Quarterback

How do you replace the all-time winningest quarterback in college football history? A couple of options: 1. Cloning. Pros: Same guy, don’t have to update media guide, Kirby not so lonely. Cons: Ethical dilemma, security wouldn’t let me take a Kellen hair sample at a signing event at the Pro Image in the mall 2. Sign Peyton Manning. Opportunity missed. 3. You don’t. You simply stop playing football because really what’s the point now that you’ve seen someone do it to perfection? 4. Joe Southwick. The fourth option is the one that Bronco Nation feared when Kellen Moore threw his last pass last December. Joe Southwick has no pocket presence! Joe Southwick fumbles like it’s going out of style! Joe Southwick is Facebook friends with Jared Zabransky! These were all completely rational fears that Bronco fans shared in the buildup to spring practice and the opening salvo of The Quarterback Competition to End All Quarterback Competitions. But a funny thing happened on the way to our hating Joe Southwick. Southwick was less awful than we remembered. He played competently in the spring game - more than competently if your bar for competence was not fumbling snaps and not throwing interceptions and not leaving the pocket after one-Mississippi and the whisper of a D-lineman. He went 14-for-19 with 145 yards and a scrimmage-winning touchdown. “Those are good stats!” said everyone under their breath as they left the stadium. The only thing that could stop the Southwick Train after the spring game was the Nick Patti Monorail. The true freshman from Orlando played well enough that the enormous

contingent of Patti fans had reason to not stop believin’ in a Patti-fueled offense. Kellen Moore started as a freshman. Nick Patti could start as a freshman. Life will be okay! One summer later, Southwick and Patti remain the leaders in the QB race … along with Jimmy Laughrea … and Grant Hedrick … so yeah we’re really no closer to finding out who the starting quarterback is than we were in January. We may think we are, but Coach Pete has told us we are not. He will give the final answer before kickoff on August 31. Probably. Until then, all other answers are guesses. If spring served to provide anything, it was reassurance. The Boise State offense will be okay with Southwick at the helm. Our personal lives might not be, but the offense will. Nick Patti would be great, Jimmy Laughrea would be interesting, Grant Hedrick would be fun. Joe Southwick, previously terrible, is now allowable. No matter who the quarterback is, the Bronco offense will be a more mobile version of itself this year. Each of the four quarterbacks can move in ways that Moore couldn’t, specifically “quickly,” “athletically,” and “fast.” Hedrick is the best runner of the bunch and will likely factor into Wildcat packages regardless of where he falls on the QB depth chart. Laughrea has the strongest arm, which Jamarcus Russell can tell you is not as helpful as it sounds. He may factor into Hail Mary packages. Patti gets compared to Moore all the time because both are short and both can pass the lights out. Patti can move, too, so I’m not sure how the comparisons rationalize that. Southwick does many things well. He doesn’t run as well as Hedrick or throw as far as Laughrea or resemble Moore as well as Patti. But he has experience on his side, which is one of Coach Pete’s favorite character traits. All things being equal, I would expect Southwick to get the job based on his familiarity with the offense and his seniority. Those are qualities that Nick Patti cannot easily overcome, not this year at least. Too bad we can’t find a compromise. If I had things my way, I’d take Hedrick’s legs and stick them on Nick Patti’s eligibility with Jimmy Laughrea’s right arm then let Joe Southwick mentor my creation. There are many reasons why I’m not a college football coach; this is one of them.

Patti Rankings
1. Hamburger 2. Nick 3. Chicken 4. Turkey 5. Crabby 6. Sandi 7. Hearst 8. Peppermint

Catty rankings
1. Real Housewives 2. Kardashians 3. Mean girls 4. Corner