Quarterback competition common in Big 12

Sophomore quarterback Zach Smith scrambles away from a Texas Tech defender. Rhule has still yet to name his starting quarterback this season. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Collin Bryant | Sports Writer

The battle for the starting quarterback job during a transition year is nothing new especially considering the position’s importance on the field.

This has been one of the challenges facing head coach Matt Rhule as he enters into his first season. However, he has made it clear, he has been in no rush to decide.

“I think they’ve all done a really nice job,” Rhule said. “I think they’ve all in their own way moved the team moved the offense you know. So I think we have three guys who’ve proved they can be the starting quarterback here.”

Rhule’s reasons are understandable because of the sheer volume of quarterbacks on the current roster. Baylor currently has six quarterbacks listed at the position: senior Anu Solomon, sophomores Zach Smith, Preston heard, Zach Bennema and freshmen Garret McGuire and Charlie Brewer. Due to their resumes and experience, the battle comes down to Solomon, Smith and Brewer.

Anu Solomon transferred to Baylor in January from the University of Arizona, where he finished with 6,922 passing yards and 49 touchdowns with 16 interceptions in 30 games. Solomon suffered knee and foot injuries during his time at Arizona and is looking for a fresh start with the Bears.

Zach Smith played in nine games, starting the last four. He threw for 1,526 yards and 13 touchdowns but went just 1-4 as a starter.

Charlie Brewer out of Lake Travis High School is also an option. Brewer was highly recruited coming out of high school, receiving offers from SMU, Bowling Green State University and the University of North Texas. He also won a state championship at Lake Travis and was the Texas Associated Press Player of the Year.

Rhule said that the decision has been difficult because each one has unique qualities.

“Anu has a little bit of experience, has a nifty-ness to him,” Rhule said. “Zach has a fearlessness to him, got a big time arm. Charlie is tremendously accurate, has a knack for making plays.”

Rhule is not alone when it comes to making this decision.

At the University of Texas, head coach Tom Herman has three options as well. Sophomore Shane Buechele and freshman Sam Ehlinger are the frontrunners.

Buechele was the starter last season for the Longhorns, passing for 2,948 yards and 21 touchdowns. Herman also said that junior wide receiver Jerrod Heard could see time if the situation is right.

“We’ll have a package for Jerrod Heard too, “Herman said on July 18 at the Big 12 Football Media Day. “If a bomb blows up and Shane [Buchele] and Sam [Ehlinger] both can’t finish a game, Jerrod will probably be the guy to go finish the game.”

With time running out, Rhule said that he will make the decision at the beginning of next week.

“I’ll probably go through Saturday scrimmage and then maybe Monday or Tuesday,” Rhule said. “Depending on how we feel about things coming out of Saturday, so probably early next week.”

Baylor opens the season at 6 p.m. Sept. 2 against Liberty University at McLane Stadium.