TSS Roundtable: The most intriguing QB situation of 2016

Throughout the offseason, the cast of writers here at the Student Section will discuss what’s going to happen on the gridiron this fall. Last week, we shared our thoughts on who will be the most disappointing and most surprising teams. Earlier this week, we talked about impact transfers. Now let’s talk about one of the favorites of talk radio and message boards, the most intriguing QB situations.


Question: What is the most intriguing QB situation?

Kevin Causey: On Twitter @CFBZ

The University of Georgia went from 4th in the SEC in total offense to 8th from 2014 to 2015. The Bulldogs also went from 1st in scoring offense to 9th. Mike Bobo got a head coaching job and Mark Richt made a career-affecting decision when he put Brian Schottenheimer in charge of the offense.

Schottenheimer hitched his wagon to Greyson Lambert in 2015. Lambert had some good outings against some of the lesser teams on the schedule — including an eye-popping game against South Carolina — but overall he was ineffective.

Kirby Smart has brought in Jim Chaney to run the offense this season (and hopefully beyond for Georgia fans). Chaney has three choices at quarterback. He can stick with Lambert, who has a low ceiling but ample experience. He can go with a player in Brice Ramsey who has been in the program for a while and never really gotten his shot. He can also go with the young gunslinger in Jacob Eason, who impressed during the spring game and is the heir apparent.

This job will be Eason’s at some point. The most intriguing thing for me is when this will happen. Georgia opens with a tough North Carolina team that will score often. Georgia needs an offense that will come out clicking and can match Carolina’s productivity. Will the Dawgs put Eason in such a pressure situation right out of the gate?

Or will they go with Greyson Lambert? He isn’t necessarily the “safe” route, but Georgia knows what it has with Lambert. He likely won’t make the kind of mistake that will cost Georgia, but he also isn’t going to make a play that will win you the game. He’s a placeholder.

The other option is Brice Ramsey. He played when Georgia was getting squashed by Alabama last year. He threw a quick pick and ended up on punting duty the rest of the year. Ramsey has the tools to be a good quarterback, and he also possesses one capacity the other two don’t: the ability to run.

Fall camp will be very interesting in Athens. The choice should be Eason, but it will be very interesting to see which way Kirby goes with what will be the first big decision of his tenure.

Phil Harrison: On Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFB

For me, look no further than everyone’s favorite social media guru Jim Harbaugh — not because of the steel-cage match competition for the starting spot under center (though it’ll be entertaining enough), but because of what it means for the program in Ann Arbor.

One-hit wonder Jake Rudock is off to greener pastures after doing a more-than-admirable job getting the ship into open water, but year two is yearning for a new captain of the Maize and Blue vessel.

Everyone with a “Hail to the Victors” as a ringtone is giddy over the direction of the winged helmets under Mr. Khakis, but the momentum needs to continue into year two, especially in a division with Ohio State and Michigan State already stomping around the neighborhood with their chests puffed out and heads held high.

For all the tough-nosed attitude and nastiness it is undeniably being built upon, the program will only make it so far without getting the type of quarterback past Harbaugh offenses have thrived with. After all, this is the Michigan freakin’ Wolverines, where the measuring stick isn’t the teams of crazy mad-scientist Rich Rodriguez or the underperforming Brady Hoke mess. No, no, things are judged by the land of Big Ten championships — a place the Wolverines haven’t been since 2004.

For now, it appears to be a three-horse sprint among a guy with the most experience at Michigan, Shane Morris; Houston transfer John O’Korn, who has the most on-the-job training; and redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight, a kid who has thus far impressed enough to separate himself slightly from the pack.

The Wolverines have a lot of things in place to make a run at some really big goals and continue a restoration project HGTV would be envious of… if they can find a quarterback that won’t pee on the neighbors’ bushes when given a little longer leash in games when it’ll be needed.

Terry Johnson: On Twitter @SectionTPJ 

While there will be many exciting quarterback battles across the land, the one that interests me the most is the three-way competition at Utah to replace Travis Wilson.

Most people will read that last sentence and think the Utes are in trouble at the position. After all, the conventional wisdom in college football states that “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.”

That’s not the case for Kyle Whittingham’s squad. Unlike other programs which have to choose between the lesser of two evils, Utah has three talented triggermen that are more than capable of leading the team to the Pac-12 title game.

In other words: choosing just one guy is the real “problem,” because you could make a case for any of the top three contenders. Brandon Cox is entering his fourth season with the program, and impressed coaches with his decision making this spring. However, Troy Williams is actually the most experienced player of the three, playing five games for Washington in 2014, including extensive action against two top-15 opponents in which he completed 63.9% of his passes.

And who could forget true freshman Tyler Huntley? Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year didn’t disappoint in the spring game, completing 17 of 26 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown. Much like Eason at Georgia, Huntley left no doubt that he has what it takes to succeed at the college level this season.

So, who’s it going to be?

As long as he’s healthy, I think it will be Williams, since Whittingham said he was the most impressive of the three before he got injured.

Regardless, expect this competition to continue well into fall camp and possibly into the regular season. These three players are that good.

Joe Dexter: On Twitter @BuckeyeRadio

The most intriguing quarterback battle across the country has to be taking place in South Bend, where head coach Brian Kelly has to decide during the fall if DeShone Kizer or Malik Zaire is his quarterback of 2016.

Even though both guys have proven to be high-level signal callers, Kelly understands — especially after witnessing what happened at Ohio State last year — that he has to stick with one guy and live with it.

What’s intriguing to me in this battle is not who will come out on top, but if DeShone Kizer can even make a play to the coaching staff that he is the perfect fit for the offense.

It’s not that Kizer didn’t show enough in his sophomore campaign to lead or make plays. He stepped up in dramatic fashion. The Irish found themselves in the thick of the College Football Playoff chase in the final game of the season. The junior has continued to impress the coaching staff with his leadership qualities this spring. He continues to improve on the nuances of the game.

The problem is that senior Malik Zaire has the perfect skill set to run the Brian Kelly offense.

He shredded the Texas defense in his first home start of his career, going 19-22 for 313 yards and three touchdown passes. In the 38-3 blowout, Zaire led his team down the field 90 or more yards two times. He controlled the offense and picked apart any formation thrown at him.

An injury derailed his season the following week against Virginia, and Kizer took advantage of it, yet it’s hard to deny that Malik Zaire has been Brian Kelly’s guy.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out in fall camp.