LUBBOCK, Texas – Davis Webb won't be competing for the starting job at Texas Tech this fall.
After Webb's standout performance and MVP award in the Red Raiders' 37-23 Holiday Bowl win over then-No. 16 Arizona State, coach Kliff Kingsbury already knows the sophomore will be leading the offense.
It doesn't hurt that the two quarterbacks Webb battled for the starting spot last season have transferred. But Kingsbury said what Webb went through last season seasoned him in ways that will benefit him going forward.
It will be a different type of pressure this season. Instead of wondering if he'll get the nod to start, Webb knows the team's success rests on his shoulders.
"That's where I want it to be because I feel like it's either do or die with me, and that's what I want," he said. "I feel so much more confident this year than I did last year."
Texas Tech plays its spring game Saturday in Lubbock, two weeks after Webb had four touchdowns in a scrimmage in Midland.
Webb's confidence in large measure grew out of his four-touchdown performance against the Sun Devils. He threw for 403 yards and tied a Holiday Bowl record with four touchdown passes. He had no interceptions after throwing nine during the season.
Webb, who'll be a sophomore in the fall, didn't start until the sixth game, watching as walk-on freshman Baker Mayfield led the Red Raiders to five straight wins. Webb started the next five, winning two and dropping the next three. Mayfield started and lost the next two and the Red Raiders finished 7-5 in the regular season.
"It'll never be harder for him mentally than it was last year with that kind of yo-yo of starting, not starting," Kingsbury said. "That was as tough as it will ever be for him. It's downhill from here for him as far as mentally."
Kingsbury wants better poise from Webb, who threw for 20 touchdowns and 2,718 yards last season. He had a few plays last season where he tried to do too much, instead of throwing the ball away or protecting it better.
"He's done a much better job this spring of doing that," Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury says Webb's got the makings of a top-notch quarterback who could play in the NFL.
"He wants to be great," said Kingsbury, a former quarterback for the Red Raiders. "He wants to be the best that's ever played here. So I just remind him of that."
Webb is the only Red Raiders quarterback on scholarship now. He went through spring workouts alongside walk-on quarterbacks Tanner Tausch and Mike Richardson. Webb has gained weight since last season, which should help his durability. He wants to be close to 220 pounds by August workouts, he said.
Kingsbury thinks incoming freshman Pat Mahomes will likely be Webb's backup. The son of a former pro baseball player, Mahomes threw for 4,619 yards with 50 touchdowns his senior year at Whitehouse in East Texas. He also ran for 15 touchdowns. In December, he was named the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors football player of the year.
Before the Holiday Bowl and on the same day he was named the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, Mayfield told Kingsbury he was leaving the program. He transferred to Oklahoma, where he'll have to sit out a year. Michael Brewer, the presumptive starter before last season began and before he re-injured his back, transferred to Virginia Tech.