Can you believe it? We are now just three days away from the first Saturday of the 2010 college football season.
All around the country, quarterback battles are ceasing and leaders are being announced as teams begin shaping their game plan for opening weekend.
From Texas Tech, where Tommy Tuberville just announced senior Taylor Potts would be the starter to Oregon, where Darron Thomas has been given the No. 1 honors, it seems the quarterback decisions have been rolling in recently.
But not so fast. There are two key Big Ten schools, Michigan and Penn State, that have yet to figure out just who will be taking the majority of the snaps behind center this season.
As of early Wednesday morning, mum’s the word in regards to the quarterback competitions taking place at both schools. There are three-way battles taking place in both Ann Arbor and State College.
At Michigan, the fight is between two returning sophomores, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, and highly touted incoming freshman Devin Gardner, a Michigan native.
The competition is believed to be led by Robinson after Tate Forcier was less than impressive with his decision making and leadership skills during the Spring.
The 6‘0 Robinson is probably the best runner of the bunch (351 rushing yards last year), but his passing prowess leaves a lot to be desired.
Forcier was the catalyst in last year’s impressive win over Notre Dame, but he was also a player involved with and one of the main reasons for Michigan’s late season swoon to finish 0-5 down the stretch.
He’s found himself in the dog house more than once in his young career. He has the talent to be a real player in this offense, but he just has to stay focused and stop shooting himself in the foot.
The wild card of the group is Gardner. The 6‘5 225-pounder passes the eyeball test when you watch him run around in practice, but how quickly can he pick up the offense?
His early enrollment will be a great benefit to him down the line, but right now, he’s still just a very raw prospect with a very nice skill set.
At Penn State, another three way battle is taking place with similar components. The Nittany Lions also have two sophomores battling it out with a hotshot freshman newcomer; the only difference being the two returning players, Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin, have very little game experience.
The departed Daryl Clark was the starter for this team and leader of the offense last year, and he saw the majority of the snaps.
Newsome actually did get a couple of plays under his belt during spot duty in 2009. The 6‘2 sophomore played in 10 total games but he amassed just 65 yards through the air and 95 yards on the ground.
The former Michigan commit came to Penn State as a very highly regarded prep prospect out of Hargrave Military Academy.
McGloin threw just two passes last season; both were late-game incompletions in a 52-3 blowout of Eastern Illinois. He’s not especially exceptional as a quarterback, but reports say he’s been more consistent than Newsome throughout the spring and the summer.
It’s expected that McGloin will most likely be the starter when Penn State opens up with Youngstown State.
Either way it goes, whoever is chosen will likely just be the stopgap for freshman mini-sensation Robert Bolden.
Bolden already beat out fellow freshman Paul Jones and relegated him to the bench and a redshirt season. Now, he’s going for that No. 1 spot.
Like Gardner, the 6‘4 Michigan native has the skills to be a dynamic player in Penn State’s version of the spread offense. He can run and throw with ease, and his athletic ability is the quality that sets him apart from most others.
So as you can see, there are some talented candidates in these competitions, yet we are still left waiting to for a resolute decision. That is just irresponsible.
This is game week, and your team and fan base needs to have a leader in place to rally behind and support. Instead, both teams have released depth charts with all three players listed at the number one position.
What is this "it’s going to be this guy OR maybe that guy OR hey we might even throw this guy at you, who knows" type of stuff?
Dear Coach Rodriguez and whichever coach is now running Penn State while Joe Paterno slowly withers away into old age, this strategy you're implementing is not a useful nor a beneficial one.
I understand there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that need to be figured out, but you had all spring and summer to put them together. Now is not the time for uncertainty at the most important position on the field.
It’s not like either team will likely be lighting things up through the air this year. Both teams are planning on relying on strong running games to lead them to success.
The only thing needed right now is an effective decision maker who knows how to limit mistakes.
At this point in time, that looks like Matt McGloin for Penn State and Denard Robinson for Michigan. So if that’s the case, just come and say it already.
We know the two freshmen, Bolden and Gardner, have special potential, but neither is probably mentally equipped at this point in time to handle the week in and week out grind of Big Ten football.
So Penn State and Michigan, whatever your decision is, you better make it soon. You’ve got exactly one day before the season starts.
Why all this need for indecision? Let everyone know where they stand, and understand their role. Clear the air, and let the cat out of the bag.
Who's your quarterback going to be for 2010?