They join Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Iowa State as the teams who have already named starting quarterbacks. But only Jones, Texas A&M’s Jerrod Johnson, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert and Iowa State’s Austen Arnuad have full seasons of starting experience.
Gilbert will make his first start in the season opener. Baylor’s Robert Griffin III missed all but three games last season with a knee injury.
Both Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield made starts for Texas Tech last season, but neither has earned the starting job for this year. The Red Raiders join Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado and Nebraska as teams that still don’t know who will take the opening snap in the season opener.
That uncertainty will bring running backs to the forefront of the conference this season.
Tommy Tuberville, who is entering his first season as Texas Tech’s head coach, is going to strive to bring balance to the Red Raiders’ offense for a simple reason.
“You can’t expect a quarterback to throw it 70 times a game, because he’s not going to make it through the whole season,” he said. “We want to protect our quarterbacks. We want to be more balanced, and we want to give the defenses something to think about other than just rushing the passer every time.”
Maybe that wasn’t the case the last five years. Going all the way back to Josh Heupel in 2000, quarterbacks have been the stars of the Big 12. Each year the best in the conference was always considered one of the best, if not the best, in the country.
Heading into the season, the conference doesn’t have that one special player who has proven he can run an offense on brains, mobility or on a strong arm.