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Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

Posted on: February 28, 2012 12:41 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2012 11:29 pm
 

Last year at this time, one of the more intriguing quarterback battles in college football was seeing which QB at Alabama would take over for the departing Greg McElroy. Turns out, the guy who won the job, A.J. McCarron, would help his team to the BCS title. It's probably a stretch to think that another first-year starting, scrapping to win some QB derby this spring will be able to lead his team to a national title, but you never know. This week's Top 10: the most significant QB battles of the spring in college football.

1-Oregon - Bryan Bennett vs. Marcus Mariota: Darron Thomas' surprising decision to jump to the NFL left a lot of folks scratching their heads. Some speculated that Thomas' move was prompted because he feared he might get overtaken in the spring by Bennett, who was impressive in his time playing while the Ducks starter was sidelined by injury. Thomas dismissed those rumors when I spoke to him a few days ago in Indy, saying there was no truth to them, and that he left because he was ready for competition at the next level. Thomas leaves behind an explosive offense with a dynamic group of backs and receivers, led by Kenjon Barner and budding star De'Anthony Thomas. Thomas praised both young QBs for their arms and their feet, saying both are good fits in Chip Kelly's system. Both are faster than Thomas and sources around the Duck program say both are more accurate than Thomas too. However, it's the experience and decision-making in this warp-speed attack that is hard to get a read on. Bennett, who completed 54 percent of his passes with a 6-0 TD-INT ratio and ran for 200 yards in a few games at midseason, is the favorite, but don't write off the 6-4 Mariota, a late-bloomer as a recruit, who has generated a lot of buzz among his teammates. He's seen as a guy who'll look to throw more than Bennett, we're told. This should be a legit BCS title contender if Bennett and/or Mariota are as advertised.

2-Boise State - Joe Southwick vs. Grant Hedrick vs. Nick Patti vs. Jimmy Laughrea: All Kellen Moore did was win more than any starting QB in college football history. But this program has proven to be bigger than one coach or one assistant or any player, but no doubt the four-year starter will be really missed. The guy was an all-time great. Southwick, a junior, who is about the same size as Moore, has been tabbed as the frontrunner by new OC Robert Prince. Hedrick is coming off knee surgery and also has been in the program for a while. The wildcard in this race is Patti, a shorter kid from Orlando with a very good arm and outstanding feet. Lots of coaches were impressed by his skills but just were turned off by his 5-11ish frame. He enrolled early and will be a factor here.

3-Notre Dame - Tommy Rees vs. Andrew Hendrix vs. Everett Golson vs. Gunner Kiel: The Irish should have their best front seven in years but how much more efficient can their offense be, especially without go-to receiver Mike Floyd? Rees has the most experience, but has struggled quite a bit and looks like he'll get overtaken this year. Hendrix saw some action last year as more of a change up because of his running ability. He also has a much stronger arm than Rees. As I've said a few times this off-season, Brian Kelly is sky high on Golson, a shorter QB from South Carolina, who redshirted in 2011. The 5-11 Golson, a dual-threat QB, could bring that much-needed spark to the ND offense. Kiel, an early enrollee, comes to South Bend with the biggest recruiting hype of the bunch, but several QB coaches who worked with the Indiana native last summer came away skeptical about how competitive he is and whether he has the moxie to be an elite QB.

4-Stanford - Brett Nottingham vs. Josh Nunes vs. Robbie Picazo vs. Kevin Hogan vs. Evan Crower:Andrew Luck arrived at Stanford while the program was among the worst in major college football. In his last two seasons, the Cardinal won 23 games. He was special. It'll be impossible to replace him. Stanford has a long list of guys vying for the job. Nottingham, a redshirt soph, is the frontrunner. I'm told he has the best arm of the bunch. He played in six games in 2011, although only threw eight passes. Nunes and Picazo are juniors while Hogan and Crower are freshmen. Coach David Shaw said at his pre-spring press conference he will try and divide reps in the first part of Stanford's spring session equally.

