LUBBOCK, Texas -- Last season, Oklahoma State surely made some sort of history by starting a quarterback in Brandon Weeden, who hadn't made a start in nine years.
Next season, there's a good chance Texas Tech could have a quarterback who has made one start in five seasons. Junior Seth Doege's never made it on the field for his final two seasons of high school in 2006 and 2007, thanks to preseason torn ACLs in his right and left knees.
In 2008, he redshirted. Doege started against Kansas in 2009 but was benched in favor of Taylor Potts at halftime, making his only start a forgettable one. In 2010, he waited his turn behind a pair of seniors, Potts and Steven Sheffield, both finally fully healthy.
"I know a lot of people that would have gone through those [injuries] and said, 'You know what, I’m done. I’m not going to go through this.'" said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville. " But it shows the perseverance he’s got and how resilient he is and how much he wants to play."
The big question: Why?
"Ever since I was little, this has been my dream," Doege said. "Not many people can say they’re living their dream."
Doege can. For now, it's not official. But he's established a clear lead over Jacob Karam as the Red Raiders' starting quarterback, earning the majority of the first-team reps as the most experienced quarterback on the roster.
The quarterback play under former coach Mike Leach became a signature of the Red Raiders' program, and that doesn't look likely to change.
"We still want to go out and recruit quarterbacks who can throw it 50 times a game -- maybe 60," Tuberville said. "That’s something that’s helped Tech when Mike brought it here and I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s opened doors for us."
That includes Doege's door. A native of Wolfforth, Texas, Doege went to nearby Frenship High School and was a self-professed "West Texas kid." He remembers well the first time his dad, Randy Doege, a high school coach himself, brought him to a Texas Tech game.
"I was like, 'Man, I want to play here. I want to throw for 4,000-plus yards,'” he said. "I wanted to be the next Kliff Kingsbury, the next B.J. Symons, the next Graham Harrell. I wanted to be those guys."
That didn't change throughout high school. One of the top passers in Texas, Doege committed to Texas Tech the day he got his offer, the first of several that eventually rolled in.
"I knew this was where I wanted to be when I was little," he said. "There were other schools that offered, but as soon as they did, I’d tell them hey, I’m committed to Tech. I’m solid."
And despite missing those final two years, Texas Tech honored that commitment just as Doege honored his, both to the game itself and other schools that expressed interest.
"That really motivated me. It was like, 'OK, I still have a chance,'" he said.
Now that the chance is closer than ever, Doege's hopes and expectations are high.
"I just want to win, that’s the main goal," he said. "My expectation is to be the No. 1 offense and that’s what we want to do. For a quarterback to know that your unit is No. 1 in the nation, that’s probably the best recognition you can get."
And Doege's confidence in himself and those around him is reflected by his coach, too.
"He’s an older guy. He’s not 18 years old. He’s been through some tough times, some tough surgeries, and he’s still got the hunger for it," Tuberville said. "You can tell he’s physically tough, mentally tough to go through that, and you can tell he kept the hunger and he wanted to do it.
"Now we can see what he can do."