Ousting a QB is tough

Staff WriterApril 16, 2010 

There are eight incumbent quarterback starters among the ACC's 12 football teams, and with the possible exceptions of Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt and Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor, all faced challenges to their jobs in spring drills.

Guess how many officially lost their starting spots?

Not a one. Not even N.C. State's Russell Wilson, who didn't even go through most of the spring work.

That's hardly unusual, be it in the ACC or at any other level of college competition. Returning quarterback starters almost never lose their jobs during the offseason.

While there's usually some depth-chart changes at several positions - particularly among kickers and wide receivers - coaches are reluctant to tinker with the quarterback pecking order until (and usually after) fall camp.

Even first-year coaches are likely to give a veteran quarterback starter the benefit of the doubt through spring drills.

The logic is sound. Game experience at quarterback is more important than at any other position. On-the-job quarterback training is something most coaches try to avoid.

In the Wolfpack's case, No. 2 Mike Glennon can't do enough in Saturday's Kay Yow Spring Football Game to push Wilson out of the picture.

At North Carolina, where senior T.J. Yates was outplayed last week by more talented redshirt freshman Bryn Renner in the Tar Heels' spring game, Butch Davis stopped miles short of saying Renner would be No. 1 entering August workouts.

When and where the time will be right for Renner will be a tricky decision facing Davis.

With some luck, Carolina may not need a huge offensive showing to beat or scare Louisiana State in its Sept. 4 opening game at Atlanta.

It's certainly not the perfect place and opponent for Carolina's staff to rush Renner to the front.

Win or lose the opener, the next step for Davis isn't much easier. After a week off, his team will be back in Chapel Hill for a Sept. 18 game against Georgia Tech that will go far in deciding the Coastal Division final standings, maybe even a spot in the Dec. 4 league title game in Charlotte.

In a perfect world, Davis would like to flip-flop games 3 and 4 - Rutgers and ECU - with LSU and Georgia Tech. That would give him more breathing room to review Renner in live fire.

But the schedule isn't going to get rewritten at this point, and neither is Carolina's depth chart at quarterback. Renner's chance is coming, but even Davis may not know exactly when.

caulton.tudor@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8946

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