College football coaches putting quarterback battles to rest
It's one of the biggest headlines every year in the preseason and the quarterback decision days reached their boiling point Monday when five schools brought an end to their position battles and announced Week 1 starters.
Butch Jones got the ball rolling this past Thursday when he decided that Justin Worley would lead the Tennessee offense for its first game of the season against Utah State. The next day, Bobby Hauck named Blake Decker UNLV's leading man and at Boise State, Bryan Harsin tabbed Grant Hedrick his team's starter. Sunday’s decisions were made by South Florida head coach Willie Taggart, who went with sophomore Mike White, and Tulane’s Curtis Johnson choosing Tanner Lee. However, the weekend was headlined by some news out of College Station.
In the wake of Kenny Hill being named successor to Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M late Saturday, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops made his choice early Monday morning to go with Patrick Towles as his starting quarterback for this season.
After thorough evaluation and a hard fought competition, we are naming Patrick Towles as our starting quarterback.— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) August 18, 2014
Stoops had been running a four-horse race in Lexington before turning to the redshirt sophomore, passing on former starter Maxwell Smith and highly touted freshman Drew Barker.
Just a couple of hours after Stoops’ announcement, news broke that Purdue would be going with Danny Etling to start the season at quarterback.
Etling won the job from fellow sophomore Austin Appleby, but still had to battle for it in training camp, despite starting eight games of the 2013 season for the Boilermakers.
In the early part of the afternoon the little publicized quarterback battle between Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson was settled in Utah when head coach Kyle Whittingham made the call to go with Wilson.
Thompson transferred to Utah after three seasons at Oklahoma and Wilson is in entering his third season with the Utes, starting in nine games as a sophomore in 2013.
At Iowa State, last season’s Week 1 starter was put back into that role as head coach Paul Rhoads went with Sam Richardson. Richardson started the first eight games of the 2013 season for the Cyclones until an injury to his ankle kept him out of the remainder of the season, leaving the door open for Grant Rohach.
The Iowa State QB derby winner is Sam Richardson http://t.co/a6C3mThCUm— Blair Kerkhoff (@BlairKerkhoff) August 18, 2014
Rohach started the last four games of the season and despite picking up key victories against West Virginia and Kansas will not start the season atop the depth chart.
Blake Frohnapfel was named the starter for Massachusetts on Monday after a training camp battle with A.J. Doyle. Fronhnapfel is a transfer from Marshall and was quickly embraced by head coach Mark Whipple. Whipple was pleased with the play of both quarterbacks in training camp but claims that Frohnapfel simply outplayed Doyle in practice.
Connecticut head coach Bob Diaco was expected to settle the battle between Casey Cochran, Chandler Whitmer and Tim Boyle before Tuesday and Alabama, Virginia Tech and North Carolina are among the schools that still have decisions to make.