Starting College QBs Named & Then One Unnamed?

It’s that time of year. With less than 2 weeks to go to the kickoff of the 2006 college football season decisions are being made regarding who will start and who won’t. And many of those decisions have to do with quarterbacking.

The strangest announcement came from the Arizona State Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter who named senior Sam Keller the starting QB on Friday, August 19, only to change his mind two days later, naming sophomore Rudy Carpenter to the starting position! Keller left Arizona State and on Wednesday it was reported that he would enroll at Nebraska this year, where he will be red shirted for the season. He’s expected to play his final college season as a Cornhusker in 2007.

Koetter, who changed his call after meeting with the school’s athletic director and team leaders, explained his reversal by saying, “It’s simple. I made a mistake on the quarterback situation and I’m changing my mind.” (A side note to coach Koetter– save “changing your mind” for less public venues, like the drive through at McDonalds.)

USC coach Pete Carroll named junior John David Booty as the team’s starting quarterback yesterday and so far has NOT changed his mind (and don’t expect him to). Booty, who was the backup for the phenomenal Matt Leinart, beat out Mark Sanchez for the starting job.

Of both his 2006 quarterbacks reported that Pete Carroll said, “I’m not worried about these guys at all. Matt [Lineart] followed Carson [Palmer] and was able to get it going. It took Matt about four or five games before he got it rocking.”

(If Pete Carroll has a moment, he may be able to give Dirk Koetter a crash course on “Leading with Confidence.”)

Utah’s coach Kyle Whittingham has named Brett Ratliff at the Utes’ starting QB. Ratliff took over the position for the team’s final two games of the 2005 season but had to prove himself and win the job over Tommy Grady.

Whittingham observed, “It was a close call. It was a great competition, but we just felt that Brett’s experience last year combined with that he was doing just a little bit better job with the first offense in camp was the reason for the decision.”

(Coach Koetter may want to take some notes here. Observe that Whittingham said “we just felt” and NOT “I just felt. Sounds like maybe he talked to the A.D. and team leaders before announcing his choice.)

Finally, ESPN reported that UCLA coach Karl Dorrell has chosen Ben Olson over Patrick Cowan as the starting QB. This is no surprise to anyone. The Bruins open their season at the Rose Bowl on September 2 against the Utes and their recently chosen starter Brett Ratliff.

(I’m betting neither coach changes his mind before the game.)

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