BCS Championship 2011: Garrett Gilbert and the Backup QBs for Auburn and Oregon

Nathan Deal@@NateDawgAUCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2011

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Quarterback Garrett Gilbert #3 of the Texas Longhorns drops back to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Citi BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Five plays.

That's all Texas QB Colt McCoy played last year in the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama.

Five plays.

After intercepting a pass by Alabama's punter early in the first quarter, Texas drove down near the Alabama goal line.

On the fifth play of the drive, Colt McCoy suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder. It didn't look severe at all. But it was worse than it looked. In the locker room, Colt reportedly could only throw a football seven measly yards.

In came freshman Garrett Gilbert. His first game in the spotlight. In the National Title Game. At the Rose Bowl. Against Alabama's highly ranked defense.

As one would expect, he started off terribly. Texas would fall behind Alabama 24-6 at halftime and the game looked to be all but over.

But then he led a remarkable comeback. He threw two touchdown passes to draw the Longhorns within 24-21. Then his freshman side took over, as he threw two interceptions and also lost a fumble in the final few minutes of the game. He finished 15-for-40 for 186 yards, two TDs and five turnovers (four INT). Not bad when you consider the circumstances, but nonetheless, Alabama won the national championship, 37-21.

The moral of this story? In big games, one must always know who the backup QB is, because he could be thrust into action and be the difference between winning and losing.

Cam Newton is the iconic player in this game. The Auburn QB has accounted for 49 TDs this season and also won the Heisman Trophy.

Darron Thomas of Oregon is the "other" QB in this game, as his dual-threat ability is severely underrated.

Should either signal-caller be injured, who would be thrust into action in the BCS National Championship Game? Also, which team has a better situation should their QB go down?

Auburn: Should Cam Newton leave the game, Auburn actually won't be that much worse off. Barrett Trotter is Auburn's backup QB. The sophomore QB is 6'2" and 211 lbs. He is a mobile QB but his speed is hampered due to some surgeries he had recently. He has tremendous strength on his throws and, during Auburn's spring game, looked like the most polished passer of them all.

Losing Cam Newton would not doom Auburn when you have playmakers like Mike Dyer, Onterio McCalebb and Emory Blake at your disposal. Third on the depth chart is senior Neil Caudle.

Oregon: Before the season, when comparing these two teams' backup QB situations, Oregon would have a seemingly big edge over Auburn. The QB competition opened up after Heisman contender Jeremiah Masoli was kicked off the team. Senior Nate Costa was a heavy favorite over sophomore Darron Thomas. In fact, Costa was so large a favorite that if you were to crank up NCAA Football '11 right now, he would be the QB (unless you changed the depth chart yourself).

Instead, Thomas was named the starter. Nate Costa then suffered an injury during the regular season, limiting his constitutions to the team to simply being a leader that can't make a contribution on the field of play. In reality, should Thomas leave the game, Oregon has a situation similar to Texas last year.

They have a true freshman who has never taken a snap in the college game. His name is Bryan Bennett. He's 6'2" and 183 lbs. Safe to say, the BCS Title Game would not be the best stage to take your first snap.

Third on the depth chart is Daryle Hawkins.

It's safe to say Auburn is much better off at QB after Cam Newton than Oregon is after Darron Thomas. Auburn has three backups while Oregon has just two, one of them getting their only workout from holding up signs.

Just keep some of these things in mind when the BCS National Championship Game between Oregon and Auburn comes on. You never know how long your best player could last.

You never know if your QB will even make it to five snaps.


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