Quarterback Battles Rage On

Yesterday, Kentucky named sophomore Maxwell Smith its starting quarterback, ending a battle with Morgan Newton that I’m sure was like watching two people spend two weeks trying to remove the last piece in Operation without making the buzzer go off.  You may recall that Newton began last season as the starter before being injured and replaced by Smith during the Mississippi State game, and then not playing much the rest of the year.  But what you should really remember Newton for was his opening night performance against Western Kentucky in which he went 7 of 18 for 97 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs and inspired this:

One of the great, fantastically bad football games of our time.

Anyway, now that Kentucky has settled on who will eventually be replaced by a wide receiver (HEY THERE, TENNESSEE), there are only three quarterback battles remaining in the SEC.  Auburn, Florida, and Ole Miss have yet to name a starter 10 days before the start of their seasons, which can only mean one of three things:  One, both quarterbacks stink.  Two, one guy is better, but isn’t THAT much better.  And three, Houston Nutt is in charge of naming the starter.

So, to get the uneducated masses some learnin’, let’s venture into each of these contests in which everyone is playing Uno and holding 31 cards (ALL THE GAME REFERENCES). 

Auburn
Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier (SPELL HIS NAME BETTER, PARENTS) are the two options from which Gene Chizik has to choose a starter.  So, yes, sometimes Trooper Taylor and his towel don’t always get their guy.  Moseley saw significant playing time last year after relieving Barrett Trotter in the Florida game, but unfortunately, not much of it was good (he did throw 4 touchdowns against Ole Miss though; Hotty Toddy, Tyrone Nix!), and he ended up being replaced by Trotter in the bowl game against Virginia.

In Moseley’s defense, he was playing in an offense built for quarterbacks with the ability to, what’s the word here, oh, move, which he does not do well.  In Auburn’s new, more conventional and boring offense, he’ll be asked to hand the ball off repeatedly, and throw off of play action for most of the game, which is more friendly to his skill set.  Though right now, Moseley is having a shoulder issue, which is not helping his cause.

As for Frazier, he saw a fair amount of playing time, but was usually only called upon to run the ball.  Auburn coaches had zero trust in his ability to throw the ball and only let him throw 12 passes in 11 games (2 INTs). 

However, going into the spring and especially this fall, they hoped he would take control and win the starting job.  Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for everyone else, he has not done so.  I know, hard to believe a quarterback who can’t really throw is struggling in a pro-style offense.  That never happens.  Reminds me of the days I spent watching Brent Schaeffer taking direction from Ed Orgeron in the Southern Cal offense.

So, who will emerge victorious from this scrum?  EVERYONE BUT AUBURN.  If I were a wagering person, and I am, I’d bet five Chiz Rags that Frazier is named the starter, but at the first sign of real trouble, Moseley (assuming his shoulder has healed) starts getting the majority of the snaps, and Frazier is reduced to his special package role of running the smattering of read option plays that will most certainly remain in the Auburn playbook.

Florida
Will Muschamp finds himself death-staring (is there any other kind of Muschamp stare?) at what are allegedly quarterbacks in the forms of Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett.  Both saw playing time last year due to John Brantley injuries and/or John Brantley being John Brantley, with neither of them doing much of anything to give anyone at Florida hope.

As the battle continued from spring until now, both have done their best to not separate themselves from one another.  So much so that Muschamp has said he could see the competition lasting throughout the season on a week-to-week basis.  A plan that is sure to go FLAWLESSLY.

I’m looking forward to a season-long rotation that is sure to destroy any confidence either of these guys has built, and Will Muschamp sweating blood and rupturing his adrenal glands.  God forbid a coach say, “Below Average QB 1, you are starting the first four games of the season.  If we are winning, you will keep starting.  If we suck, Below Average QB 2 takes over for the rest of the year.” 

Will that work?  I don’t know, I’m just trying to come up with a different solution to fix some shitty recruiting and developing.

Ole Miss
The Rebels’ battle falls under the previously mentioned category of one guy is better, but not that much better.  Bo Wallace, a JUCO transfer, has shown a greater ability to throw the ball and move the offense than Barry Brunetti, a transfer from last season.  However, Wallace’s lack of consistency has kept Brunetti hanging around, along with Brunetti’s athleticism, especially when running with the ball.

We all saw Brunetti last season, briefly running Houston Nutt’s hot garbage offense.  Brunetti doesn’t posses a very strong or accurate arm, which are two MILDLY IMPORTANT attributes for a quarterback, but he does run well.  Unfortunately for Brunetti, we do not run the Kansas State quarterback battering ram offense and passing is a major part of Hugh Freeze’s offense.

I have yet to see Wallace in person, but based on everything I’ve read and heard, it’s his job unless he falls down a well or drunkenly crashes a jet ski into The Library during a DJ Mario iPod set (is that still a thing there?).  I expect Brunetti will play some, but have a limited number of plays that could be called for him.

And so, there it is, your summary of the ongoing SEC quarterback battles, nay, skirmishes.  While we can all only guess who will play and how much, we can be certain that all parties involved will cause great periods of mental and physical agony to all who have been selected in this life to follow each of these teams.

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