It's the question on everyone's mind as Penn State heads into its season opener with Syracuse: Who will start at quarterback for the Nittany Lions once the offense takes the field? Maybe the more important question is if that quarterback will play every down or if time will be split between Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson? Before we get to your answers, I asked some of the BSD staff to give me their thoughts.
Jersey Nick: Based on the fact that #Fergusan was perceived by O'Brien to be ahead after Week 1, and #Macklenburg was able to pull even by around Week 2, one could dictate that his exponential rise to the top would continue. I haven't seen much live footage of them working out, but from what I have seen (In the ESPN Training Days specials), Hack just looks like the more polished passer. I think Hack will start, and stay on the field until we've built up a 24 point lead by the end of the 3rd. #TeamMacklenburg
Bill: I hate this question, just because the answer changes every few minute. "I'm hearing it's Hackenberg." "I heard Ferguson." "My buddy on the team said Hack, it's gotta be him." "Ferguson's taking all the first team reps, it's gotta be him." To be 100 percent honest, I have zero idea. Gun to my head, I'll say Hackenberg just because the QB battle has gone from "Tyler is ahead" to "the two are even," and I'll say he plays the whole game as long as he doesn't shit the bed at all.
Cari: I'm on #TeamHack. Though I definitely think we'll see significant time from both QBs, because I'm not expecting whoever starts to be Darryll Clark 2.0 right away (heck, even McGloin in 2012 wasn't really McGloin in 2012 until the third game).
I think we'll see about a 60-40 split, unless someone starts rocking it really hardcore (and by that I mean leading us to a score every time we're on offense). I'd like to be arguing by the fourth quarter which third string QB will be put in to close it out, but I'm pretty sure we won't be at that stage yet. Next week, though...look out!
bscaff: Terrell Hunt beats out OU transfer Drew Allen. Hunt's increased mobility gives him an edge that John Butler must address this week in practice.
Oh - you meant Penn State. If it was to be Fergusan, BOB would have pulled the trigger on Sue 10 days ago. So it'll be Macklenburg, or at the very least, the dreaded 2 QB system.
Devon: Hackenberg's going to start. The longer this gets drawn out, the more obvious that becomes. Why? Well, first, it's simply more reps, more time to gel with the receivers with which Ferguson had all spring to develop a report. Secondly, and just as importantly, it's less pressure. Ever since he committed to Penn State, Hackenberg's been hailed as a savior by this fanbase, as the next Kerry Collins, as a sure-thing, can't-miss, future All-American, Heisman candidate, first round draft pick, what have you. Name Hack the starter, and that second the story becomes all about him, and for anyone, much less an 18-year old kid, that can be more than a bit unnerving. But unless he struggles mightily--which, granted, he might do--Hack's not coming out until this one's out of hand.
Nick Original: I'm gonna have to say unheralded walk-on, Manthony O'Rrelli, gets the nod.
"He has all the tools you look for in a QB; an athletic body, very strong throwing arm and far better movement then I had expected," "can make all the throws; out, dig, fade and comeback." "Has a violent overhand delivery and when he's on his game has as much ability as anyone" sounds pretty good, right? Probably would have picked up a lot of elite offers, "but is acutely under coached and unprepared," "going to have to start from square one with this player." Excited to see what O'Brien can do with this diamond in the rough.
Me: As much as I wanted Fergie to start the season, I think the elapsed time only gives almost complete notion to the thought that Hackenberg is the guy. And you know what, if he is head and shoulders above the rest, I'm perfectly OK with that. In this game, I wouldn't even mind seeing a two-quarterback system provided there is no rhythm loss that is costing us the game in the end. Sure, the two have practiced against live defenses, but it's a whole lot different when 80,000 (and soon to be 100,000) screaming fans are around and you have to take a three-step drop and deliver.
What say you? Vote in the poll on who you think will start and let us know in the comments if you think that guy will play the whole game or not.
More from Black Shoe Diaries:
- BSD And Penn State Football: How To Make The Most Out Of The Season
- Only Nyeem Wartman Until Penn State Football
- 2013 Season Prediction Roundtable
- Black Shoe Podcast - ESPN Training Days and Fourth and Long - Episode 2
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