Air Force Faces More Quarterback Uncertainty, Don't Hold Breath for a Decision

Jake SchallerContributor IOctober 15, 2009

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 9:    The Air Force Academy Falcons offense huddles just before scoring their final touchdown against the University of Tennessee Volunteers on September 9, 2006 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennessee won 31-30.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Air Force has uncertainty at the quarterback position.


By my count, it’s the fourth time there’s been uncertainty at the spot since four-year starter Shaun Carney graduated after the 2007 season.

I guess you could put the “Tim Jefferson or Connor Dietz” debate in the “good problems to have” category.

Dietz, after all, has played well enough to start building a case that he should start on merit, not just because of an injury to Jefferson. And if the 2008 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year might be usurped by his backup, I guess that says good things about the depth at the position.

It would seem it’s always better to have two good players than one.

But I’ve always been of the opinion that a team needs to pick a quarterback and stick with him. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun and I disagree here, and we’ve had this conversation a few times, most notably before the 2008 season when he talked about splitting snaps in games between two quarterbacks.

He thinks quarterbacks shouldn’t be treated any differently than an offensive guard or inside linebacker and that you shouldn’t “ anoint” a starting quarterback.

I think problems arise when there is a question as to who is the starting quarterback. The quarterbacks might start looking over their shoulders and playing a bit more tentatively, afraid to make mistakes. And the whole “who is your quarterback” question can be a distraction for a team.

Jefferson’s ankle, which is probably not completely healed, clouds this issue. But I think it would help the Falcons if, once he gets healthy, they settle on one or the other for the rest of the season.

Granted, they are a bit different. Dietz is a better runner, while Jefferson is a better passer. But let’s not act as if this is choosing between Dan Marino and Mike Vick.

Jefferson is a solid runner and Dietz, it seems in practice, can be a competent passer—especially in an Air Force offense that throws the ball about as much as Shaq launches three-pointers. So it’s not as if the Air Force offense changes that much based on the quarterback.

That said, my call is to pick one and stick with him. At least for a few games.