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OregonLive: Vikings: More on the QB situation

by Jim Beseda, The Oregonian
Wednesday September 10, 2008, 12:11 PM

Given a choice between Tygue Howland or Drew Hubel as the starting quarterback, the consensus in the Vikings locker room is that it doesn’t matter.

Either one can get the job done.

PSU Sophomore quarterback Drew Hubel will make his first start of the season and fifth of his career for the Vikings Saturday against the UC Davis Aggies.

PSU Sophomore quarterback Drew Hubel will make his first start of the season and fifth of his career for the Vikings Saturday against the UC Davis Aggies.

Most of the players seem to agree that both quarterbacks understand the details of he run and shoot offense. Both have arms that withstand the pressure that goes with throwing 50 times a game. And under normal conditions (“normal,” meaning no holding penalties that wipe out 15-yard completions on third-and-eight plays), both have shown that they are capable of moving the ball effectively in games.
This subject was covered in a story that appeared in Tuesday’s edition of The Oregonian, but there were several comments that didn’t make it into print that follow here.

 

Bobby McClintock, the junior fullback, was asked if he had a preference when it comes to quarterbacks.

“It’s doesn’t matter to me,” McClintock said. “I have total faith in either of them. I mean, we’ve got two great quarterback and either one can get the job done. Honestly, they both know the offense, they both have strong arms … either one, I’m good with.”

Do the Vikings have a quarterback controversy one game into the 2008 season? No, not exactly. What they have is an on-going competition with both quarterbacks taking roughly the same number of snaps during practice.

They also have a situation where only one quarterback at a time, and right now that one is Hubel. The sophomore from Corvallis had a stronger game than Howland in the Vikings’ 31-14 victory over Western Oregon two weeks ago, and will make his first start of the season and fifth of his career in Saturday’s game against the UC Davis Aggies in Davis, Calif.

Why Hubel?

“Well, just because he had the hotter hand and produced more in the first ball game,” Vikings offensive coordinator Mouse Davis said. “No real reason, other than we go with results.

“They’re both competing right now, and they’re both into what would amount to a two-quarterback system until one becomes the clear leader.”

By “two-quarterback system,” Davis doesn’t mean he’s thinking of rotating his QBs the way some coaches do. He just means that neither Howland nor Hubel has established himself as the No. 1 guy, so they’re still getting about the same number of reps in practice.

Ultimately, Davis would like to establish some stability at the quarterback position and give one guy the majority of the reps, but the competition is still too close to call.

“Both of them have some similarities, in that both of them are good leaders, both of them are bright kids, and both of them have a very good understanding of the offense,” Davis said. “Tygue is a little older, so I guess that means he has the potential for a little more maturity. But, by and large, they’re about the same, although Drew has had a little more game experience. Tygue has a little stronger arm, but not a lot stronger.

“Tygue has played a lot of 7-on-7, but hasn’t really been ‘the guy.’ Drew has had an opportunity to be ‘the guy’ in four games last season, and I think that does make a difference, although both of them are very confident and they both graded out fairly close in the Western Oregon game. Drew had a little advantage, not that that’s a big deal, anyway.

“But we like them both and we’re just going to see where we go. We’ve got to get them both ready for Saturday.”

Howland, a junior, suffered season-ending injuries each of the last two years and is at point in his career where the only thing he is lacking is game experience — somethng that could be tough to get now that he’s no longer the starter.

“I think this week, if I were to go into the same situations I had last week, I’d play a lot better,” Howland said. “Whenever they call my name, I’ll be ready. Like I said before, I have all the confidence in the world in myself, I have all the confidence in the world in Drew, and whatever happens, I’m going to be ready for it.

“I want to play. Drew wants to play. That’s why we’re here. But only one quarterback can play and that’s just the way it is. Drew executed well the last game and he deserves to start this game. I think he’s going to do the same thing this game, and I’m going to be there to support him.”

Vikings coach Jerry Glanville said Howland got some unfortunate breaks against Western Oregon.

“Tygue was handicapped by our team,” Glanville said. “Tygue converted some third downs and made some big plays, and they were called back by penalities. When you lose the opportunity to keep the ball, you lose your rhythm. So, it wasn’t all Tygue’s fault. I still have total confidence in Tygue.”

Davis has confidence in Howland, too. But then the questions becomes how much rope will he give Hubel on Saturday? Would he pull him if he were to go three consecutive series without scoring? Four? Five?

“I don’t have a particular number,” Davis said. “It’s kind of a feel, because there are so many extenuating circumstances that can play into it.That we have some success, that’s always the key. You’ve got to have some success.

“I don’t think Tygue’s in a tough position. He’s doing well and he’s getting better. He hasn’t had as many reps in the heat of the battle that Drew has had, and there’s really no substitute for that – being the guy. Right now, it puts Drew in a better light. I think Tygue is a good player. You just root for both of them when they’re in there.”

— Jim Beseda, jimbeseda@news.oregonian.com or (503) 221-8380

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