Archive for the ‘Nebraska Cornhuskers’ Category

Who’s Minding the Offense?

February 20, 2009

The rube in Homerism wants to believe that USC coach Pete Carroll’s performance at Mark Sanchez’s farewell press conference showed his genuine concern for one of his players. My cynical side says it was motivated more by his genuine concern for the state the Trojans’ quarterback situation.

Nothing like a quarterback derby to get college football fans talking and coaches’ blood pressure rising. Some of the top programs have clear-cut replacements for departed signal callers. Georgia, for example, plans to install fifth-year senior and one-time starter Joe Cox as the man following Matt Stafford’s early declaration for the NFL.
Other situations like USC are a bit more muddled. Here’s a look at the spring quarterback competitions to keep an eye on:
Just kidding.


Can the Trojans continue to plug in quarterback after quarterback and not miss a beat? With last year’s starter Mark Sanchez making his debatable move to the NFL, USC will have a full-blown quarterback competition going this spring. The list of candidates is long and distinguished. Redshirt freshman Aaron Corp appears to be the frontrunner and is considered the most athletic QB prospect Carroll has had. Super-transfer Mitch Mustain from Arkansas has the billing, but he has yet to really take the reins. Incoming freshman Matt Barkley also is generating loads of buzz, even though it’s tough to see a true freshman playing quarterback in Troy.

Year one of the RichRod era for Big Blue failed to identify a Pat White-type quarterback with the tools to trigger the spread option. The news that the relatively underwhelming Steven Threet was heading out for greener pastures has heightened the uncertainty in Ann Arbor. Consequently, year two could find a freshman under center. “Underwhelming” would be a compliment when discussing Nick Sheridan’s play in 2008, but as of now, he’s the only quarterback with any experience in coach Rich Rodriguez’s version of the spread. That probably means he’ll get most of the spring snaps. Early enrollee Tate Forcier will learn at Sheridan’s side. However, both may be keeping a seat warm for when promising recruit Denard Robinson arrives in the fall.
Just-good-enough John Parker Wilson has departed, leaving an opening for a more feisty successor to take hold of the job. The depth chart currently shows redshirt sophomore Greg McElroy on top, he of 11 pass attempts in 2008. McElroy looks the part of a Nick Saban archetypal caretaker. Dual-threat freshman Star Jackson, a four-star recruit who redshirted in 2008, offers a little more pizzazz.
The Cornhuskers got off to a solid in coach Bo Pelini’s first year in Lincoln, thanks in large part to the steady play of QB Joe Ganz. But Ganz is gone–probably off to coach eight-man somewhere outside of Omaha. Pelini and his staff will have a chance to evaluate four signal callers vying for the starting job this spring: sophomore-to-be Patrick Witt, juco transfer Zac Lee, dual-threat prospect Kody Spano and Cody Green, an athletic early enrollee out of Texas.