very good spring. I don't mind playing any of them. We've just got to get some consistency.
"The competition during camp between Taylor and Steven has been outstanding but at the end of the day we can only have one starter."
Potts has always been considered the more pro-ready quarterback, showing a strong arm with accuracy down field. He has the size and experience advantage over Sheffield. But, Sheffield showed his ability to scramble and move out of the pocket last year. Something that Potts struggled with at times.
If Potts find himself lying on his back in the early part of the season with only two returning offensive linemen, fans will once again start to chatter for Sheffield.
"Taylor has done a tremendous job and we feel like he has gotten better each and every day. There is no doubt that Steven has also improved during camp and will still be fighting to take over that starting job every day at practice," said Tuberville. 'That kind of competition will only make us stronger as the season goes along."
As with any major coaching decision, the message boards were hot on Monday as fans wanted to voice their opinions on Tuberville's choice. Most were against it. Scout.com's RaiderPower saw an increase in traffic while the story was hot.
Managing Editor Travis Cram watched the battle closely during the fall and feels the best man for the job won out.
"He was obviously the better quarterback overall throughout the selection process and has shown growth in the last few months since injuring that throwing hand back in April," said Cram. "Taylor will be able to show how tough he is mentally because of what happened last season and there is probably a small thought in the back of his mind knowing the coaches could switch to Sheffield.
"It wasn't like that last season. Nobody outside of this team really knew much about Sheffield and what he could do. So I think we will see a different, more poised, and better leader version of Potts when Tech kicks off against SMU."
SMU and Tech will kickoff on Sunday September 5th in a nationally televised ESPN game. Tuberville has to be excited to make his Tech debut on an afternoon that features very few college games, but can't be excited about the opponent.
Behind the efforts of third year head coach June Jones, SMU is expected to contend for a Conference USA title in 2010. They are fresh off their first bowl game in over 25 years and have seven returners on both sides of the ball.