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Why Kliff Kingsbury Believes in Davis Webb

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Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury believes in Davis Webb because Webb is better than Kingsbury was at the same stage of their careers.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

In rolling through Twitter early Monday morning, I ran across Blayne Beal’s tweet comparing Davis Webb and Kliff Kingsbury’s games as starters through 11 or so games and I thought, "Oh, this can’t be right."

I had looked at Harrell's numbers earlier this year and so I was somewhat aware of Harrell's numbers as a sophomore:

19 Touchdowns and 7 Interceptions. You are probably wondering what these numbers are. These are Graham Harrell's first 7 games as a college player and full-time starter in 2006. Take the seven starts in seven games for Webb and you have 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Just something to thing about as Webb heads into his 8th start of his career. I tend to forget how frustrating Harrell was in 2006, throwing 2 picks against Missouri and then 3 interceptions against Colorado the very next week. The week after that Colorado game, Harrell threw 6 touchdowns against Iowa St. It's tough being patient sometimes.

I really wasn't all that aware of Kingsbury's stats, but I was initially skeptical and thought that Kingsbury is one of the top five quarterbacks to ever wear the scarlet and black, he was never as bad as Webb is right now.  I'm not big on assumptions and I wanted to look for myself. I knew that Kingsbury struggled as a sophomore, but I needed to see the results for myself.

Kingsbury's Sophomore Season

Passing Rushing
Rk Date School Opponent Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
1 2000-08-26 Texas Tech New Mexico W 21 47 44.7 186 2 1 87.7 4 -28 -7.0 0
2 2000-09-02 Texas Tech Utah State W 33 47 70.2 450 3 1 167.4 3 -7 -2.3 1
3 2000-09-09 Texas Tech North Texas W 42 55 76.4 238 1 3 107.8 7 15 2.1 0
4 2000-09-16 Texas Tech Louisiana-Lafayette W 24 37 64.9 240 1 2 117.5 9 7 0.8 0
5 2000-09-30 Texas Tech @ Texas A&M L 28 50 56.0 291 2 2 110.1 7 -13 -1.9 0
6 2000-10-07 Texas Tech Baylor W 33 50 66.0 322 2 0 133.3 4 42 10.5 0
7 2000-10-14 Texas Tech Nebraska L 20 37 54.1 165 0 2 80.7 5 -9 -1.8 0
8 2000-10-21 Texas Tech @ Kansas State L 29 60 48.3 302 1 2 89.4 12 -9 -0.8 0
9 2000-10-28 Texas Tech @ Kansas W 32 48 66.7 405 4 0 165.0 9 -27 -3.0 0
10 2000-11-04 Texas Tech Texas L 28 49 57.1 282 1 2 104.1 4 -10 -2.5 0
11 2000-11-11 Texas Tech Oklahoma State W 30 43 69.8 236 3 0 138.9 3 34 11.3 1
12 2000-11-18 Texas Tech @ Oklahoma L 41 61 67.2 295 1 2 106.7 11 24 2.2 0
12 Games 361 584 61.8 3412 21 17 116.9 78 19 0.2 2
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 10/6/2014.

Davis Webb's Freshman and Sophomore Seasons

Just to clarify, the first table is Webb's freshman season and then the sophomore season is below that. I'm sure most of you know this, but just wanted to be clear.

