Despite apparent leader in Texas Tech’s quarterback competition, Ole Miss preparing for them all

Published 12:14 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury may not reveal his starting quarterback until he sends his top option onto the field for the Red Raiders’ first offensive possession Saturday.

At least not officially.

Kingsbury still hasn’t named a starter among McLane Carter, Jett Duffey and true freshman Alan Bowman just days before Ole Miss meets the Red Raiders in the teams’ season opener at Houston’s NRG Stadium (11 a.m., ESPN), though there appears to be a leader in the competition.

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The Lubbock-Avalanche Journal reported Carter had been getting most of the first-team reps during preseason camp, not a surprise given the junior’s slight edge in experience. Carter played in four games with one start last season and completed half of his 46 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions while Duffy attempted just two passes last season as a freshman.

An upset in the quarterback race would mean the first career start for Duffey or Bowman, who enrolled early and went through spring practice. Ole Miss defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff said his group is preparing for anything.

“We’ve studied all three,” McGriff said. “Even went back and looked at the freshman kid’s high school video. All the press clippings suggest McLane Carter is going to be the starter, but we don’t know how long he’s going to stay in the game and don’t really know if he’s going to be the starter.”

Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey. (Texas Tech Athletics)

Carter and Duffey are the most likely combination should Tech play more than one quarterback against the Rebels given their diverse skill sets. A left-hander, Carter is a true dropback passer who threw for 3,226 yards and 30 touchdowns in his only season at Tyler Junior College before biding his time as the Red Raiders’ backup last season while the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Duffey is “more of an athlete,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said, who adds another dimension to Tech’s pass-happy offense with his legs.

“They’re totally different, and you have to prepare for both,” Luke said.

Ole Miss’ defense has gotten a taste all preseason of what it could see from Duffey with its own mobile quarterback in Jordan Ta’amu. That, Luke said, should have the group ready for whoever trots onto the field to take the snaps for Tech come Saturday.

“Any time you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get, it makes it a challenge,” Luke said. “But we’ve practiced against both and we play a similar style of offense, so I think our defense has seen it.”