Best Seat in House column by Chris Graham
Two ACC teams, two different philosophies when it comes to quarterback competitions.
At Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer announced this week that senior Sean Glennon had won the Hokies’ competition, and surprising Tech fans also announced that sophomore Tyrod Taylor, who saw significant playing time as a true freshman in 2007, would be redshirted. Up the road in Charlottesville, Virginia coach Al Groh continues showing his poker face, not declaring a starter, at least publicly, at QB from among the trio of sophomores Peter Lalich and Marc Verica and senior Scott Deke.
The question that begs to be asked here is what kind of effect these competitions can have on their teams. Is there a risk associated with letting quarterback battles play out so close to the start of a season? Is it possible that they can divide a team?
“I don’t think so,” Beamer said of his battle in Blacksburg. “The thing we were dealing with was not only two good quarterbacks, but two good people. And the last thing they would do was try to do anything that would hurt their football team. And I think everybody is right out there for everybody to see. We went by the action on the field, and the action on the field is both quarterbacks did some good things. Both do some things that give you an opportunity to win. That was never an issue here.”
Groh spoke a similar party line regarding his QBs, giving them the credit for working to curry favor among their teammates for their shared mission. “One, the quarterbacks have to build their credentials with the players, and really that’s done long before practice starts, during the offseason program, where they build credibility with their work ethic, their commitment, how they interact with their teammates. All three of these players have done a really good job with that,” Groh said.
Groh did admit to feeling something of a sideshow atmosphere was being created around his quarterback controversy, at least in the news media. “You just try to keep it from becoming a sideshow and something that is of interest to other people, but really not nearly as much interest to the participants on the team. So we’ve tried to maintain an air of calm and sanity around the process. The distractions come from outside, frankly, much more so than they do from within the locker room and within the team,” Groh said.
Beamer’s approach in that respect was focused on naming a starter as far ahead of the opener as possible and then moving on from there. “When you do settle on a quarterback, I like to have things move in a direction. You know exactly where you’re going, and not you may do this, you may do that. Having done this, it gives our football team a direction, full steam ahead,” Beamer said.