Passing Rushing
Rk Year Date School Opponent Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
1 2013 2013-09-07 Texas Tech Stephen F. Austin 11 17 64.7 127 1 2 123.3 1 -6 -6.0 0
2 2013 2013-09-12 Texas Tech Texas Christian W 3 4 75.0 77 1 0 319.2
3 2013 2013-09-21 Texas Tech Texas State W 19 43 44.2 310 2 2 110.8 3 14 4.7 0
4 2013 2013-10-05 Texas Tech @ Kansas W 3 6 50.0 36 2 0 210.4
5 2013 2013-10-12 Texas Tech Iowa State W 35 56 62.5 415 3 1 138.9 5 -4 -0.8 0
6 2013 2013-10-19 Texas Tech @ West Virginia W 36 50 72.0 462 2 0 162.8 3 16 5.3 0
7 2013 2013-10-26 Texas Tech @ Oklahoma L 33 53 62.3 385 2 2 128.2 5 -30 -6.0 0
8 2013 2013-11-02 Texas Tech Oklahoma State L 45 71 63.4 425 2 2 117.3 4 4 1.0 0
9 2013 2013-11-09 Texas Tech Kansas State L 13 20 65.0 78 1 0 114.3 1 -9 -9.0 0
10 2013 2013-12-30 Texas Tech N Arizona State W 28 41 68.3 403 4 0 183.1 3 3 1.0 0
Passing Rushing
Rk Year Date School Opponent Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
11 2014 2014-08-30 Texas Tech Central Arkansas W 39 52 75.0 452 4 2 165.7 1 -2 -2.0 0
12 2014 2014-09-06 Texas Tech @ Texas-El Paso W 17 31 54.8 278 3 0 162.1 3 20 6.7 0
13 2014 2014-09-13 Texas Tech Arkansas L 27 45 60.0 252 3 2 120.2 3 4 1.3 1
14 2014 2014-09-25 Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State L 35 54 64.8 374 4 2 140.0 3 12 4.0 0
15 2014 2014-10-04 Texas Tech @ Kansas State L 22 43 51.2 247 2 4 96.2 2 13 6.5 0
15 Games 366 586 62.5 4321 36 19 138.2 37 35 0.9 1
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 10/6/2014.

I really was a bit surprised about how bad Kingsbury was as a sophomore. Granted, it was really his first year to play, he played a bit as a true freshman, the last game for sure, but this is where the meat of his first year on the job for Texas Tech was.

The thing that's probably the most surprising is that in Kingsbury's sophomore year, he had an astounding 5.8 yards per attempt and a touchdown to interception ratio of 21:17 or 1.23 touchdowns for every interception. Those are awful numbers and if Webb had thrown anywhere close to that, he would have been run out of town so quickly, it's not even funny.  When you compare Kingsbury's numbers to Webb's, it really nothing short of amazing as Webb is averaging 7.4 yards per attempt and a touchdown ratio of 36:19 or 1.89 touchdowns for every interception. And even if you take a look at average passing yards per game, Kingsbury averaged 284 yards a game while Webb (even with those minor games like TCU and Kansas included) Webb is averaging 288 yards a game.  Oh, and I completely get that these really are different situations and there are so many factors to compare one to the other would be incredibly tough (Who has the better receivers? Years in the system? Who had better talent? etc.).  I get all of the other factors.

Looking back, it is that much more clear as to why Kingsbury believes in Webb.  It's because Kingsbury believes that Webb is better than Kingsbury at the same stage of their careers (give or take a game or two).

Again, I'm not discounting your frustration with the quarterback situation, especially after Webb is on an interception roll of late, throwing 8 interceptions in his last three games.  I mentioned this morning that I was sports-sad about how all this is playing out and that's the truth.  It's grim and a bit depressing for me personally, because I really want to believe that players are going to snap out of funks and get back on that page.

I guess it all made that much more sense to me after doubting Beal and and actually looking at the numbers for myself. The reason why Kingsbury is so danged patient with Webb, despite the recent trend is that I have to believe that Kingsbury somewhat thinks that it's just a matter of time with Webb.

I wish a had a Wayback Machine to read all of the horrible and awful things that were being said about Kingsbury and Leach in 2000.  That's the thing that I loved about Leach.  He was always undeterred. Always.  He was always right (about football) and he continue to believes in his decision making, through thick and thin.  Kingsbury is the exact same way, and it's fascinating to watch fans doubt his resolve.  If I could assure you of one thing, it's that I truly believe that Kingsbury is ready for it. I'm sure that I'd need to plant myself in a coffee shop and listen to the folks complaining about this new-fangled offense and how Leach doesn't appear to know what a high-powered offense actually is.  You get the idea. Leach was running a system where he passed a lot of the time and the quarterback was completing on 60% of his passes and had a terrible yards per passing attempt and he was still sticking with Kingsbury.

This isn't an endorsement, more of an explanation if anything.  And at some point Webb has to progress forward rather than regress as he did against Kansas State. At the very least, the reason as to why Kingsbury is giving Webb such a long leash, at least for me, is that he was given a similar leash by Leach and it is what he knows.