With the loss of Bill Stull for at least 4 to 5 games this week's practices hold great importance. By the end of the week the Panthers will have a new quarterback. The two choices for the coaching staff are: Pat Bostick and Kevan Smith. While having a redshirt freshman and a true freshman fighting over the position, there is absolutely no worry in The Cat Basket.
Kevan Smith appears to be the frontrunner just by the way training camp went and what happened during the game against Eastern Michigan. Smith was the with the team all of last year and should have a fairly good command of the offense. The main problem with Smith is that while having a big arm he is a raw player. He only has thrown 4 more college passes than Bostick. The play calling in the EMU was so conservative that Smith wasn't even really given a chance to show that this could be his job. I realize that the coaching staff was trying to hold onto the lead but I felt that this was a mistake. Wannstedt needs to let whoever he plays completely take control of the offense. If Smith is going to play I hope that he gets the full playbook and gets a chance to sling the ball around.
We are completely biased for Pat Bostick here at The Cat Basket, he is the impetus of the site and this movement. 2006 Pennsylvania High School Player of the year and flat out the best PA recruit we have had in years. Bostick has all the tools to follow in the footsteps of Alex Van Pelt and Dan Marino, starting as a true freshman. What has hurt Bostick is his sabbatical from camp and the effect that had on his chance to compete with Smith and Stull. If we are to have a successful program in the next 4 years Bostick will be the quarterback soon, very soon.
Coach Wannstedt has stated that he won't name a starter until Thursday but being named starter still may tell nothing as to who is the starter at Michigan State. Splitting time against Grambling St will be a good idea if handled correctly. Both quarterbacks need to be put in a similar situations and given a similar style of play calling. Starting Smith and running the ball early and bringing in Bostick and throwing the ball. This dual quarterback situation needs to be solved though by the end of the game. Bostick and Smith are too similar in quarterbacking style to work as a dual headed monster. Getting a look at Smith and Bostick isn't a bad thing at all, Stull is really only a gatekeeper at the quarterback position.
So what do I see happening in this important race to Saturday. If Coach Wannstedt is telling the truth and he is giving Bostick a true chance to win this job its Bostick, easily. Him and Smith have the same level of in game experience and the gulf of talent between them is massive. Bostick is a quarterback unlike any we have had at this school since the 1980's, whether or not his obvious talents are maximized is yet to be seen. Smith will play Saturday but I have to believe in the evaluation of Bostick's talent and what this means to the program.
Despite what happens once the final whistle blows the guy who is decided to be the quarterback has to be allowed a chance to succeed. The next quarterback needs to be given a chance to succeed and to go along with that a chance to fail. If the starter against Michigan St. throws 2 first half picks he can't be looking over his shoulder for the ax. Give the winner of the battle a chance and if he doesn't play well enough let Stull take his job back. This situation isn't that big of a crisis for the team and something absolutely amazing could come out of this.
Cat Basket predicted starter for Michigan St.(the game that will matter): Pat Bostick