Big 12 Football: Biggest Spring Quarterback Battles

Lisa Horne@LisaHornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterFebruary 21, 2013

Big 12 Football: Biggest Spring Quarterback Battles

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    Of all the BCS conferences, nowhere is the battle for starting quarterback going to be more competitive than in the Big 12.

    The league has seen some big-time quarterbacks attempting to move on and play on Sundays. Some of those departures are leaving the Big 12's most elite teams vulnerable.

    Which teams are sitting pretty at quarterback?

    Which teams are in an all-out war to find a new quarterback? 

    Take a peek inside...


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    Landry Jones is gone and, while some Sooner fans may be secretly clapping their hands for the act that follows, most of Sooners nation is still giving an ovation for record-breaking quarterback. So who's up for the starting spot?

    Blake "Belldozer" Bell is a favorite of the fans because of his blue collar work ethic and his Tebow-esque qualities. Bell likes to pound it up the middle—he's the go-to-guy in the Sooners' jumbo package—but the Sooners need a quarterback who can throw the pill as well. 

    Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight are all in the mix to challenge Bell.

    The starting spot may not be decided until fall camp, but I'd lay my money down on Bell.  

Oklahoma State

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    What the heck is head coach Mike Gundy going to do? Where some schools are in dire need for quarterback, Gundy has three solid and experienced veterans to choose from: Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh. 

    Will Gundy simply throw his visor in the air and go with a two-quarterback system? I'm not a fan of this style of offense because it is basically a concession that neither quarterback is fully prepared to take the reins on his own.

    Chelf was No. 3 on the Cowboys' depth chart but ended up starting the final five games and was tabbed the Heart of Dallas Bowl's MVP. 

    Lunt started five games before injuries took him out of the starting spot. 

    Walsh started three games and was named Big 12 Offensive Freshman Player of the Year.

    Spring camp should be an aerial show like we've never seen before. 


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    The Longhorns have an interesting dilemma: David Ash or Case McCoy? Both have been wildly inconsistent and, according to ESPN, Texas has changed starting quarterbacks seven times in the last two years. More:

    It is McCoy's own inability to protect the ball and execute a vertical passing game that has led to Texas once again going with Ash. In McCoy's last two starts he has been responsible for eight turnovers.

    It looks like David Ash will be the starter unless McCoy finds a way to hang on to the ball, so this spring practice could offer a lot of insight into who has the edge. 

    But don't expect any starter to be named. Like last year, expect that decision to come right before the Longhorns' season opener. 

West Virginia

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    How do you replace Geno Smith? You really don't just move on and expect a similar level of production. That said, I remember when we asked how West Virginia would ever be able to replace Pat White.

    In any case, Dana Holgorsen probably has lost some sleep over this before just saying, "bring it on, guys" I'll make my offense work with anyone under center.

    It looks like it's Paul Millard and maybe Ford Childress as the two big contenders and it's up to them to battle it out for the starting spot.

    The scary part is that Millard is the only quarterback among the reserves who has had any college-level experience and even that is minimal: 16-of-34 for 211 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

    So well, yeah, this will be an interesting spring camp in Morgantown. Prepare yourselves for shock and awe. 


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    This battle for quarterback will be interesting.

    Casey Pachall, after returning from a short rehab stint, will attempt to regain the starting spot after Trevone Boykin was named the starter when Pachall left the team. 

    Who do you root for here? The kid who is turning over a new leaf over and trying for a great comeback or the kid who was baptized by fire when he was thrown into the starting spot after his teammate left the team? 

    Whoever gets the start will have an incredible defense to keep the opposing team's scoring at a minimum. 

Kansas State

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    Daniel Sams appears to be the next heir apparent at Kansas State since Sams was Collin Klein's backup last season.

    Sam Johnson and Joe Hubener are also reserves but they have no experience at the FBS level while Sams does, albeit very minimal.

    Incoming JUCO transfer Jake Waters may the one who really shakes things up, however.

    Waters is an early enrollee and, while at Iowa Western, he broke Cam Newton's single-season pass completion percentage record.

    Waters was ranked the No. 1 junior quarterback in the class of 2013.

    Problem solved, Wildcat fans.  

Texas Tech

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    It's going to be hard to replace Seth Doege, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury will undoubtedly work some magic with the new Red Raider quarterback, much like he did with Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel last year. 

    Early enrollee Davis Webb will certainly want to compete for the starting spot. But so will Michael Brewer, who actually has a pretty solid resume.

    Brewer went 34-of-48 for 375 yards and four touchdowns last season. So, while Doege is no longer in Lubbock, it sounds like Texas Tech is in some really good hands here. 


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    Bryce Petty was the official backup to Nick Florence last season so obviously, he's the top guy on the ladder's rungs. 

    Petty completed 7-of-10 for 97 yards and one touchdown in 2012—granted, it's not overwhelming but hey, no picks! Andrew Frerking and Seth Russell are also reserves but they haven't thrown a collegiate pass so far. 

    Dual threat quarterback Chris Johnson has enrolled early, so obviously this spring camp is going to be very exciting. Bring popcorn. 

Iowa State

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    Steele Jantz is gone, which left Jared Barnett and Sam Richardson battling it out for the starting spot.

    Barnett has a lot of experience under his belt (1,825 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions), so he was the safe bet but Barnett announced in January that he was transferring to Illinois State. 

    In short, this should be an interesting spring.  


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    This could be a truly fun camp to watch because head coach Charlie Weis has loaded up on so many JUCOs, which means fans will see a lot of new faces not making a lot of freshman mistakes. 

    Michael Cummings was Dayne Crist's backup last season, but he also threw more interceptions than touchdowns last year.

    This is what matters for Jayhawks fans: Former BYU-transfer quarterback Jake Heaps sat out 2012 and is now eligible to play—Heaps brings a wealth of experience to Lawrence, so expect him to be the starting quarterback when Kansas ends its fall practices.  

    Get excited.