5-Wisconsin - Jon Budmayr vs. Joe Brennan vs. Curt Phillips vs. Joel Stave: Russell Wilson transferred in from NC State and had a terrific season for the Badgers. Whoever wins this job will have the luxury of a superb running game, led by Montee Ball. There will also be a new OC running the show with Matt Canada coming back to the Big Ten from NIU to replace Paul Chryst. Budmayr sat out last season with an elbow injury. If he's healthy, he'll have a good shot to win this job. Many figured he'd have been the starter had Wilson not transferred in and if Budmayr stayed healthy. Phillips, a former blue-chip recruit, has been plagued by knee injuries, offers good size and mobility despite two ACL injuries. There are two other names to remember for this vacancy come the fall: Bart Houston, a touted prospect from California who arrives in the summer and Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien, who is considering Wisconsin among several schools.

6-Oklahoma State - Clint Chelf vs. Wes Lunt vs. J.W. Walsh: Brandon Weeden leaves after the Cowboys had a fantastic season, just missing out on a shot to play for the national title. In two seasons, he went 23-3. Mike Gundy has said this thing is "wide open." The 6-1 Chelf is the only option that has played, throwing 69 passes in two seasons as Weeden's understudy. Walsh, a former blue-chip recruit, has been compared to ex-OSU standout Zac Robinson for his agility and dual-threat ability. But don't underestimate Walsh's arm. It's good too. Lunt, a lanky 6-5 early enrollee from Illinois, comes in with a strong rep as a passer. The staff wants him to bulk up, but he will get a shot to win this job.

7-Texas - David Ash vs. Case McCoy: The Horns should continue to improve after two disappointing seasons. They've had all sorts of problems trying to replace Colt McCoy since the UT great left Austin two years ago. It looks like it's Ash's job to lose. Last year, he was primarily a running threat. He was very raw as a passer, throwing four TDs and eight INTs. But he was pretty solid in UT's bowl win over Cal and that should give him some confidence to build on. Junior Case McCoy, Colt's younger brother, started five games in 2011 and will keep pushing Ash.

8-Florida - Jacoby Brissett vs. Jeff Driskel: The Gators have fallen fast since Tim Tebow left for the NFL. Charlie Weis spent one year in Gainesville trying to change UF from Urban Meyer's spread-option system. The results were not good as the Gator offense struggled mightily as an injury to upperclassman John Brantley forced the two true freshmen into action. Now new OC Brent Pease comes from Boise and inherits two big, athletic young QBs who have some game experience. Both have a lot of physical ability, but each needs quite a bit of polish and would be helped by improvement from what was a shaky O-line and inconsistent group of receivers. 

9-Auburn - Clint Moseley vs. Kiehl Frazier vs. Zeke Pike: Guz Malzahn left for the Arkansas State job and Scot Loeffler is taking over an offense that was 100th in total O in 2011. There were some rumors a while back that Frazier, who has known Malzahn since the 7th grade might be thinking of returning to his home state, but the dual-threat QB has dismissed that speculation. The sophomore is very talented. Moseley has the edge in experience and having started games at LSU and the Iron Bowl can't be overstated. This one will be curious to see how things develop under Loeffler. 

10-Texas A&M - Jameill Showers vs. Johnny Manziel vs. Matt Joeckel vs. Matt Davis: There is a lot of change going on in College Station as the Aggies make the jump into the SEC. With Kevin Sumlin bringing OC/QB coach Kliff Kingsbury, my hunch is that quarterback production is going to pick up over the next few years at A&M. What's really intriguing here is that three of these QBs are legit dual-threat talents with only Joeckel really more of a pocket guy. Showers, Ryan Tannehill's back-up, has a lot of talent. Keep an eye on Manziel though. He's only about 6-0 but something of a Texas prep legend. Manziel is a spectacular athlete who has a very live arm and is so athletic he can do 360 dunks.

Comments

Since: May 24, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 1:41 am
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

