Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
August 29, 2012The upcoming season holds a lot of intrigue in regards to quarterback battles for the Cougars. Should the team go with an athletic quarterback, or the prototypical "Gunslinger" with the big arm. One guy is coming off injury, the other is younger and will be around longer. Fortunately this year it is BYU opponents asking themselves this question, not the Cougars. It feels nice as a fan, for the first time in two seasons, to not have to worry who our quarterback will be. Riley Nelson is firmly entrenched as the starter, but many of our future opponents are wondering who should start week 1.
The Washington State Cougars are starting 2012 with a familiar quarterback, but an unfamiliar scheme. Jeff Tuel got the starting nod from coach Mike Leach, who after taking time off from coaching, brings his Air Raid offense from Lubbock to Pullman. The high scoring offense needs a quarterback who can make quick decisions, and deliver the ball with accuracy. After playing extensively his first two seasons, Tuel sat out most of last season because of injury. Fans in Pullman thought Connor Halliday played well enough to earn the starting job this season, but Tuel has learned Leach's system quickly and earned the starting nod. Tuel has completed 60% of his passes throughout his career, but to be successful in this offense, coach Leach needs his QB to complete at least 65 percent of his passes. If he can stay healthy, Tuel should shatter previous single season passing records in Pullman and could lead Washington State to its first bowl game since 2003.
It's not an easy task to be the guy who replaces a record setting quarterback, but Mike Hoke has admirably filled in after the graduation of Cameron Higgins. By having a great touchdown to interception ration (19 TD - 4 INT) Hoke has minimized turnovers and made Wildcat fans think "Cameron who?" Hoke had off-season shoulder surgery, but is fully recovered and has passed the ball extremely well in fall camp. With a few all-conference weapons returning on the offensive side of the ball, Hoke and the Wildcats will cause problems for Big Sky defenses, but shouldn't be a threat to the Cougars.
University of Utah
After a good freshman season, Jordan Wynn lit up the Poinsettia Bowl and earned MVP honors. Utah fans thought they had their quarterback for the next three seasons. Injuries and confidence issues have slowed Wynn's progress, but the ability is still there. If Wynn's arm and shoulder are healthy (a big IF), and he has the confidence and respect of his teammates, watch out. Wynn is capable of putting up big numbers, and can get the ball to a bevy of playmakers on offense. Utah has the most talented offensive group of any Cougar opponent this season, but it won't do them any good if the quarterback can't get them the ball. Wynn has been slowed by a "tired" arm during fall camp, and coaches have had to hold him out of practices. If Wynn can't stay healthy, or be productive, look for Jon Hayes to take over the starting role. After being thrown into the fire last season, Hayes has had time to learn the playbook and the coaching staff feels he could lead the team to victories.
There may never be another quarterback like Kellen Moore who goes 50-3 in his Division I starts, but Joe Southwick has been given the impossible task of replacing the NCAA all-time career victories leader. Its hard to imagine how Moore's backups would ever get experience, but many games over the last two seasons were blowouts and Joe Soutwick got significant playing time in the second half. Southwick is not much bigger than Moore, at 6-1, 187 lbs Southwick brings a mobile dimension to the Boise State offense. New offensive coordinator Robert Prince wants to put some new wrinkles into the playbook, but don't expect him to stray too far from the pass-happy, play action attack that has made Boise State successful.
University of Hawaii
Cougar fans will find a familiar face coaching the Hawaii Warriors this season. Long time BYU offensive coordinator Norm Chow is now the head coach. It won't be Steve Sarkisian throwing play-action rollouts to the tight end, this time it will be Sean Schroeder. Schroeder is a transfer from Duke University, who is taking full advantage of the rule that lets you play right away if you have graduated from the school you are transferring from. A fourth year junior, Schroeder still has two years of eligibility remaining. Hawaii has quite a few capable quarterbacks on their roster, but because of suspensions and transfer rules, the intelligent Schroeder was the first to really grasp Norm Chow's offense and has been given the reins. Schroeder is known for having a strong arm and good decision making. Essential qualities when Norm Chow is calling plays.
