Arizona State Sun Devils defensive coordinator Keith Patterson understands the challenge that awaits his team Saturday when quarterback Patrick Mahones and Texas Tech visit Sun Devil Stadium.
But that doesn't mean he's losing sleep over it.
"I kinda like playing teams like this, to be honest with you," Patterson said Wednesday. "There's not much that's gonna keep me awake."
Patterson said ASU's defense is designed to face the kind of up-tempo, spread offense spearheaded by Mahomes at Texas Tech.
But slowing down the 6-foot-2 junior from Whitehouse, Texas will be no small task.
Mahomes, the son of a former Major League Baseball pitcher, is among the most talented and crafty QBs in the country. He's coming off a 2015 season in which he threw for 4,653 total yards and 36 touchdowns. His 483 passing yards in a win over Stephen F. Austin were the second most in the country last weekend.
Patterson said Mahomes' ability to pass the ball quickly -- an average of 1.5 seconds last weekend -- makes life miserable for opposing defenses.
"Not many people can get to the quarterback in a second and a half," Patterson said. "That's probably going to be the average this week."
But Patterson said Mahomes' awareness and vision on the field is what makes him a special talent.
"This guy is kind of a Brett Favre-type quarterback," Patterson said. "Has just an uncanny ability to get outside the pocket. Will run across, throw back to the middle of the field, which most quarterbacks -- it's a cardinal sin to do that. He does it with regularity.
"He's extremely talented. He's very difficult to get down. He's a 235-pound kid, very athletic, just has a sense, that quarterback sense that he just feels that pressure and somehow has just a very unique ability to get back outside of containment, and when he does -- boy, hold on to your hat."
Patterson said Mahomes "kind of plays football like Magic Johnson played point guard" in that he has an uncanny ability to find open teammates on the fly.
"He'll run up in there and all of a sudden you've got guys converging on him, and whoever you left in coverage, he'll just dump it over your head," he said.
On paper, Mahomes vs. ASU's secondary seems like a major mismatch. After all, the Sun Devils were the worst Pac-12 team against the pass last season and yielded 369 passing yards to NAU on Saturday.
But Patterson lives for challenges like the one facing his Devils on Saturday, and he's confident his defense will do enough to disrupt Mahomes and force him to have one of the best games of his collegiate career in order to escape Sun Devil Stadium with a win.
"We've got a plan to cast a net and keep him in like everyone else does, but that's easier said than done with a guy with his ability," he said. "We'll try to keep him confused and make him make good decisions."