College Football 2012: 5 QB Battles That Will Last All Season Long
Throughout the offseason and fall camp, much of the attention is placed on the quarterback position. Who is going to replace last year's starter? Some teams are lucky enough to be settled at the most important position, but those are few and far between in the college football landscape.
Many programs have quarterback competitions, but with the season ready to begin in a week, a starter has to be named soon. However, just because a starter is named, that does not mean that the problems go away.
Often coaches need more time before naming the right guy, so he will sometimes go with a two-quarterback system, or the starter simply can't get the job done, so the backup comes in as a replacement.
It is never good to be unsettled at quarterback, but here are five teams that will likely have a quarterback battle that lasts throughout the entire season.
Candidates: Johnny Manziel, Jameill Showers, Matt Joeckel and true freshman Matt Davis
Johnny Manziel has recently been named the starting quarterback of the Aggies, but it is not too often where a freshman lasts the entire season as a starter. Even head coach Kevin Sumlin understands the situation, so he hinted to AggieAthletics.com the idea of possibly giving other players a chance at playing time down the line.
Johnny has performed the best at this stage and we will proceed until the season opener with him getting the first-team reps. My policy is simple really; the best player plays. Competition is a great thing and we need more competition at all of our positions. All of our quarterbacks have competed well, and I expect them to continue to push Johnny.
Jameill Showers has the most experience of the three players, being a sophomore and throwing a total of five passes in 2011. He even looked to be the front-runner for the starting position once spring practices were over.
The Aggies have a rebuilding offense and will see a lot tougher defenses in the SEC. I would be shocked if Manziel lasts the entire season with defenses such as Florida, South Carolina, LSU and Alabama on the schedule.
Candidates: Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims
There is little doubt that Michael Rocco will remain the starter to begin the season. He was the starter last year and helped lead Virginia to eight victories and a bowl game for the first time since 2007. But, even last year, Rocco did split time with David Watford, who proved to be a talented dual-threat quarterback in the limited action he saw.
Rocco was also only mildly effective, often turning the ball over and finishing the year with more interceptions than touchdown passes.
Now you add Phillip Sims to the mix, an Alabama transfer, who is eligible to play right away and was a 4-star recruit from the 2010 class. He is still raw at the position, but has a strong arm and did not leave Tuscaloosa to hold a clipboard all season.
With the running game the Cavaliers have, don't be surprised if Mike London switches things a bit at the quarterback position.
Candidates: Everett Golson, Andrew Hendrix, Tommy Rees and Gunner Kiel
Reason: Competition and schedule
Notre Dame is in desperate need of a quarterback it can rely on all season. The lack of production has really held this team back and will likely make the difference in 2012.
Everett Golson appears to be the front-runner for the starting position, especially after the spring game performance he had. But Andrew Hendrix has the size, arm and dual-threat ability to be an attractive option just like Golson. Then of course you have Tommy Rees, who was terrible last season, but he does have two years of experience under his belt.
You have to like the potential Notre Dame has at the quarterback position, and that is good enough reason to experiment throughout the season. The Irish also have a brutal schedule, which may force Brian Kelly to switch between quarterbacks and likely go with the hot hand at the moment.
It is not long before this program finds its full-time starter; the hard part is actually finding him first.
Candidates: Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel
Reason: Coach said it
Florida used three quarterbacks last year to try and find something that sparked this offense. Nothing worked and Will Muschamp and company enter the 2012 season with a quarterback battle. The thing that makes this case a little more interesting than the rest is that the Gators are perfectly fine using both quarterbacks throughout the year.
Muschamp continues to boast about how well his guys are playing throughout the camp and has even said that he will likely use a two-quarterback system.
Jacoby Brissett is your typical quarterback, who stands tall at 6'4", 230 pounds and has a live arm. Jeff Driskel also has a strong arm, but he can absolutely kill you with his legs if you give him room. With both skill sets being quite different, there is no reason to believe that using two different guys to run this Florida offense can't work.
Muschamp just needs to discover an equal balance between the two.
Candidates: David Ash and Case McCoy
Reason: Neither has stepped up
Texas will enter this season with the exact same two quarterbacks they used last year. Problem is, neither quarterback played well enough last year to separate themselves from the other. McCoy completed 61 percent of his passes for over 1,000 yards and threw seven touchdowns to four interceptions. Ash completed only 57 percent of his passes and threw eight interceptions to only four touchdowns.
Still, it seems like Ash is the leader for the starting job and reports claim that he will start week one against Wyoming. But obviously neither has done enough in fall camp to cement the starting position, as co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin says that they plan on using both quarterbacks in the season opener to continue evaluating.
The Longhorns have opened up as a Top 15 team in the new AP Poll, but until they fix this quarterback situation, it is real hard to consider them a true threat for a BCS bowl.