Ron Kantowski: Starting QBs get all the ink
You can tell it’s almost football season.
Newspapers and internet blogs have been chock full of reports over the past few days of this college or that one naming starting quarterbacks, and a lot of people have stopped following stock-car racing and the Washington Nationals.
There also were stories about beaucoup home runs being hit at the Little League World Series, and how those kids were awfully big for 12- and 13-year-olds.
But it has mostly been about naming quarterbacks.
From Fox.com: “Maryland names starting quarterback for opener.”
From SI.com: “Oregon names transfer Vernon Adams starting quarterback.”
From Indystar.com: “Austin Appleby named Purdue’s starting quarterback.”
From CBSSports.com: “UCLA names freshman Josh Rosen its starting quarterback.”
From wyff4.com: “Spurrier names starting quarterback.”
From collegesportsblog.com: “Oklahoma names former Texas Tech walk-on Baker Mayfield starting quarterback.”
And so on.
From Air Force to Wyoming (which isn’t actually that far, but as far as it gets in the college football alphabet) institutions of higher learning and four-star recruits are naming starting quarterbacks. It has become a ritual. You just can’t have a starting quarterback. You have to name one.
A Google search “... names starting quarterback” turned up 2.74 million clickable entries in 0.47 seconds. Not all of these stories were written or blogged over the past few days. It just seems like it.
I also found stories early Monday that said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was “still reluctant” to name a starting quarterback, and that the Georgia Bulldogs were “in no rush” to identify one. Both Fisher and Georgia coach Mark Richt finally made the calls following afternoon practice, with the Seminoles going with Notre Dame senior graduate transfer Everett Golson and the Bulldogs to be led by Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert.
Georgia’s first opponent, Louisiana Monroe, plays in the Sun Belt Conference and went 4-8 last season. So Georgia didn’t need to name a quarterback for the season opener, just a couple of Herschel Walker clones to run between the hedges as they say down there.
Florida State opens with Texas State. Same thing. The Seminoles could beat Texas State with that triple-threat quarterback from your old electric football game, the one that flung spring-loaded felt footballs completely out of the vibrating stadium and beyond the aquarium, where they invariably got lost in your mom’s shag carpet.
Anyway, as Southern Cal coach Steve Sarkisian might have put it at a boosters meeting: “Fight the (bleep) on!”
Another Google search revealed that Sarkisian named Cody Kessler the Trojans’ starting quarterback on April 16, probably right before happy hour.
Meanwhile, I came across just one story written in the past week about starting offensive guards being announced. But only in the context of the entire O-line.
From Sun-sentinel.com: “Canes offensive line coach Art Kehoe names starting group.”
Only two of the five appeared in the photo. One assumes the next Michael Oher will not emerge from Art Kehoe’s starting group.
It’s possible that all these stories about starting quarterbacks being named is all the media’s fault. The media has a fascination with starting quarterbacks being named, and with covering spring football practice.
Still, I wouldn’t believe college football coaches when they talk about every guy at State U., and every position, being important as the next. If coaches really believed this, they’d call news conferences to name starting offensive guards.
One need only click as far as Wikipedia to dismiss coaching rhetoric about quarterbacks and offensive guards being of paramount equality:
“The quarterback is the leader of the offense. The quarterback touches the ball on almost every play, and his successes and failures can have a significant impact on the fortunes of his team.”
“In American and Canadian football, a guard (G) is a player who lines up between the center and tackles on the line of scrimmage.”
Also, I wouldn’t believe the stuff about special teams being as important as offense and defense.
Having watched Bobby Hauck’s UNLV teams attempt to execute myriad fake punts over the past five years, and commit other special teams atrocities, I believe this to be true. But if these coaches really believe special teams are equally important, they’d put their best players on them, instead of walk-ons majoring in general studies with duplicate jersey numbers.
When UNLV takes the field for the first time in the Tony Sanchez Era — the media and people who put up billboards near the airport also are fond of referring to coaching tenures as eras — at Northern Illinois on Saturday, Blake Decker will be the Rebels’ starting quarterback.
It was announced (more or less) by Sanchez on April 19 that Decker would reprise that role.
This is why the media covering Florida State and Georgia were so antsy that Jimbo Fisher and Mark Richt would get with the program.
The media covering Southern Cal, meanwhile, are eagerly awaiting Saturday’s game against Arkansas State, if for no other reason to see if starting quarterback Cody Kessler, the offensive guards and the special teams walk-ons, et al., plan to fight the (bleep) on, or whether that was just the alcohol talking.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him: @ronkantowski