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Sports Authority

Berry: Time to pick a QB

| Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The most asked and most controversial question every football offseason revolves around the quarterback position. It’s no surprise the most important asset for a football team comes with many questions, given that the person under center has the biggest impact upon whether your team wins or loses. Some teams are starting from scratch looking for a new quarterback, while others have the luxury or two capable starters. Unless you’re Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Russell Wilson, most quarterback battles occur during offseason practices and preseason games, but come regular season a starter is named, and months of controversy are over. Barring injury or multiple team losses, one quarterback reigns supreme unless you’re a college football quarterback. In college, the one quarterback system doesn’t always apply, at least not yet.

The new NCAA redshirt rule has made quarterback controversy a season-long competition this year. The new rule that allows a player to play in up to four games and still redshirt has essentially eliminated the timetable and urgency for head coaches to select their starter. It’s almost October and the battles are still ongoing. Four games into the college football season and the top three teams still haven’t named their season starter.

Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa? Jake Fromm or Justin Fields? Trevor Lawrence or Kelly Bryant? Even Notre Dame has joined in on the controversy. As of now Alabama, Georgia and Clemson are a combined 12-0, which is a testament to the quarterback talent each team possesses, but as the season continues with the College Football Playoff steadily approaching, Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney need to select one quarterback moving forward.

The only thing more annoying than watching Clay Matthew acquire soft roughing-the-passer calls is watching two quarterbacks compete against one another while trying to beat an opponent. It’s overall bad football. The two-quarterback system is high school football, not college athletes working toward the NFL. In this type of two-man system, neither quarterback can fully get accustomed to playing in a full game because schemes change based on the quarterback. It’s also difficult to get an effective and confident leader if your quarterback is always looking over his shoulder for his replacement. Plus, the stark divide of the team’s fanbase adds more insult to injury with half the fans rooting for one guy and the other half rooting for the other. Heading into bigger and more competitive games down the stretch, coaches need to name their guy. It’s impossible to have two leaders in important game-time situations. Which quarterback is going to lead the two-minute drill or which quarterback do you trust to throw a Hail Mary for the game? All of these issues are probably the reasons why most NFL teams choose one quarterback to lead the team regardless of the number of talented quarterbacks on the roster.

Could you imagine the 2017 Patriots playing both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo in the Super Bowl? The answer is no because Bill Belichick is smart enough to know to win big games you have to have all your confidence in one quarterback.

Although I’m completely against it, I get the logic behind the playing two quarterbacks. Coaches are heavily invested in the feelings of their players, and they don’t want to necessarily waste a player’s eligibility. However, prolonging the quarterback battle by not naming a starter doesn’t make the controversy go away. If anything, it stirs the pot even more. Players are heavily confused, and this extreme form of coddling doesn’t help prepare players for the NFL. If coaches can’t put aside their personal feelings and attachments to certain players, then coaches should let numbers be the determining factor. Judging from a four-game sample size this season it’s clear to decide that Tagovailoa, Fromm and Lawrence deserve to be the outright starting quarterbacks for their teams. It shouldn’t be too complicated for coaches to make the decisions that they’re paid to.

In the cutthroat world of football, coaches need to toughen up and choose one quarterback moving forward. Entry into the College Football Playoff is dependent on it.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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