non, what i don't get are guys like you that want to talk sports, but then spend their time ripping someones loyalty even though you have no allegiance to any team  but try this on for size. NOTRE DAME  has stunk up college football for about 15 years due to some bad head coaching and definitley bad asst. coaching. Now i'm probably older than you but i'm no old chap. 
I wouldn't say I ripped you, just showing my cynical side that tends to come out when called a tool online.  It's all good though, I agree with you on your assessment in part.  I wouldn't say you have stunk though aside from a couple years, I am not Michigan or USC homer because if I were then I would say, oh, ND stinks, they are horrible, they are the worst team ever, get my drift?  A person who defends their team when everyone else knows they blow or conversely a person who says a team sucks when they really don't, those are the type of people that amuse me.  However, you are a bit to harsh on ND, I never said they stink because I don't think they do, I see them as an average to slightly above average team, Indiana stinks, Minnesota stinks, Duke stinks, all I said was ND is not good or relevant.  As I said though, I would never say they suck because that would show bias right?  To say a team that has gone 8-5 the past two years sucks would clearly be biased and I am sure you know people like that such as a certain longhorn troll that surfs your boards often.  The great thing about just being a fan of sports in general is I can provide my opinion without bias, sometimes its harsh but I am able to talk about the facts and besides before the year I actually called ND as an 8 win team but then again I thought Ohio State would also win 8.  Now, if there were a UCLA fan that wanted to give me guff then they would have more right than an ND fan for my post but again, I just stated facts.  Chap was more of a cynical thing as well, but hang out here on the big boards and not just the ND boards more often, the air is fresher out here and you can avoid the douchenozzle as your peeps so lovingly call him!  Tongue out



Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: March 1, 2012 9:39 pm
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

non, what i don't get are guys like you that want to talk sports, but then spend their time ripping someones loyalty even though you have no allegiance to any team  but try this on for size. NOTRE DAME  has stunk up college football for about 15 years due to some bad head coaching and definitley bad asst. coaching. Now i'm probably older than you but i'm no old chap. 



Since: May 24, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:17 pm
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

non, i figured their would be a tool that would rip NOTRE DAME,  man up and list your favorite teams, just saying.

Awe, how cute, a die hard School the use to be Notre Dame fan called me a tool, what an honor, I bow in your presense!  I am even more honored that you live in PA but are also a Celtics, Packers, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Maple Leafs and Illinoiscfan, just throw the Lakers or Kentucky up in your profile and you will be set.  As far me, I have no favorites, no allegiances or biases either way that's why I am the nonbiasedone.  Surely someone smart enough to have gone to ND and got a degree (since your surely had to have gone there right) from there would make that connection between make screen name and that I comment on many teams from many sports so just because you don't like what I said doesn't mean it isn't true.  Remember old chap, just because someone writes a fact doesn't mean they have an agenda, your team doesn't deserve to make the list.  But hey, look on the bright side you beat Navy this past year, St. Louis should be good this year and Green Bay had a good year too.  If you want to discuss sports for any of the 23 teams you follow and want a nonbiased take message me anytime.  If however, you want a bunch up mindless banter with others that aren't hip to reality then stay on the school that use to be Notre Dame page and let the rest of us out here in the real world have significant and meaningful discussion about sports in general.  Good day sir and I look forward to your reply.



Since: Sep 25, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2012 2:40 am
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

"I looks like it's Ash's job to lose" at Texas is a correct statement. 



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:49 pm
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

Purdue: Marve / Terbush / Henry / Appleby



Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:47 pm
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

non, i figured their would be a tool that would rip NOTRE DAME,  man up and list your favorite teams, just saying.



Since: Mar 20, 2011
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:15 pm
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

We have no QB question. #16



Since: May 24, 2010
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:47 pm
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

What about UCLA?? Prince vs. Brehaut vs. Hundley vs. Fuller

You answered your own question, WHAT ABOUT UCLA?  The list was for teams that actually matter and that are good (except that school that use to be Notre Dame) that's why the other school from Los Angeles (that at least use to be good at basketball) is not mentioned.  Oh, almost forgot, 50-0!  8 losses in a year, lol, come on now, UCLA, seriously?

As far as Cal goes, which one poster alluded too, you should root for Maynard to win the job and for them to redshirt Kline!

I am interested in who wins the jobs at Oregon, Stanford and Oklahoma State



Since: Feb 19, 2010
Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:57 am
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

What about UCLA?? Prince vs. Brehaut vs. Hundley vs. Fuller



Since: Aug 13, 2011
Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:39 am
 

Top 10: The spring's most significant QB battles

Oklahoma State: It will be a battle between Chelf and Walsh next year, with Chelf winning. But make no mistake, Lunt will be Ok State's starter by his junior year, maybe his sophomore year, and will light up the score board, if given some protection. He has the receivers to throw to as well. 


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