Could Cats platoon QBs?

It wasn't too long ago that the Wildcats went with the two-quarterback platoon. Back then Dick Tomey used Keith Smith and Ortege Jenkins with mixed results. One season that combination led to the best season in school history and the next year was one of the greatest disappointments. Well Cat fans, get ready, we could see the two-headed quarterback in play this year. At least for a time.

Spring drills did little to resolve the quarterback controversy. Neither Ryan O'Hara or Nic Costa latched onto the job. Both had flashes of brilliance and also showed their flaws. John Mackovic joked at the time that a starting quarterback might not be named until late in the fall.

"We'll have a starter named before the first game," Mackovic laughed. Now that may even be a stretch. Mackovic said on Wednesday's Rich Herrera Show that the team could go into the season with two quarterbacks.

"The big question is, ‘who is going to play quarterback for us?'," Mackovic said during the interview on Fox Sports 1290. "I am always hopeful that someone will emerge, but based upon the spring I am not sure one will emerge that much ahead of the other. I anticipate that we may go into the fall playing two quarterbacks."

Mackovic has never employed the tactic before, but he has not gone into the season with inexperienced quarterbacks. The Cats will have two redshirt freshmen, a redshirt sophomore and a pair of true freshmen to choose from as his signal caller.

"I've never been one to be a two-quarterback guy, but I think that the best thing we need to do is let both quarterbacks show themselves so that we can identify who deserved to play," Mackovic said. "If we can't do that in training camp then early in the year it will likely be both of them playing."

Dick Tomey used the platoon system in 1998 and 1999. In '98 Smith and Jenkins teamed to lead the Cats to a 12-1 season and a Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska. The next year the Wildcats lost their last three and slipped to 6-6 in a season that saw them a preseason top-5 club.

Much like the Tomey platoon, Mackovic sees a team with two completely different players. O'Hara is a tall, lanky passer who is more of a traditional drop-back commodity. Costa is an athlete who is much more comfortable on the run.

Most teams struggle with the two-quarterback system. By the end of the '98 season Smith was taking most of the snaps. Ohio State did go to a Rose Bowl a few years back with a quarterback platoon. Stanley Jackson started every game, but Joe Germaine usually got the bulk of the pressure snaps.

This announcement may be a way to alleviate the pressure on his two young signal-callers, but Mackovic rarely mixes words, so it could very well be his intention to head into the season with two quarterbacks if needed. It should make for an interesting training camp to say the least.

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