It’s coming to the end of the first quarter, McLane Carter has Tre King and Justin Stockton in the backfield with him. The ball is snapped, Carter appears to be handing the ball off to King, only for him to keep the ball himself and run it in himself for the touchdown. Once Texas safety Jason Hall moved down on the running back, Carter made the correct read to keep the ball for the easy score. Plays like this, shows Carter’s intelligence and ability.
After the first quarter, Carter was 11/15 for 175 yards, 13 rushing yards, and a touchdown. Carter truly looked like the QB of the future. The second and third quarter told a different story as he finished the day 16/37 for 237 yards and two interceptions. The rest of the game is what brought Carter back into this off-season quarterback competition, however lets not lose sight of that first quarter and why he was the starter for that game in the first place. There’s a reason why coach Kliff Kingsbury felt he was ready for the limelight then and why he’ll be ready for the limelight come September. Carter is the Red Raiders’ best chance at success this season and coach Kingsbury knows it.
Carter has the experience
Not only has Carter played more Big 12 minutes than the rest of the Texas Tech quarterbacks combined, but he’s also already been a starter at the college level. Though junior college isn’t anywhere near the same level as Big 12 football, it is much stiffer competition than the high school football which Jett Duffey and Alan Bowman only have experience in. Carter threw for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns for Tyler Junior College and became the sixth ranked Juco QB. After leading TJC to a 5-3 record, Carter has done everything he was supposed to do while he’s been at Tech, even earning a primary backup role throughout last season. Unlike Duffey and Bowman, Carter has been in the QB meeting rooms for the last two full off-seasons and seems to have this offense down. The team will be looking for the quarterback to lead them and in order to lead, you must know what you’re doing. McLane Carter knows exactly what he’s doing.
Carter doesn’t make mistakes
What was most surprising in Carter’s start against Texas was the two interceptions. Carter has built his reputation on not making the costly turnover. At Gilmer High School, Carter amassed just under 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions total his senior year. As he’s grown throughout the spring, he’s been able to keep the ball secure, not giving up any turnovers during the spring game. At this point, Duffey is beginning to be labelled turnover prone and his inaccuracies have constantly led to turnovers in practice. Bowman is simply too young to trust that he’ll be able to hold onto the ball himself, Carter however knows what it takes to play at this level and hold onto the ball.
The team is familiar with Carter
Carter has virtually practiced with the first team the entire spring and fall camp. The last two quarterbacks to do so were Nic Shimonek and Patrick Mahomes. It seems as though coach Kingsbury is preparing Carter to play with the first team so they get familiar with each other. Though both Bowman and Duffey have also played with the first team at times, Carter has been the constant. Ja’Deion High, T.J. Vasher and the other receivers are getting used to Carter’s throws. Jack Anderson and the rest of the offensive line are used to his tendencies and know how to block for him. Right now, this team is arguably the most experienced team coach Kingsbury has had in his tenure and having a quarterback the rest of the team is familiar with gives Texas Tech the best chance to win.
An experienced quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes and the rest of the team is familiar with is the type of quarterback the program needs right now, and may be the type of quarterback Kingsbury can groom for success.