COMMENTARY: Quarterback controversy at OSU

SO WHAT'S IT going to be. Does Ryan Katz start against Wisconsin or will it be Sean Mannion? Do both play again? Does Mike Riley try to ride the hot hand at Camp Randall Stadium? Answers to those questions won't come until later in the week, maybe not until game time if Riley wants to keep the Badgers guessing. One thing seems clear, however…

It feels like something of a mess from this vantage point. And it's not the first time Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf have had a quick hook for Ryan Katz, and some would argue it's been an overly quick hook.

After all, Lyle Moevao had some bad stretches as the starter. But he was allowed to work his way out of them, even as the vast majority of the fans were yelling, screaming, pleading for Sean Canfield to come in and save the day.

Not so with Katz. He was pulled in favor of backup Cody Vaz against WSU last year. Here, in 2011, after a full offseason of praise from Riley, he got all of one half in the opener before he was asked to pull up some pine for what turned out to be the rest of the game and watch Sean Mannion play into crunch time and beyond.

The biggest problem in all of this is Katz is now going to be looking over his shoulder, he's probably going to feel like he can't do anything wrong or he'll get the hook. Instead of going out there and playing his game, he's going to press, going to try to make the spectacular play.

And then if things go wrong, he'll press harder. And then failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The biggest strike against Katz might be that he's not a vocal leader type, preferring to lead by example.

Riley and Langsdorf consistently chose Moevao over Canfield and it sure as hell wasn't because of Moevao's mechanics or his consistency. Many think it was mostly because Moevao was the fiery, vocal type that got his teammates going.

It didn't matter if Moevao wasn't as polished a thrower, nor that his arm strength was below average. He gave the Beavs, in Riley and Langsdorf's opinion, the best chance to win because of his leadership qualities and ability to manage a game, and so Moevao got the nod.

Whatever the criteria may be this week, let's hope for one thing. Whether Riley keeps it under wraps publicly or not, pick a guy. Pick the guy. And then run with him.

Because a game of musical chairs at the QB spot likely only means more pain.

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