Starters are important, but SEC teams are also looking for backup quarterbacks this spring

NCAA Football: South Carolina-Spring Game

Looking around the SEC, there will be plenty of new faces at quarterback. Some signal callers are established, while others are not.

While finding that starter is paramount, it’s also important for teams to find their primary backups, too.

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Six quarterback battles will ensue this spring. Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt are all trying to find their next starting quarterback. You can read all about those battles here. Alabama’s best spring quarterback will likely end up being this fall’s backup to transfer Jacob Coker.

But for six other teams, finding a backup quarterback is on their to-do list in spring practice, and having that insurance policy second-teamer is music to a coach’s ears. Let’s take a trip around the SEC and look at the players vying for backup duties.

Brandon Allen is the projected starter at Arkansas, although he’ll have to win the job this spring. AJ Derby, his primary backup in 2013, will compete with redshirt freshman Austin Allen and early enrollee Rafe Peavey. Allen threw for just 1,552 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 INTs, while completing less than 50 percent of his passes in 2013. Assuming Allen wins the starting job for the first game, the Hogs have to find his primary backup.

Georgia is another interesting spring team. Although most of the focus revolves around new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Hutson Mason, the Bulldogs have to find a backup quarterback. Backups Faton Bauta, Brice Ramsey and early enrollee Jacob Park will have a nice little competition on who will back up Mason. Currently, Bauta is running with the second-teamers at practice.

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All eyes have turned to Dak Prescott at Mississippi State and just how high he can take the Bulldogs in 2014. Last year’s third-team signal caller Damian Williams is the likely backup this season. However, early enrollee Nick Fitzgerald may have something to say about that. The freshman dual-threat quarterback will compete with Williams this spring.

One of the more intriguing backup battles lies in Missouri. Although Maty Mauk will have to earn his job this spring, there’s a stacked house behind him. Corbin Berkstresser, Eddie Printz, Trent Hosick, Marvin Zanders and Colby Carpenter are all nipping at Mauk’s heels. It wouldn’t surprise me if redshirt freshman Eddie Printz wins the backup job and actually pushes Mauk in 2014.

Ole Miss, like Missouri, has an interesting backup battle unfolding. Bo Wallace will be the primary starter, and his backup Barry Brunetti graduated. So, 6-3, 300-pound Jeremy Liggins may be the changeup, as Hugh Freeze loves to play two quarterbacks, and he’s competing for the role this spring. Dual-threat star DeVante Kincade and pocket passer Ryan Buchanan will also compete. Freeze certainly has options at quarterback.

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South Carolina is Dylan Thompson’s team now, and there’s no doubt he’ll be the starter game one; Steve Spurrier has said as much, but Spurrier has also said the other two quarterbacks – Brendan Nosovitch and Connor Mitch – are way behind Thompson. Mitch is a pro-style signal caller, whereas Nosovitch is more of a dual-threat quarterback. Thompson may play every snap in 2014, but it’s also important the Gamecocks find his primary backup.

Photo Credit: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports



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  • You think we will see any surprises at the starting QB positions for any teams come Fall?

    • That’s a loaded question. I guess Alabama transfer Jacob Coker could be a surprise. I also think LSU early enrollee Brandon Harris will push Anthony Jennings for the starting job. Harris could end up winning the job. There could also be true freshmen starting for Texas A&M and Kentucky, depending on how spring plays out.

  • What does the film of Colby Carpenter (Missouri look like?) Zanders is somewhat like Robinson but better runner and maybe better passer. Berkstresser has the talent to hold off Printz but does he have the smarts and courage and desire? We will see. Mauk is going to have some big strikes and maybe a few interceptions but he is going to gain a lot of yards on the ground, a lot of yards. He will be Missouri’s leading rusher next year by a modest margin. Really the ball is in the court of the Missouri quarterback and receiver coaches. They have to coach these kids in more detail. There is no reason why a program that has so many QBs in the pro needs Whitfield. This is already exciting college football. Campus must already be buzzing.

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