Thursday, March 14, 2013
Poll: Most interesting spring QB race
By Adam Rittenberg
Quarterback competitions will dominate the discussion around the Big Ten this spring, as more than half the teams are unsettled under center. We broke down each race earlier, and now it's time to identify which QB battle interests you the most.
My vote goes to Wisconsin because the Badgers have three one-time starters in the mix -- Joel Stave, Curt Phillips and Danny O'Brien -- along with their most heralded quarterback recruit in years (Bart Houston). But other races have their own intrigue.
Our poll limits us to five options, and here they are ...
Indiana -- Tre Roberson returns from a leg injury to try to reclaim his starting job. Roberson was the Hoosiers' No. 1 signal-caller entering 2012 and had a strong start to the season before suffering a broken leg in Week 2. He'll compete against junior Cameron Coffman, who started Indiana's final 10 games last fall, and sophomore Nate Sudfeld, who backed up Coffman in 2012 and boasts terrific size and arm strength.
Iowa -- Jake Rudock backed up James Vandenberg throughout last season but didn't take a single snap even though the offense struggled. He certainly could be next in line for the Hawkeyes, but Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard also are in the mix. Sokol is a junior-college transfer who redshirted last year after throwing for 3,807 yards with 43 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. Beathard led the state of Tennessee in passing during his high school senior year.
Michigan State -- Andrew Maxwell started all 13 games last season for the Spartans and will enter the spring as the team's No. 1 quarterback. He still has the support of head coach Mark Dantonio, but he'll have to distance himself from Connor Cook and Tyler O'Connor. Cook replaced Maxwell in Michigan State's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl win against TCU. O'Connor, who redshirted in 2012, participated in the Elite 11 quarterback camp in high school.
Penn State -- Last spring, Matt McGloin separated himself to win the starting job. Penn State hopes to see similar growth from Steven Bench, who backed up McGloin in 2012 but attempted only eight passes. Bench will compete with junior-college arrival Tyler Ferguson, who passed for 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns in 10 games for The College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif.
Wisconsin -- As mentioned above, the Badgers have a crowded mix at quarterback after starting three different players last season. Stave is back after being sidelined by a collarbone injury, while Phillips received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. Houston dazzled during bowl practices, and O'Brien tries to get back in the mix after falling down the depth chart last fall. The candidates try to impress offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and a new coaching staff.
It's time to vote. Make yours count.