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Texas Tech QB Mahomes learns lesson from shaky 2014 debut vs. OK State

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Texas Tech sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes learned a valuable lesson last season, and that was to always be ready to step on the field and run the offense. This is the lesson every backup quarterback should take to heart, and is one Mahomes may not have been fully onboard with last fall.

“It’s pretty accurate,” Mahomes said in a story published by The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “I, of course, did not work hard enough. I thought I was working hard enough, but I know now that I wasn’t. Now that I know I have a chance [to start at quarterback for Texas Tech], I know how to work and I’m going to work that hard or even harder to try to get a chance to play.”

Mahomes was thrown into the offense in place of an injured Davis Webb last season against Oklahoma State. Mahomes fumbled, picked up the loose ball and then threw an interception on his fourth play. Fortunately, it seems, Mahomes has taken that infamous debut to heart this offseason.

“That was probably the change moment in the season for me,” Mahomes said. “I came in thinking I could do what I did in high school and I would still make plays. Once that happens, it kind of changed my mindset where I have to compete every single day, kill every workout, get extra work in order to be good at this level.”

Mahomes is competing for the starting quarterback job with Webb for Kliff Kingsbury this summer. Whether he will be able to replace Webb as the starter remains to be seen, but at least he knows he will have to work for it. Better later than never, right?

Texas Tech WR could see first half of opener go up in smoke

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An off-field issue earlier this offseason could very well have an impact on Reginald Davis‘ availability in the very early going of Texas Tech’s 2015 season.

Back in May of this year, Davis was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana.  While no definitive punitive measures have been announced by the football program, the wide receiver seems convinced that he will miss the first two quarters of the Red Raiders’ season opener.

Against an FCS opponent.

In Lubbock.

“From what I’ve heard, I may miss the first half of the Sam Houston State game,” Davis said according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “It just made me look at life from a different angle. I should be grateful for everything I have.”

Last season, Davis’ 29 receptions were fifth on the pass-happy Red Raiders while his 318 yards receiving were sixth. His five receiving touchdowns were good for fourth on the squad.

Two glaring omissions headline Biletnikoff watch list

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It’s not often that who’s not on what’s essentially a meaningless preseason watch list is the main storyline, but that’s the case when it comes to the Biletnikoff Award this year.

First, who is on the watch list for the award handed out annually to the nation’s top wide receivers: a total of 48 players at the position, which is actually a rather subdued number compared to other watch lists that come out this time of the year.

Headlining the four dozen receivers actually listed is Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, who was a finalist for last year’s award that went to Alabama’s Amari Cooper.  Joining Higgins are 2014 semifinalists Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma and Nelson Spruce of Colorado.

Now, the players who was inexplicably excluded from the initial watch list? Auburn’s D’haquille Williams, first and foremost. The senior wideout was already named to the Maxwell Award watch list earlier this month. He’s considered by many to be the best receiver in the SEC — Mel Kiper has Williams as his No. 1 player at that position — yet four receivers from that conference are included.  The only receiver on the Biletnikoff watch list to also make Maxwell’s is South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper.

Williams missed three of the last four games last season because of an injury, yet still totaled 45 receptions for 730 yards and five touchdowns. Kiper may have him a bit overrated on his Big Board, but Williams certainly deserves one of the 48 spots allotted — or the award should at least make room for a 49th.  Or a 49th and 50th.

That said, Williams can, and probably will, be added to an in-season update from the folks at the Biletnikoff.  The same could be said for Player. No. 2: Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell.

Despite missing the last four games of the year because of a gruesome leg injury, Williams still led the Rebels in receptions with 48 and was second in yardage with 632.  Like Williams, Treadwell made the cut for the Maxwell, which is awarded annually to the best player in college football regardless of position.

Anyway, below is the complete Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list.

Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Devonte Boyd, UNLV
Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan
Ryan Burbrink, Bowling Green
KD Cannon, Baylor
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
Rashon Ceaser, ULM
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
River Cracraft, Washington State
Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Josh Doctson, TCU
Travin Dural, LSU
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin
William Fuller, Notre Dame
Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Donovan Harden, Georgia State
Carlos Harris, North Texas
Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Ajalen Holley, ULM
Cayleb Jones, Arizona
Corey Jones, Toledo
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
Marcus Kemp, Hawaii
Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Mitch Mathews, BYU
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
Jordan Payton, UCLA
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Jalen Robinette, Air Force
Demarcus Robinson, Florida
Alonzo Russell, Toledo
Artavis Scott, Clemson
Hunter Sharp, Utah State
Tajae Sharpe, Massachusetts
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State
Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Shaq Washington, Cincinnati
Mike Williams, Clemson
Ron Willoughby, Buffalo

LSU’s Leonard Fournette headlines 44 named to Paul Hornung Award watch list

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It’s early July, so you know what that means: Slow news days and everyone’s favorite, watch lists! Today’s list of players who could win an award in December is for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile player

The list:

Ishmael Adams, UCLA
Budda Baker, Washington
V’Angelo Bentley, Illinois
Rashon Ceaser, Louisiana Monroe
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
Trevor Davis, California
Matt Dayes, N.C. State
Cameron Echols-Luper, TCU
DeVon Edwards, Duke
Tyler Ervin, San Jose State
Leonard Fournette, LSU
Autrey Golden, UTEP
Jamal Golden, Georgia Tech
Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
Janarion Grant, Rutgers
Carlos Harris, North Texas
Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech
Myles Jack, UCLA
Adoree’ Jackson, USC
Corey Jones, Toledo
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
William Likely, Maryland
T.J. Logan, North Carolina
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Jalin Marshall, Ohio State
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Elijah McGuire, Louisiana Lafayette
Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia
Ronnie Moore, Bowling Green
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
Charles Nelson, Oregon
Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
Daz’Mond Patterson, Ohio
De’Mornay Pierson-El, Nebraska
James Quick, Louisville
Alex Ross, Oklahoma
R.J. Shelton, Michigan State
Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
Jahad Thomas, Temple
Jaylen Walton, Ole Miss
Shane Williams- Rhodes, Boise State
Stanley Williams, Kentucky
Myles Willis, Boston College
Dontre Wilson, Ohio State

Fournette should be the early favorite here — in the Music City Bowl against Notre Dame, he rushed for 143 yards on 11 carries (including an 89-yard TD run) and returned a kick 100 yards for a score.

Then again, Fournette could be considered a favorite to win just about any award he’s eligible for in 2015.

Wazzu adds former Leach WR Joel Filani to support staff

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Mike Leach is turning Pullman into Lubbock Northwest in more than just scheme.

Upon his arrival in 2012, Leach employed former Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Morris and wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons to coach the Cougars wideouts. Morris left a year later for the South Plains, and Simmons was hired earlier this month at Oklahoma. So what’d Leach do? Backfill from his roster of former Red Raiders, of course.

Leach promoted former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell from an offensive analyst role to inside receivers coach a week ago, and now he’s filled that spot by hiring former Red Raiders wide receiver Joel Filani as an offensive quality control assistant, which was announced Wednesday.

Filani caught 175 career passes for 2,626 yards and 23 touchdowns, snagging passes from current TCU co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie and his new co-worker, Harrell. He earned All-Big 12 honors in 2005 and 2006.

A sixth-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, Filani spent time with the Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had spent the past two years as a graduate assistant at Boise State before his appointment in Pullman.