It seems like we have written this article a lot the past few years. Last year John Wolford took the job by the horns in camp and pretty much squashed any quarterback controversy with his performance.
When there is a controversy, or at least an open ended question about who will be the quarterback, a conversation begins to develop about the merits of a two quarterback system or picking one quarterback and riding it out.
I am definitely a firm believer that if you have two quarterbacks then you have no quarterbacks, and I think that a team is most successful when a staff picks a quarterback and gives him the reins. At this point in the fall we have, as far as we know, an open competition between true freshman Sam Hartman and redshirt sophomore Jamie Newman.
Newman has been taking the first snaps on first team, but Hartman has also been taking snaps with the ones.
Obviously somebody will eventually emerge out of Hartman and Newman, but this doesn’t even take into account the presumed starter in Kendall Hinton, is suspended for the first three games. When Hinton gets back after his suspension what is going to happen? The first game he will be eligible to play in once his suspension is over is Notre Dame, which could be one of the bigger games in Wake Forest history, especially if the Deacs are 3-0 heading into it.
If Wake is 3-0 then likely whoever won the QB position is doing a pretty good job, and that brings up whether or not you keep the guy in there, or slide back in Hinton and hope for the best.
The best thing working in the favor of whoever wins the job is the talent that he will have around him. The offensive line, wide receiver, and running back positions are all as loaded as Wake has possibly ever had. It’s like giving a 16 year old the keys to a Ferrari and hoping for the best. It can be a helluva lot of fun, but there may be some crashes involved as well.
Additionally, while Tulane could pose a stronger threat than a lot of people think, it is nice to start with a G5 team and then an FCS team before welcoming Boston College into Winston-Salem.
The way that the staff handles not only who initially wins the quarterback job, but also whether or not Hinton will be allowed to take over for the Notre Dame game, will go a long way towards the early season success of the team.
I haven’t seen a single snap of pre-season practices so I can’t make a call one way or the other between Newman and Hartman, but when both guys haven’t taken a lot of snaps (or any in Hartman’s case) in college and are roughly similar in skill level/what they bring to the table now, I tend to favor the younger guy because you have more potential for growth and the ceiling is usually higher.
However, one final variable here is how the staff wants to handle Hartman’s playing time with the new redshirting rule. Does the staff want to keep his redshirt on if Newman looks good? I’m not sure what their thoughts on that are, but Hartman can only play in four games if that is the case. Hinton’s suspension may have taken Hartman’s redshirt year away, and we have seen with Wolford how valuable that final year can be.
If the past is any indication then I would guess that the staff will name a starter the week before the Tulane game and that QB will be THE guy unless he is really struggling. I’m not trying to read too much into everything, but with the staff experimenting a bit with Hinton at punt and kick return I think that there is a reasonable expectation that he will not take over at QB right when he gets back.
What do you guys think? Are you in favor of both guys getting a shot in the early going? Should the staff redshirt Hartman and think to the future, or should we go ahead and play him if he’s the best? How should they handle Hinton when he comes back?
Hit us up in the comments and let us know!