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NCAA Football: Progams with QB Questions

   by ASA - 04/21/2010

FLORIDA: The post Tim Tebow era at Florida has officially begun. Now who takes the reigns has yet to be decided. The Gators have a three headed monster playing QB and each has a different skill set. John Brantley, the current odds on favorite to be the starter next fall, is a pro type passer. He played very well in the spring game and looked like a leader on the field. He was 15 of 19 in the spring game and really "zipped" the ball all over the field the entire spring. Trey Burton is both a runner and a passer, although at this point he is more accomplished at the prior than the latter. He threw for over 100 yards in the spring game but also ran for 123. Finally, Jordan Reed seemed very adept this spring at running Urban Meyer's "Wildcat" offense. Despite losing Tebow, the Gators will definitely have some solid options at QB and each will be a bit different to prepare for.

OREGON: "They're OK," Chip Kelly stated after a recent spring practice in regards to his quarterback situation. Last year's starter Jeremiah Masoli, who led the Ducks to the Rose Bowl, is suspended for the entire upcoming season due to a theft conviction. That leaves Nate Costa and Darron Thomas to compete for the starting job. Costa threw 33 passes in mop up duty last year, getting one start vs. UCLA when Masoli was banged up. Thomas, who redshirted last year, is most well known for coming into the Boise State game as a true freshman and nearly leading the Ducks back from a 24-point deficit. Thomas was 5th on the depth chart that year and after OU's first four QB's were injured, he was forced into action. Thomas attempted 33 passes that season. Masoli has been at spring practice to help out the new signal callers, however neither has separated themselves leaving that situation up in the air heading into fall camp.

NOTRE DAME: New Irish QB Dayne Crist has a tough task in front of him. He must take over for Jimmy Clausen, learn new head coach Brian Kelly's offensive system and recover from a torn ACL all at the same time. Crist threw 20 passes all of last year (completing 10) in relief of Clausen before tearing his ACL @ Washington State on Halloween. He has been participating in spring ball but in a non-contact fashion. He is learning Kelly's system which is quite a bit different than what he is used to. He will not participate in the upcoming spring game. Right now, the Irish don't have many other options with only one other scholarship QB on the spring roster and that's early enrollee Tommy Rees who technically should still be in high school. After that it's walk on Nate Montana, yes he is following in his father Joe's footsteps, who was with the ND team back in 2008 and played Junior College ball in California last season. Notre Dame's QB situation is pretty much set with Crist starting, however with his injury and very little experience it will be interesting to follow.

TEXAS: Colt McCoy ended his UT career on a sour note getting injured on first series of the National Championship game vs. Alabama. At the time, most felt that pretty much ended the Horn's chances of winning the game and finishing the season ranked #1. The good news for Texas fans was that Garrett Gilbert, who was thrown into the fire on the biggest stage in College Football, picked up some fantastic game experience. Gilbert was expectedly flustered in the first half as he had very little game time under center leading up to the National Championship game. UT was down 24-6 at half and Gilbert rallied them to within 3 points at 24-21 with 6:00 minutes remaining in the game before falling to the Tide. He is now the clear cut starter heading into the fall and head coach Mack Brown was very pleased with his spring performance. Gilbert was 10 of 13 in the spring game and Brown said, "The team trusts him."

TENNESSEE: The Vols are in transition. New coach Derek Dooley came over from Louisiana Tech after Lane Kiffin escaped to USC in the middle of the night back in January. True freshman QB Tyler Bray, who stands 6 feet 6 inches, looked the part throwing for over 200 yards (on a massive 40 attempts) in the spring game after enrolling early at UT. He will battle Matt Simms, Phil's kid and a JUCO transfer, for the starting job in the fall. Simms, who threw for 125 yards on 25 attempts but 3 interceptions in the spring game, is at the top of the depth chart for the time being. Dooley has been impressed with both young signal callers.

MICHIGAN: The Wolverines QB position is wide open heading into next fall. Head coach Rich Rodriguez was not particularly happy with their progress in the spring calling their play "uneven". Sophomore Tate Forcier took the majority of the snaps last year and "wowed" most observers early in the season but tailed off drastically late in the year. That was to be expected from a true freshman starting at QB in the Big Ten. He is being pushed heavily this year by another sophomore Denard Robinson who has been somewhat inaccurate as a passer but rushed for 350 yards last season (5.1 YPC) from the QB spot. Robinson, who has become known for playing with his shoe's untied, had the highlight play in the spring game throwing a 97-yard TD pass to Roy Roundtree. Rodriguez's QB decision will be key to his job security this year as his 8-16 record over two season obviously isn't sitting well with one of the most storied programs in college football.

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