Earlier this week, we talked about why the Texas Longhorns need to name David Ash as their starter going into the offseason. Today, David Ubben from ESPN has an interesting piece where Bob Stoops and Mike Gundy give very different answers with respect to their philosophies on the quarterback spot. Ordinarily, I walk pretty much hand-in-hand with the defensive guys when it comes to making decisions.
Not in this case.
For maybe the first time ever, I'm in total agreement with Mike Gundy. Whether you're a fan of his scheme or not, the man makes quite the salient point in his discussion of quarterbacks. Both he and Todd Monken, his offensive coordinator, are firm believers in needing a starter heading into the summer.
"I don’t think it’s overrated," Gundy told ESPN in Stillwater this week. "I think it needs to be there. Can you have a lineman do it? Yeah. It’s not the same. This’ll be a big summer for us, because whoever we feel like is going to be our quarterback, he has to develop some leadership and I feel like that’s all part of it."
After seeing Gundy's comments and talking to some position players who lived the two-quarterback struggle, I'm even more convinced that having a protracted quarterback competition is a waste. Coaches aren't doing their teams any favors, especially in pro-style or passing schemes, by carrying on the battle for quarterback for a long time. The biggest downsides I originally focused on are the extra preparation and the team's reaction to multiple quarterbacks.
However, Gundy does raise a great point about summertime.
You need the quarterback to be the summer guy. It is possible for a wide receiver, a lineman or a defensive guy to organize the workouts and get things set up. However, when your team gets out onto the field, they need to be taking direction from one guy.
He has to establish himself as the leader. He has to find his stride and his own style when it comes to commanding the offense. When you have two guys splitting reps, with different leadership styles and different approaches to the summer, only half the work gets done for your football team.
Picking a quarterback does not lock a team into anything. You can change, if necessary, as we've seen all over the nation in recent years. One example of this is the case of Jake Heaps. He won the quarterback battle at BYU, and it did not pan out. Riley Nelson came in to make things work for the Cougars.
Starters change based upon performance; it is a part of football.
My advise to college football coaches? Don't wait until the last minute to pull the trigger, and then rush to fit your scheme around the quarterback. Shorten the battle, and give one kid the lead role.