What's next for quarterback 1-b?

Trevor Siemian struggled mightily against Wisconsin and Minnesota. He played just one snap in Iowa before Kain Colter went down with a temporary injury.

They got sick of the question when it was incessantly asked all preseason: How do you balance Kain and Trevor?

Each quarterback resorted to complimenting the other, saying that playing time is irrelevant so long as the team is winning. Pat Fitzgerald would share even less on the subject. After Saturday's loss to the Hawkeyes, the team still isn't winning, and playing time clearly matters.

When Trevor Siemian finally got the call on Saturday, he was sacked by Iowa's Mike Hardy. That was all Pat Fitzgerald and Mick McCall needed to see, as they relegated Siemian to the sideline for the rest of the afternoon.

Fitzgerald was vocal about his displeasure with Siemian holding the ball for too long in Northwestern's losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota, when Colter was unable to play. It seems that same issue came into question again Saturday, and Fitzgerald's short leash is reflective of just how much faith he's lost in Northwestern's pocket passer this month. Is there a worse attribute for a quarterback than "indecisive?"

"I wouldn't say surprised," Colter said when asked about his playing time. "All of those decisions come from up top. We just have to be ready to go, wherever they need you at. If they needed me to go at receiver, I would've, but we didn't go that way today."

They may not be going that way for the foreseeable future. Whatever happened to Siemian since Oct. 5 remains to be seen, but it appears that Northwestern's coaches are having as much of a confidence issue with quarterback 1-b as he's having with himself.

Here's one thing we do know: without Siemian at his best, Northwestern can't throw the ball well enough. A Colter-led offense Saturday was reminiscent of some of the wins from 2012, when Demetrius Fields would lead the team with three catches for 40 yards and the Wildcat offense ran on two-thirds of its plays.

This year, the offensive line is abysmal, and when playing to his potential, Siemian has been able to lift the offense to an important extra dimension. Strictly Colter might not cut it, especially a Colter not at 100 percent.

The 2013 season is effectively over, but Siemian is still around in 2014, and any issues — especially mental ones — can't afford to be multiplied as Northwestern continues to tailspin. His play this month hasn't been excusable by any means, but with Colter's offense going for just 10 points Saturday, let's hope quarterback 1B doesn't become quarterback no. 2.


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