Quarterbacks questioned in Big Ten

· Sep 25, 2001 Tweet

While half of the league has settled on who is going to be taking the snaps during the games, the other half is still debating who is worthy of the number-one spot, and whether or not a two-quarterback lineup is just as effective.

Although it’s the position that decides how the offense is ran, several teams in the Big Ten are struggling to find consistency from their respective quarterbacks.

As the stats stand from the conclusion of the non-conference schedule, Michigan State used two passers in Jeff Smoker and Ryan Van Dyke, Minnesota used the duo of Travis Cole and Asad Abdul-Khaliq, Purdue got passing yards from a combination of Montrell Lowe and Joey Harris, Penn State switched between Zack Mills and Matt Senneca, and Wisconsin used both Brooks Bollinger in its first four games of the season.

The reason behind using a combination is different for each team, but most schools are still trying to find the clear-cut number-one passer.

Michigan State head coach Bobby Williams has made his quarterback decision, choosing to go with Jeff Smoker (255 yards, one touchdown) over Ryan Van Dyke (243 yards, four touchdowns).

“Jeff Smoker will be starting this week,” Williams said. “Ryan [Van Dyke] will come in at some point in time.”

Other coaches have also made their decision as to who they want taking the snaps for their offense.

After debating between who would be the main quarterback, either Antwaan Randle El or Tommy Jones, Indiana head coach Cam Cameron has decided to go with Randle El as his starter.

“It was unforced errors that kept us from being successful in that first game and you owe it to your football team now to go in another direction, and we’re going to go in the direction that gives us the best opportunity to win at this time,” Cameron said.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel agrees that Randle El is a dangerous player at quarterback.

“Every time Randle [El] has the ball in his hands it can be a problem,” Tressel said.

Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez has made a choice as to whom his No. 1 quarterback will be. After starter Brooks Bollinger sat out two games after he suffered a bruised liver, he returned to the lineup against Penn State last weekend. For now, Alvarez is planning on keeping him in the lineup.

“[Bollinger] took his spot back over,” Alvarez said of his QB retaining his position now that he’s back from his injury.

While Wisconsin and Indiana recently finalized their depth chart at the QB position, Iowa had its lineup settled long before the season even began.

“I don’t think you flip a coin,” Ferentz said. “No matter how close it is, somebody earns the job and then somebody else has to take second seat.”

Big Ten falters in non-conference: In its last weekend of non-conference play, the Big Ten struggled against opponents, causing all conference teams to remain absent of the top 15 in the polls.

Ohio State dropped out of the polls this week after losing to UCLA, who moved up in both polls after their victory over the Buckeyes.

“When you don’t execute the fundamental things like getting that extra point which we missed one against UCLA which I think had a big emotional slow in the game,” Tressel said of his team’s loss last weekend.
Five Big Ten teams did remain in the polls this week, with Michigan, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois and Michigan State rounding out the bottom half of both of the polls.

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This article was published Sep 25, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 25, 2001 at 12:00 am

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