Could transfer quarterbacks help solve problems for Texas Tech and Kansas?
ARLINGTON — Tyler Shough wasn't asked to represent Texas Tech at Big 12 media days on Thursday.
Understandably, Dawson Deaton and Riko Jeffers accompanied Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells to AT&T Stadium. Deaton, a center, has started in each of the last 22 games. Jeffers led the team last season with 8.5 tackles for a loss.
So on Thursday, Deaton talked about how fatherhood has changed him as a football player and addressed NIL avenues for offensive linemen. Jeffers answered questions about the possible expanded playoff in college football and his interest in studio art.
But soon enough, the spotlight will belong to Shough, the graduate transfer from Oregon who's expected to start at quarterback this season for the Red Raiders.
Shough spent the past three years at Oregon. Over Oregon's seven games last fall, he threw 13 touchdowns and led the Ducks to the Pac-12 title.
Shough told a Lubbock radio station in March that after he entered the transfer portal, he immediately heard from more than 20 schools. He settled on Tech because "I feel like all the coaches and players are in it to win it and they're going to work their butts off to do that. I wanted to be a part of it, so I just wanted to come in and get out to West Texas and start throwing the ball around, start slinging it around a bit more."
Playing time was also available in Lubbock. Alan Bowman, a 16-game starter, is now at Michigan. Henry Colombi attempted 166 passes last season, but he has never had a 250-yard passing game in his previous four years at Texas Tech and Utah State.
A participant in a portion of Tech's spring practices, Shough completed eight of his 15 passes in the spring game.
"I think it's obvious, we need to play better in that (quarterbacks) room. And I think top to bottom that room is better than it's ever been in the three years I've been at Texas Tech," Wells said. "I think the things (Shough) brings, things that are hard to measure. He's in early, stays late. He's a football junkie."
Added Dawson: "He's been a good leader so far. He's been a big presence in the locker room, he's gotten to know everyone really well."
Texas Tech shared the stage on Thursday with Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Kansas was supposed to join the fun but weather kept the Jayhawks grounded in Lawrence.
Like the Red Raiders, Kansas may also turn its offense over to a transfer quarterback. Earlier this offseason, former North Texas starter Jason Bean was added to the Jayhawks' roster.
Jalon Daniels and Miles Kendrick are experienced returnees for Kansas who combined to throw 272 passes in 2020. Daniels led Kansas in passing yards, but his completion percentage was nearly 11 points lower than Kendrick's uninspiring mark of 60.8.
Bean completed just 54.5% of his 145 passes during his last year in Denton. He also threw 14 touchdowns and ran for five scores.
In a press conference that was done over Zoom, new Kansas coach Lance Leipold told reporters that he was "excited about all our quarterbacks."
"One of the things that we want within our program is the culture of competition," continued competition," said Leipold, who was hired in April. "To really say that I've had a chance to watch guys in person to get an evaluation has not happened. And so whether it be Jason Bean or Jalon Daniels, Miles Kendrick or any of our young quarterbacks that we have, that will be in August."
At 266.7 yards per game this past season, Texas Tech ranked fourth in the Big 12 in passing offense. (Texas Tech was last not a top-three passing offense in the league in 2011). Kansas' 154.3-yard average was bested by all nine of its conference foes.