Two Too Many?
When Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier suffered a deep thigh bruise against Michigan State last Saturday (page 32), it raised anew the specter of a future quarterback controversy between Frazier and Brook Berringer. It also raises this question: Is a quarterback controversy necessarily a bad thing? Nebraska is one of several top programs—USC, Florida and Oklahoma are three others—that may shuffle quarterbacks as the season progresses. "Ask any coach, 'Would you rather have one quarterback or two?' " says USC coach John Robinson. "I think the answer is pretty obvious. People make a lot of false assumptions about two-quarterback situations."
Here are four common assumptions:
?We all have to get along.
It's no secret that Frazier and Berringer don't get along. Yet Nebraska coach Tom Osborne steered clear of an even nastier quarterback imbroglio before last year's Orange Bowl by adhering to his policy that no starter loses his job because of injury. "And who cares if they don't get along," says USC quarterback Brad Otton, who will share time this fall with Kyle Wachholtz. "Their arrangement seemed to work out O.K. last year." Which brings us to the next fallacy....
?You can't win a national championship by rotating two quarterbacks.
USC might try this fall. Robinson plans to use Otton and Wachholtz for the first few games, citing the fact that the Trojans won national championships with rotating quarterbacks in 1962 and '72. "We've overemphasized the importance of quarterbacks around here," Robinson says. "We need to get away from that philosophy."
? Steve Spurrier is crazy.
The Florida coach was heavily criticized last fall for his midseason benching of senior Heisman candidate Terry Dean. That act has prompted speculation that junior starter Danny Wuerffel, who is being pushed by talented junior Eric Kresser, faces the same fate as Dean. "Steve will only change a quarterback if he thinks one guy is clearly better than the other," says Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel. "It's really a pretty simple philosophy. He knows what he's doing." In fact, more than half of the 57 coaches who responded to a preseason Newsday poll voted him the best offensive mind in college football.
?Having a clear-cut starter is always the preferable situation.