And the starting QB is...........

As people local and around the country have anticipated the announcement of who will be NU's starting QB this weekend, much speculation has been around whether it would be Mike Stuntz starting with Lord backing him up, Lord starting with Mike doing likewise or would even the true freshman, Curt Dukes be given the nod and pulled out of his redshirt year. Coach Frank Solich put those rumors to rest today.

Prior to today's walk-through, coach Frank Solich announced his new starting line-up at QB." Jammal Lord will start at quarterback and Mike Stuntz will go in second and Curt Dukes will redshirt."

Some might find this a bit of a shocking line-up as literally nothing has changed other than the fact that all the rumors behind Curt Dukes coming out can finally be put to rest. With the recent performance of Lord and the refusal to acknowledge who the starting QB would be this week, it was the assumption that Stuntz would take the field as the number one. Though that isn't the case, Stuntz will be going in second, taking some of the snaps.

Solich stated that this decision wasn't easy and certainly wasn't one they came to right away. "We looked at a lot of things throughout the course of the week." Solich stated. "We looked at where we are at offensively and that involves a lot of different issues. Certainly, we do not have 11 guys operating with proficiency play after play to keep us alive and a lot of times, that will come back and have to be shouldered by the QB, but there are many factors as to why we are not performing like we should be."

With the solidity at least in terms of how the coaches are looking at the quarterback position, people can now concentrate on either Lord or Stuntz. The redshirting of Curt Dukes will come as confusing to some and others will breathe a big sigh of relief. Much of the opinions I have seen have been pointed to Dukes not wasting a year, rather keeping the redshirt on, learning the system and having four years to contribute. It turns out, that's not just what the fans wanted as whole, it was what Curt wanted as well. "It's clear that Curt would like to redshirt (this year), so we will move in that direction." Solich stated.

Solich pointed out that this decision was made after a week of evaluations had taken place. Evaluations of the offense, the potential, the weaknesses and of course, how each QB practiced throughout.. Lord's persistence to push through what looked like certain benching along with his practice habits despite the controversy contributed to his being named number one for this weekend's game. "Even though it was very tough on him, he pushed through all that and I thought practiced well as the week went on."

"It's been tough on him, it's been tough on us all, but he's pushed his way through it."

Much had been made of the fact that certain players such as T.J. Hollowell questioned the decision, while others like Wilson Thomas simply voiced their support. Coach Solich stated that he wasn't aware of the player comments, but support for Jammal was team wide. "We are all supportive of Jammal. There's no question that he plays his heart out. Things have not worked well (for him), but there's a combination of reasons why they haven't worked."

People might not look at this move as productive or even smart. With all the speculation made up to this announcement, there has been a debate as to whether the offense needed a shake-up, not simply confined at the QB position. The coaches disagreed, keeping Jamml as the starter, but it would seem clear that Mike Stuntz will see significantly more time. Whether this little bit of drama actually helps however, that remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, if the rest of the offense doesn't increase their level of play, it won't matter who the starting signal caller is.

You can reach Steve Ryan at or 402-730-5619

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