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Quarterback Controversies

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No, this isn't about Joe Dailey and Cam Sexton. Instead, let's toss a little concern Burnt Orange Nation's way.

Dennis Dodd tosses out an interesting quote in his Texas preview. Mark Brown isn't afraid of quarterback controversies, even after Simms-Applewhite:

"People have asked me, did we handle it right?" Brown said of Simms-Applewhite. "It got so big. We did it at North Carolina all the time and nobody cared. I thought it was about the strategy of playing the best guy we thought could win the game at that time. It became about those two kids instead of the team. It got bigger than I thought it would."

In case you think this is just a difference between football-crazy Texas and football-tolerating UNC, you may want to rely on something besides the memory of Mack Brown. The two quarterback strategy worked once, in 1997. And it was under a specific set of circumstances:

This Chris Keldorf retrospective sums it up best, but the short story is this. Two quarterbacks entered Spring 1996 battling for the starting job. One (Keldorf) won it, and led the team to an 8-2 record before going down to an injury during the Duke game. The other back (Oscar Davenport) captained the team to victory in the Gator Bowl, making the case for the starting job as Keldorf tried to come back from injury.

The end result was 1997, a year with two quarterbacks of very different strengths and no egos who were able to share the starting role. It didn't hurt that UNC had one of its best seasons to date, leaving no room for fan and media pressure to make a choice. It was a rare success, not business at usual at UNC, and I hope for Texas' sake Brown remembers that.

(An odd little fact: Kelorf and Davenport also share the honor of having the Quarterback Meeting Room at Kenan Stadium named after them. Davenport currently quarterbacks the Daytona Beach Thunder in the WIFL, if you were wondering.)