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Tech QB Potts will start Alamo Bowl against Michigan State

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has already elected to start junior Taylor Potts at quarterback for the Red Raiders' Jan. 2 Valero Alamo Bowl game against Michigan State.

Leach told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that while has decided to start Potts over Steven Sheffield for the bowl game, he promises open competition between the two juniors in spring practice.

"I'm going to start Potts," Leach said. "He's steady and I need to settle on one and quit pulling them in and out, and then in the spring they’ll battle it out."

Potts started nine games for the Red Raiders during the season, passing for 3,068 yards and 20 touchdowns with a 5-4 record in those starts. Sheffield engineered a victory over New Mexico after Potts was injured and then directed the Red Raiders to triumphs over Kansas State and Nebraska before he sustained a broken foot. Sheffield finished the season with 1,131 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes.

Freshman Seth Doege started the other game for the Red Raiders this season.

It's a little bit unusual considering Leach's gamesmanship that he has already settled on a starter this early for the Spartans. He usually likes to keep opposing teams -- and especially the media -- guessing until the opening snap.

Potts won the starting job last spring rather easily, but Sheffield has progressed in his knowledge of the offense and has developed a strong leadership bond with the team. It should be a close battle during spring practice and likely into fall camp for Leach to decide on the Red Raiders' starter next season.