In the wake of Texas Tech's disasterous and utterly embarrassing 52-30 home loss to Texas A&M last Saturday, the Red Raiders must be concerned about quarterback Taylor Potts' confidence.
When Potts tossed a key interception in the end zone before halftime after the Raiders reached the red zone, Tech fans immediately started chanting: "No More Potts, No More Potts.''
That kind of indignity just doesn't happen in Lubbock. Fans very rarely get on their players like that, and it must have stunned Potts, his teammates and the Tech coaches.
Coach Mike Leach tried to brush it aside, saying, during Monday morning's Big 12 teleconference, "I ignore that.'' Leach also said, "I guess it's free speech.''
But when a player like Potts -- he was the nation's No. 1 quarterback before he suffered a conccussion Oct. 3 against New Mexico _ hear his own beloved fans razzing him, that's gotta sting.
Leach even admitted there could be a confidence issue with Potts. Particularly after he hurled two costly interceptions against the Aggies and looked, as Leach said, "slow and statue-like,'' in the pocket while being an easy target for the Aggie defenders.
"I think (a lack of confidence by Potts) is an issue,'' Leach said. "I thnik confidence is probably the most important aspect a quarterback has.
"But no matter who you are. . .you've got to fight through it. On an individual level, he needs to be true to his confidence.''
Potts also has to use that time clock in his head and realize that he can't hold onto the ball in the pocket forever. The offensive linemen can only hold off defenders for so long.
How many times have you seen Potts hold the ball _ like he's ordering a No. 1 at Burger King _ while waiting for a receiver to get open?
What Potts needs to do is watch with high interest some film of Tech's other quarterback, Steven Sheffield. Or better yet, watch some film of the game A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson had against the Raiders.
Both Sheffield and Johnson have a feel for the game that all quarterbacks need. In other words, they use their legs as an added weapon.
When a bunch of receivers and running backs go out for a pass and the linebackers and secondary go with them, a lot of times there's a gaping hole in the middle begging for the quarterback to enter and gain 10-plus yards. Sheffield and Johnson take advanatge of it almost every time.
Potts does not. And until he does, he's always going to have some lingering issues.
If the defense know it can just rear back and tee off on a quarterback without worrying about that quarterback burning them with his legs, that defense is just going to rear back and tee off on the quarterback.
Potts must learn he can't be "slow and statue-like'' and be successful. If he continues to play that way, there's a good chance you'll probably hear those "No More Potts'' chants again.
_ Dwain Price