“If you have two quarterbacks you have no quarterbacks,” the old football adage tells us.
After Rutgers’s second 300 yard passing performance in just three games after ZERO the past three seasons, perhaps there is some hope alive. There’s basically five choices of how to proceed at this point, though some make a lot more sense than others. Of course if McLane Carter is not healthy that changes the equation, but hopefully he is ready for action sooner than later.
Option 1: Redshirt Sitkowski. He can still play two more games, but that hopefully gives Rutgers three more years of his development now that he showed improvement.
Option 2: Bench Carter no matter what happens, since bowl eligibility is all but impossible.
Option 3: Take it week by week. Whoever practices better, starts.
Option 4: Start Carter and use Sitkowski off the bench to reduce the pressure on him and avoid 2018 comparisons.
Option 5: Start Sitkowski and only go to Carter if Art is having a vintage 2018 day.
Option 6: Other. Please tell us in the comments.
My preference prior to the season was Option 1, but at this point we are pretty much beyond that making sense. If Carter was healthy AND the team completely backed him which only those on the inside would know, then maybe you throw him to the wolves at Michigan and hope for some magic. As I have said to Aaron and still believe to be true, I think Carter has enough gunslinger in him to lead the team to at least one win during the “winnable” stretch even with the obvious limitations of coaching and roster.
The folks on the Option 2 train at this point would basically be saying start Art and use Johnny Langan as a backup. Use Cole Snyder in four games to get his feet wet. Of course this assumes that decreases the chances of transfer portal losses across the entire team. For those who wanted this option before the season to precipitate a coaching change, you may be able to call off the dogs.
Option 3 is a fine idea at other positions, but I find it important that the players believe in their starting quarterback.
Up until the BC game, I was on the option 4 train. The traditional football thinking is that you start the guy who is experienced and can take a pounding if things don’t start off well regardless of why. Then you go to the young guy in a lower pressure situation as the team is already trailing to continue to get his reps in and allow you to call plays to not necessarily win but build on moving forward. This is mostly how football was coached for a long, long time. The other reason I liked this is that the offense gets nothing out of games like Iowa where QB play is so bad that there’s nothing to build on or even be sure how well the other 10 positions on the field played. We need to ensure that we maximize the time linemen and skill position players can get successful plays under their belts.
After what I saw last weekend, I am firmly on the option 5 train now which is what Rutgers did when they had Ray Lucas and Bryan Fortay. Sitkowski showed enough skills that he could possibly (though still not probably) take this job and run with it. This gets him reps to build on, probably reduces his chances of entering the transfer portal, and gives the best long-term outcome if it does work. Then if Sitkowski is playing like he did against Illinois last year as the line of demarcation or worse (i.e. Maryland, Kansas, Penn State, Buffalo etc.), you just insert McLane Carter. Carter will surely be able to come off the bench and throw the ball around the yard a bit without any fear. This will loosen up the squad and if he takes a few hits in obvious passing situations, no big deal. He’s tough and not the 2020 or 2021 answer anyway. I think Carter has enough magic to lead one amazing comeback like Fortay did against Virginia Tech, whereas Art gives me less confidence in that area still at this point in time. Rutgers was hesitant to do this with Giovanni Rescigno, but McLane Carter is a better thrower. Then if things are really beyond comeback (i.e. down 28 in the 4th) let Cole Snyder or Johnny Langan throw a few balls. I expect plenty of those games and if not, even better!
Option 6 is what now?
Please give us a vote and provide commentary below.
What should be the QB philosophy at RU moving forward in 2019?
This poll is closed
Option 1: Redshirt Sitkowski.
Option 2: Bench Carter no matter what.
Option 3: Week by week meritocracy.
Option 4: Start Carter and use Sitkowski for a jolt.
Option 5: Start Sitkowski but don’t wait to go to Carter if we see multiple pick sixes.
Option 6: I’ll explain in the comments.