Monday, March 11, 2013
SEC QB battles to watch this spring
By Edward Aschoff
Now that spring practice is really gearing up for teams around the SEC, we thought we'd take a look at the most popular position battle for this time of year: the quarterback battle.
Spring practice is basically devoted to easy installation and going through the motions, but when you hear that there's even a hint of controversy at the quarterback position, all eyes are fixated on that area of the team until it's absolutely settled. That's natural, considering it's the most important position on the field.
Also, you either really love your quarterback or really despise him and love the backup instead.
The SEC has quite a few quarterback battles to keep an eye on this spring, and here they are:
Brandon Allen vs. Brandon Mitchell: Allen was Tyler Wilson's backup last year, but Mitchell brings much more athleticism to the position. Allen enters the spring with the advantage after getting more time at QB last year while Mitchell spent last year taking more reps at wide receiver. But with a new staff in Fayetteville, Mitchell will get a chance to compete for the starting spot. Mitchell has 332 career passing yards with three touchdowns to one interception. Allen has passed for 186 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Kiehl Frazier vs. Jonathan Wallace: With Gus Malzahn back, Frazier will be much more comfortable in his spread offense. Both are built for the spread, but Frazier is the better athlete. He's certainly more comfortable throwing the ball now, compared to his freshman year, but Frazier has to get even more comfortable this spring. Wallace was a pleasant surprise for the Tigers last year, and ended the year as the Tigers' starter. Frazier might have more experience, but both will start the spring on relatively equal footing.
Maxwell Smith vs. Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles: If not for an injury-plagued 2012, Smith would be the overwhelming favorite to land the starting job for the Wildcats. He enters the spring as the favorite, but after Whitlow and Towles both played last year as true freshmen, new coach Mark Stoops will get a chance to see all three really compete this spring. Whitlow and Towles both had rough introductions to the SEC, but their athleticism should really make this a fun competition to watch this spring.
James Franklin vs. Maty Mauk vs. Corbin Berkstresser: Like Smith, Franklin would be the overwhelming favorite here if not for all those injuries last fall. But because he limped his way through 2012, the coaches will have to get Mauk and Berkstresser more reps this spring. Franklin is the starter, but keep an eye on Mauk. The coaches think he fits the offense as well as anyone, and he arrived last year with a ton of recruiting hype. He's also been compared to Brad Smith, who started as a freshman. If Franklin slips, Mauk could make a move. Berkstresser also got valuable experience last year and should push Franklin even more this spring.
Justin Worley vs. Nathan Peterman: With Tyler Bray gone, the quarterback spot really is up for grabs in Knoxville. Worley was Bray's backup the past two years and has 738 career passing yards to his name. He also has just one touchdown and five interceptions. Peterman is much more athletic than Worley and was actually recruited by new Tennessee coach Butch Jones and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian at Cincinnati. This one should be very fun.
Austyn Carta-Samuels vs. Patton Robinette: Vandy's coaches should be excited about this one. Jordan Rodgers is gone, but he has two very capable guys looking to replace him. Carta-Samuels started two years at Wyoming before transferring to Vandy, while Robinette has a ton of athleticism to work with. Robinette redshirted last year, but his dual-threat ability will make him very tough for Carta-Samuels to run away from.