Texas Tech picks Potts as starting QB

Tommy Tuberville has made his pick to run Texas Tech’s

high-flying offense in the season opener.

Taylor Potts will start over Stephen Sheffield against SMU on

Sept. 5 after the two performed ”about the same” through the

first two weeks of practice. The decision hinged on which senior

can execute what Tuberville wants out of the offense and Potts got

the nod after the team’s second scrimmage over the weekend.

”We just felt like Taylor had a better grasp in terms of

consistency,” Tuberville said. ”I mean, this wasn’t rocket

science.”

How do Potts and Sheffield feel about the decision? Their takes

are off limits to the media for now: Tuberville did not let either

one answer questions Monday.

”It was a very hard decision,” Tuberville said. ”Obviously, I

feel bad for Stephen because he worked just as hard as anybody. But

again that’s part of competition. He’s got the ability and the

right now to go out and prove as we go along that he is the

best.”

Sheffield will get plenty of snaps in practice, only not with

the first team. Teammates know that like last year he’ll be ready.

He took over after Potts got a concussion in a win over New Mexico

and led the Red Raiders to victories over Kansas State and at

Nebraska.

”I’m sure he’s disappointed but at the same time getting on the

field is as quick as one play,” said running back Baron Batch.

”And everybody knows that. That’s why you have to come out and

still prepare like you’re the starter.”

Sheffield and Potts each had surgery in March. Sheffield, who

threw for 1,219 yards and 14 touchdowns in six games in last

season, needed to repair to the same bone in his left foot that he

injured in October at Nebraska.

Potts, who threw for 3,440 yards and 22 touchdowns in 11 games

last season, needed surgery to fix an injury between his index

finger and middle finger he got hitting a helmet while

throwing.

Potts has made strides, Batch said.

”I think he’s just playing football,” he said. ”I think a big

thing that kind of got him in trouble was he just thought too much.

I think he’s just going out and having fun and playing, and that’s

really the biggest difference.

Potts was booed by home fans during a 52-30 loss to Texas

A&M last season. That experience, Batch said, matured him.

”He went through a lot last year, a lot of things that a lot of

players didn’t have to go through,” Batch said. ”He was booed off

the field, no one wanted to see him in there and he never

complained one time. Going through all that has made him that much

of a better player and a quarterback.”

Tuberville said he’s got options with Sheffield, a fan favorite

last season who is mobile outside the pocket.

He’s got as much confidence in Sheffield, he said, as Potts.

”I wouldn’t have any qualms of going in the first game and just

flip-flopping and putting Stephen in there, but I want the players

to know that Taylor is the guy that we’re going to put out there,”

Tuberville said. ”Did we make the right decision? I think we did,

just in terms of what we’re doing right now.”