until Texas vs Kansas

Wednesday, September 7


Gameday Breakdown: Quarterbacks

The first installment of many as we prepare for the big game. First up, quarterbacks.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said he plans to use two quarterbacks on Saturday, though he declined to divulge his intended usage pattern, for obvious reasons. Last week’s starter, junior Justin Zwick, was highly efficient last week, completing 17 of 23 passes for 155 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He’ll be sharing the duties with junior Troy Smith, making his first appearance of the year following a one game suspension.

Zwick was pretty bad last year, completing only 52% of his passes, with an equal number of touchdowns and interceptions (6). Smith was much better, completing 56% of his passes, with 8 touchdowns against three interceptions.

The short of it is that neither of these quarterbacks is brilliant. Smith is the more effective thrower, but he won’t blow you away. That the Texas game will be his first of the year can’t help, either. Texas can expect to see a lot of quick, timing passes in attempts to nullify Gene Chizik’s blitzing schemes and get the ball in his best playmakers hands quickly.

On the other sidelines, Texas will trot out a Heisman candidate in Vince Young. Clearly the best rushing/passing quarterback in the college game, with apologies to Brad Smith and others. The problem for Young is a lack of quality options at wide receiver. David Thomas is a fantastic receiving tight end, but beyond that, there are lots of question marks.

That said, Young is still a threat to score every time he touches the ball, which is, thankfully, every play. Given Greg Davis’ tendency to wear a thong and skirt to big games, it seems unlikely Texas will be terribly aggressive throwing the ball. Vince Young will leave his mark on this game, no doubt about it. Whether that means a dominating performance or a big-time letdown will go a long way toward determining Vince Young’s Heisman chances, and Texas’ hopes for a national title chance.



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