Shimonek's teammates see a fiery, determined leader
When you go through a quarterback transition, everyone wonders how the new guy on the block is going to run the show. Will he be a leader, and if so, how? Is he charismatic, or does he keep to himself? Is he capable of willing this team to wins, or is someone else going to have to shoulder the load?
Those are just a few of the questions that will come up for the next man who fills the shoes for the most scrutinized position in all of sports.
Nic Shimonek appears to be that next guy for Texas Tech, and he's certainly faced all questions flung in his direction through the spring and summer with an identifiable sense of confidence and certainty. He has a certain concrete manner in which he approaches everything that's unmistakable, and his teammates have certainly taken notice with his day-to-day approach and intensity.
His competitive nature only feeds that, too.
"Nic is definitely a different guy," said Cam Batson. "Nic is a guy that's going to push you. He's a guy who works hard. He's always like, 'Cam, you don't want to be great?' I'm like, man, you're always giving it to me, and this is unnecessary," he laughed. "But this is a guy who stays on you, and that's what you want. He's pushing himself to be great, and he wants you to be great. He wants guys to push him, and all our teammates do. He talks smack, lets you know what you're doing wrong, we let him know what he's doing wrong, and that's how you build that brotherhood amongst each other. That's really how you build that great team."
And while fellow senior Dylan Cantrell certainly agrees with Batson's sentiments, he also feels that Shimonek's ability to level with his teammates is a reason he can be a great leader this fall.
"He's a different guy for sure in the way he approaches every single day and prepares each and every single day. One thing I think is important for a leader, and one thing I think he knows how to do is to approach people. If it takes getting into someone's face to get them fired up, he'll do it. If it takes a more laid back approach, if you need to sit down and have a talk, he'll do that, too. He just does what's best for reaching people and motivating them. That's what he's done and we've done as a group this offseason."
KeKe Coutee noticed that Shimonek started coming out his shell a little bit more this spring now that he's the heir to the Air Raid throne in Lubbock. He's seen the QB's mentality rub off on his teammates, too.
"Nic likes to win in everything he does. With that competitive nature, everybody feeds off that," said Coutee. "When I first met Nic, he didn't say much at all. He was a laid back guy, serious about everything he does. But now, he's a little more vocal, likes to talk about everybody, likes to know what's going on with everyone."
At the end of the day, Shimonek will have to prove his worth on the field in a small window of games that will forever shape his legacy as a Red Raider. If things don't turn out, it won't be a lack for trying, as Jah'Shawn Johnson points out.
"Nic’s done a great job since Pat left each and every day. He’s excited for this opportunity, and he knows what he’s doing. He’s one of our hardest workers on our team if not the hardest. We have offseason lifters of the week each week, and he’s won it at least twice. He’s the only person that’s won more than once. The coaches try to give it to other guys, but they just can’t. You can’t outwork him. I’d be surprised not to see his car at the facility when you drive by. He’s in there, knows everything that he needs to do, he’s excited to take this step, and I’m excited for him to be our leader as well."
No matter what happens, one thing is very clear: Shimonek's teammates have his back and are all in on the quarterback leading this team in 2017.