Adams: Pick him, and stick with him

Chris Samuels

Before the 2014 campaign kicked off, the new system offensive coordinator Dave Christensen was bringing to Utah’s offense was a big deal. Despite talk of a quarterback battle, it always seemed like junior Travis Wilson had the upper hand.

However, after two underwhelming performances from Wilson, Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson was given the opportunity to showcase his talents. Saturday night against UCLA, Thompson looked calm, efficient and poised in the backfield. If there wasn’t a QB battle before, there is now.

Both Wilson and Thompson have performed well enough at times this season to deserve consideration for the starting quarterback position, but the Utes need to act fast, pick a starter and stick with him.

The two-quarterback system is enticing, especially when you have two capable quarterbacks, but it hardly ever works. There’s always an exception, such as when Tim Tebow was a freshman at Florida, sharing snaps with then-senior Chris Leak. Those two went on to win a national championship, but that speaks more of the talent of the Gators than it does the success of the two-quarterback system.

Utah will not get anywhere if it keeps switching between T-Willy and Thompson. The two quarterbacks are just different, and depending on who is in the game, different plays will be called.

With Wilson in the game, Utah becomes more of a passing team as we’ve seen the San Clemente native throw some dimes in his time here in Salt Lake City. When Thompson is playing, the read option takes over, something that he is very good at executing. This was evident against the Bruins last weekend when Thompson kept moving the chains by reading the defense correctly.

The Utes are playing a dangerous game. Having two quarterbacks not only changes the style of play, but it also shows a lack of confidence in both of the signal callers.

You can’t tell me that being benched three drives into the game didn’t irk Wilson just a little bit. He knows he no longer has a firm grasp on the starting position, and it’ll show on the field. Instead of throwing the ball with poise and confidence, the junior will question his throws and whether or not he is making the right decisions.

Competition is good, especially in football. During spring and fall camps, a quarterback controversy is somewhat of a good thing. It pushes the players harder to compete and prove they want a starting gig.

But when you’re already six weeks in and have a shot at a magical season, you don’t mess around. If Utah wants to keep this momentum moving forward into the hardest part of the schedule, Whittingham and company need to pick a quarterback and an offense and stick with them.

g.adams@chronicle.utah.edu

@GriffDoug

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