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Notre Dame Fighting Irish and More Teams Headed for QB Changes

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJune 22, 2016

Notre Dame Fighting Irish and More Teams Headed for QB Changes

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    There is nothing like a good quarterback controversy. And while most teams should have a good idea of who their starting quarterback is, four weeks into the season, there are a few teams that are still torn between two or more signal-callers.

    A team may be looking for a switch at the quarterback position because of a possible injury, lack of success with the current starter, or the coaching staff is just looking for a spark on the offensive side of the ball. Regardless, there are a few teams that may be looking to shake up the offense by rotating starting quarterbacks in the middle of the season.

    As we enter the crucial part of the schedule, with conference play soon beginning for most teams, here are five squads that may have a new starting quarterback leading the way.

Minnesota

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    Minnesota has a playmaker at quarterback in MarQueis Gray, who is a big reason why the Golden Gophers are one of three teams left in the Big Ten with an undefeated record. He is completing less than 60 percent of his passes, but his dual-threat ability really opens things up for this offense.

    But while the senior quarterback remains the leader of the squad, Gray is still recovering from an ankle injury that will likely force him to miss next week’s Big Ten opener against Iowa. He already missed last weekend’s game against Syracuse, as Max Shortell took over, completing 53 percent of his passes and not turning the ball over.

    Shortell is only a sophomore with very little experience, so it is critical to this team’s success that Gray makes a speedy recovery.

Notre Dame

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    You knew it was only a matter of time before head coach Brian Kelly would begin rotating quarterbacks, as he is known for usually running a two-quarterback system. And while Everett Golson seems to be the future of this Notre Dame football team, Kelly has turned to his more experienced quarterback in Tommy Rees to bail his team out a few times already.

    It was Rees who led the Irish down the field for the game-winning field goal against Purdue and the junior quarterback also saw a lot of playing time last week against Michigan. Golson has the tools to become a great quarterback, but it is clear that Kelly trusts his veteran quarterback when the offense needs a spark.

    I'm not sure if Rees will ever become the full-time starter, but he will certainly play a big role the rest of the way for Notre Dame.

BYU

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    Jake Heaps decided to transfer to Kansas, and BYU has had issues at the quarterback position ever since.

    Senior Riley Nelson has been dealing with injury issues and turned the ball over four times in the recent loss to Boise State. While freshman quarterback Taysom Hill is completing less than 43 percent of his passes, but does bring a dual-threat ability to the table and did score the only touchdown in last week’s matchup.

    Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said that Nelson is still the starting quarterback, but injury issues make the decision difficult moving forward. (Via Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune)

    Riley is our quarterback. I love him, and I want him to be healthy. ... I don’t have any different feelings than I did going into this game [regarding Nelson]," Mendenhall said. "... He won’t come out unless you drag him out.

    This should be worth keeping an eye on, as BYU will soon enter a tougher part of its schedule.

Auburn

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    There was a lot of excitement down in Auburn when Tiger fans found out that Kiehl Frazier was going to be the starter in 2012. The sophomore quarterback didn't see much playing time last season, but with his versatility, many saw a possible Cam Newton 2.0. 

    After the first four games and a 1-3 start to the season, Auburn may not know where to turn next. Frazier is completing less than 53 percent of his passes, has thrown at least one interception in every game, and is 1-7 on pass attempts inside the red zone.

    Last week, third-string quarterback Jonathan Wallace saw some playing time as a wildcat option, which only opens up the idea even more that we may see a change at the quarterback position. Clint Moseley is the No. 2 option on the depth chart and brings some experience to the table. 

    Auburn needs to desperately start winning games or things could get uglier for this program; maybe a break for Frazier could help him in the long run.

Wisconsin

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    Wisconsin hit the jackpot when Russell Wilson transferred and became a Badger. Unfortunately, they have not had the same success with Danny O'Brien, who transferred from Maryland to Wisconsin during the offseason. He was very inconsistent and completed only 50 percent of his passes in the last two games.

    With Wisconsin struggling as a football team, the coaching staff decided to give freshman Joel Stave a shot in last week’s matchup against UTEP. He completed 70 percent of his passes, passed for 210 yards and the Badgers offense actually looked like an efficient offense.

    With the performance of Stave, he likely earned himself another start, and with the uncertainty of running back Montee Ball, Wisconsin needs a reliable quarterback on the field to lead this unit. As of right now, that guy looks like it could be Stave.

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