Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quarterback battle still up in the air?

Richard Anderson photos
Wyoming sophomore quarterback Dax Crum points things out as the Cowboys go through a drill before Wednesday night's scrimmage. At left, junior quarterback Karsen Sween talks to offensive coordinator Bob Cole.

By Richard Anderson

Was there a clear-cut winner? Hardly.

So much for Wednesday night’s first major scrimmage of the fall finally determining the starting quarterback for the Cowboys.

Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn and offensive coordinator Bob Cole had planned on using the scrimmage to evaluate the quarterback play between junior Karsten Sween and sophomore Dax Crum. It was said earlier in the week that an announcement would be made on Friday.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Neither Sween, the incumbent, nor Crum, the junior college transfer, were head and shoulders above the other as they took turns in running the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense.

The Wyoming coaches weren’t planning to air it out in an effort to decide the starter, just try to move the football.

But nine passes between Crum and Sween? Crum was just 4-for-7 for 33 yards through the air and Sween was 2-for-2 for 14 yards. Neither quarterback threw an interception, but neither took the offense into the end zone.

Now what?

“I can’t see picking a quarterback based on what we did tonight, but I will talk with Bob and we will watch the tape,” Glenn said. “If no one separates, we may play a couple of guys. It’s not ideally what we want to do entering the season, but at this point, I think we have to continue to let both quarterbacks compete, take snaps and see if one of them will take charge at the position.”

On a night when all eyes were on the two quarterbacks, Sween was a bit surprised with how little they threw the football.

“Obviously, we can all go out there for the most part and make run checks,” Sween said. “We had some tough plays, some penalties, and we wanted to get the ball rolling. We have good backs and we have good linemen. Maybe Coach felt we had to run the ball more to get something started. It is tough when you only get five or six passes to show that you can make some big plays with your arm.”

While Glenn was displeased with the offense as a whole, Crum said it wasn’t that horrible of a night.

“We didn’t score any touchdowns, which was tough, but we also had to drive 75 yards every time to get a touchdown, so that is not always easy,” Crum said. “I think overall, it wasn’t really that bad. We didn’t make any big plays, but we ran the ball and that it important. We got some first downs and that is important. I didn’t throw any interceptions, so that is good, too.”

Did anybody detach themselves from the other? Not Wednesday night.

“I don’t think so, but we’ll see what the coaches say,” Sween said. “I support the coaches 100 percent, whatever it is. But I would have liked to have had more passes.

“I think I did all right. I only had one incomplete ball and it was a pass interference call. I think I threw the ball for what I had. It’s like I told you guys before, I was going to do the best that I could and I think I did that. We’ll see what decision they make and go with the punches.”

Added Crum: “Nobody made any big plays today, so I don’t think you can judge it by today’s performance. I think it is going to be an overall decision.”

Wyoming linebacker Ward Dobbs said it has been tough for the quarterbacks, especially in practice, as the defense has been playing well. Although the scrimmage pitted the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 2 defense, in practice the No. 1s have gone head on.

For the betterment of the team, Dobbs said that is how it has to be.

“It’s like wrestling. The only way you can get better wrestling is by wrestling,” Dobbs said. “We’re going to come out here and put as much pressure on them that we can and hopefully the coaches will see who the best guy is. Really, that’s the only way the defense can help out in that.”

The Cowboys will scrimmage again next Wednesday in preparation for the Aug. 30 opener against Ohio.

Crum said to not read too much into the sluggish night for the offense. After all, it’s just the first scrimmage.

“We’re still only two weeks into camp and we have about half of our offense installed,” he said. “You can’t necessarily make a verdict on what our team is going to be a month from now. I think we did fine today.”

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