On the way to kickoff for Saturday’s Kansas-West Virginia game, the coaches engaged in a bit of gamesmanship when it came to announcing the starting quarterbacks.
The Jayhawks’ Charlie Weis and the Mountaineers’ Dana Holgorsen insist the starters will come from a pool of five candidates.
For the first time this season, Kansas listed Jake Heaps, who started the first nine games, as a co-starter with Montell Cozart, who played the entire second half in last week’s loss to Oklahoma State.
“I know who’s starting at quarterback,” Weis said on Tuesday. “But why should I tell them?”
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Holgorsen took the same approach during his weekly radio show on Thursday. Clint Trickett has started the past six games, but didn’t play after the first quarter in last weekend’s game against Texas after taking a blow to the head. Paul Millard took most of the first-team reps in practice this week and Ford Childress has recovered from a chest muscle injury and is cleared to play.
“I may start all three of them,” Holgorsen said.
The idea is to make the other side spent time preparing for multiple players, and in West Virginia’s case that means practicing against different styles. Heaps is a pocket threat who has thrown for seven touchdowns. Cozart, a freshman from Bishop Miege, is a dual threat.
“Not that we’re trained killers on offense, but you have to practice,” Weis said. “Jake’s in the game at quarterback. What do they do when Jake’s in the game? Montell’s in at quarterback. What do they do when Montell’s in?”
The Jayhawks are forced into the same guessing game predicament with the West Virginia trio, and there’s plenty of this going around in the Big 12 this season. Seven teams have started more than one quarterback this season, and two of three that have started one —Kansas and Kansas State —play two during the game.
Only Baylor’s Bryce Petty has held the starting role and dominated his position this season.