A position-by-position look at the Texas Tech Red Raiders heading into spring practice. "Classifications" are based on entering school next fall. "Probable Rolls" are merely guesses and welcome comments, thoughts and suggestions.
Probable Role: Starter
Personally, I think that Potts is the runaway leader heading into the spring. There's no telling what will happen during spring practice and Leach tends to pull strings of players if he thinks they aren't giving everything. Note to Potts: be ready to win this job.
Potts is a tall, strong-armed quarterback, something that we're just not accustomed to seeing as Texas Tech fans. Not to demean any previous quarterbacks, it's just that I think Potts is a completely different player and I'm really interested to see if he can make the progressions as quickly as necessary prior to this year. The advantage that Potts has over every candidate is time, something I think Leach values as much as some physical attributes. Physically, Potts has shown the ability to thread the needle and put passes where perhaps previous quarterback have been unable to do.
I'm a little concerned about Potts' wheels and hope that he can figure out how to step-up in the pocket or be able to scramble on those few occasions where he's not given plenty of time. I recall that last spring Potts struggled a bit, but the most part of that was probably due to him being behind a second or third team offensive line going up against the first team defense.
Classification: RS Freshman
Probable Role: Second string
Doege is the wild-card in this group. There are certain folks out there who believe that Doege might have an inside edge going into the spring. Keep in mind that Doege injured both knees in his high school junior and senior seasons and his last full season was his sophomore season at Crane High School. Doege has had a year and a half to learn Leach's system as he enrolled in January of last year and attended spring practices.
Those in Doege's corner believe that he has "it" and is a natural born leader. From what I've been able to gather, Doege is a bit of a gambler on the field and he does not have the arm-strength that Potts possesses, but he can throw the ball down the field. Despite having multiple knee surgeries, which I understand are not a chronic issue, Doege is a mobile quarterback and can throw on the run, make plays, and perhaps gamble a bit too much.
If Potts stumbles out of the gate, then it would not shock me or others close to the program to see Doege take the reins early in his career.
Probable Role: Battling for third string
I'm actually a fan of Loucks, although you can probably guess from his size, he's not the biggest quarterback and if I had to venture, he's probably a lot more Graham Harrell than Taylor Potts, but there's nothing wrong with that.
Perhaps Loucks biggest attribute is that he may have a more intimate knowledge of the spread offense than any other quarterback on the roster, because he played for Pulaski Academy, which was the team this past year that never, punted the ball . . . the entire season. And from reviewing film on Loucks, Pulaski Academy runs the offense efficiently and like most spread quarterbacks, he makes his reads relatively quickly, getting the ball to the right receiver in a short period of time.
Despite being a relatively light-weight, Loucks can put some zip on the ball and he can certainly air it out when needed. He has good timing on most of his routes and his highlights demonstrate his ability to move the ball all over the field, including over coverage and in tight spots.
Honestly, I'd love to see Loucks maintain his class ranking over Doege, but I'm not sure that will happen. Doege may be too talented to keep on the bench.
Probable Role: Battling for third string
I'll be honest, I don't know much about Sheffield and I'd imagine that Sheffield may be destined for as a career backup, which is 100 times more than I've ever accomplished in life. I'm struggling to remember much about Sheffield from last year's spring game, but considering this will be his third season in the system, if pressed into duty, he would probably perform reasonably well simply because of the experience.
Probable Role: Scout team and redshirt
Expect Karam to redshirt this season and play on Thursday night's with some regularity. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Karam is that he really does have some decent legs and it's not one of those attributes that we say it to make us feel better, seriously, Karam has some decent speed and is more than capable of making plays with his feet. Karam has good to decent arm-strength and he's got a good head on his shoulders, makes good decisions, but he's a long way from competing for any type of starting position for the foreseeable future.
One final thing to notice as we progress through the quarterbacks, is that the last three classes Leach tends to be drawn to a certain size and type of quarterback. Just looking at this sample-size, the general consensus is that he wants a quarterback that is 6-1 to 6-2 and has better mobility than maybe we've grown accustomed in previous year. Of Loucks, Doege and Karam, Loucks may be the least fleet of foot of all three, but Doege and Karam have more than scrambling ability and could be considered to be dual-threat quarterbacks.
I'm just curious if there's a possibility that Leach is maybe progressing a bit as an offense as he recruits his quarterbacks.