Should Utah State go with the sophomore quarterback who posses an impressive skill set and great athleticism, or the senior who lead the team to five straight victories down the stretch and the team's first bowl game in over a decade. In the end it looks as though athleticism and potential have won out. Sophomore Chuckie Keeton has taken most of the first team reps during fall camp and has solidified his spot as the starter. Keeton made plays with his arm and feet last season, and if it weren't for a few special team and defensive mistakes could have led Utah State to impressive upsets over a number of teams (including BYU). Injuries forced him to miss games down the stretch when Adam Kennedy turned those close games into victories, albeit against inferior opponents. Keeton posses a good mix of running and throwing skills and keeps defenses honest. As long as Keeton keeps improving, Utah State will continue to go to bowl games for quite some time.
Sean Mannion isn't your typical sophomore quarterback. After starting his freshman year, Mannion has impressed coaches and teammates alike with his leadership and dedication. It isn't often that sophomores are named team captains, but for those who know Mannion it comes as no surprise. Mannion has practically made residence in the coaches office, and spends more time there studying tape than any most of the coaches. Mannion is a big kid, 6-5, with a strong arm and is known primarily for his calm demeanor. It is hard to imagine improvement from a season in which he threw for 3,328 yards and a 64.5 completion percentage, but Mannion had more INT's (18) than TD's (16). His focus this season is cutting back on his turnovers. If Mannion figures out how to accomplish this feat, the folks in Corvallis have one heck of a quarterback for the next three seasons.
Coaches love it when players seize their opportunity. With Tommy Rees suspended to start the season, coach Brian Kelly was looking for someone to start the first game against Navy. Nobody thought that last season's scout team quarterback would move from number four on the depth chart to number one, but that is exactly what Everett Golson has done. Golson has impressed coaches with his athletic play and knowledge of the spread offense. Kelly has been so impressed with Golson this fall that he has made it known that if Golson plays well in the Navy game, it is his job to lose. If Golson doesn't play well expect Rees to get first shot at the starting job back. Coaches often say you can't lose your spot due to injury, but apparently you can lose it to suspension.
Tevin Washington is the engine that makes Paul Washington's option oriented offense run. Washington is a senior quarterback with plenty of starting experience. Last season he helped Georgia Tech to the number two ranked rush offense in the country. But no matter how well they run, Washington must complete passes for Georgia Tech to be successful. During their victories last season Washington averaged 28 yards per completion, compared to 13 yards per completion during losses. It is the big play passing attack that predicates if Georgia Tech will be successful.
Dominique Blackman is a junior quarterback who transferred from Los Angleles Harbor College. The lefty quarterback is very athletic. Blackman originally committed to play at the University of Washington, but after coaches asked him to move to tight end, Blackman transferred to Los Angeles Harbor to develop his quarterback skills. So far at Idaho he has impressed his coaches with his work ethic on the field, and diligent study in the film room. Blackman completed 63 percent of his passes in his one season at LAHC, good enough for 3,711 yards and 35 TD's.
San Jose St.
David Fales has won the starting job at San Jose St. Fales originally committed to play at the University of Nevada Reno, but transferred to Monterey Peninsula College. Fales has stood out this past spring and fall by being able to run the offense effectively and getting the open man the ball. While at MPC Fales completed 61.8 percent of his passes, threw for 4,635 yards and 37 TD's in two seasons.
New Mexico St.
Andrew Manley missed the final eight games of last season with a torn ACL. He was able to get a redshirt, and will have three more seasons of eligibility. Manley has been good when he has played. Starting four games his freshman season and three last season, he has experience within the system and has made plays with his arm. In three games last season he threw for 892 yards and completed 6 TD passes.