This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
SPRING GAME REVELATIONS
NO. 5, OKLAHOMA, USC, FLORIDA STATE UNDECIDED AT QB
Most coaches don't want to name a new starting quarterback after spring ball for a few reasons, notably motivation and competition.
At three power schools – Oklahoma, USC and Florida State – it's looking more like there will be an actual competition heading into training camp, rather than coaches just proclaiming it open as a motivational ploy.
All three schools seem unsettled at quarterback after the spring, but the good news is all three have great options.
The easiest race to handicap seems to be at Oklahoma. Blake Bell, "The Belldozer," came into spring as the favorite and leaves as the favorite. SoonerScoop.com put it well, writing, "Judging by how much more comfortable he seemed Saturday, he only needs to keep maturing and growing in OU's system to win the job in August." That doesn't mean the competition is over.
OU coaches did not give away anything after the spring game, saying the competition is still wide open. Exciting freshman Trevor Knight and dual-threat Kendal Thompson are still in the running.
Bell was the best of the three in the spring game, completing 14-of-23 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Knight's 11-of-17, 151-yard, one-touchdown day is intriguing. Thompson went 8-of-15 for 86 yards and a score, and while his numbers weren't as good as the other two, he led the White team on a late game-winning touchdown drive.
Bell is the frontrunner, but he still has so much to prove as a passer that the race isn't over.
The intriguing story out of Florida State is that we seem to be seeing the birth of a star in quarterback Jameis Winston ... if he can win the starting job.
Winston went 12-for-15 for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. His first play was a 58-yard touchdown pass to David Tyrrell, beating all-conference safety Lamarcus Joyner deep. Warchant.com described his passing as "accurate and decisive."
Winston, ranked the top dual-threat quarterback in the recruiting class of 2012 by Rivals, even caught the eye of the reigning king of college football quarterbacks:
Hearing this Jameis Winston kid is a baller out at Florida State. Spring Football dominating and pitching on the baseball team #Real
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) April 15, 2013
Ah yes, Winston did join the Seminoles baseball team after the spring game, according to the AP report from Florida State. He is hitting .306 for the baseball team and also has a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher wants to slow down the hype on Winston going into the summer.
"Let's be careful and let him play," Fisher said, according to Warchant.com.
Winston doesn't have a clear path to the job, either. Clint Trickett is highly regarded, has played well in the past when given the opportunity and completed 22-of-32 passes for 259 yards and touchdown. Jacob Coker and Sean Maguire also haven't been ruled out, but it looks like Winston and Trickett will be the two to watch in a very interesting race.
The race at USC is still up for grabs. The Trojans listed Max Wittek, Max Browne and Cody Kessler as the co-starters on the post-spring depth chart, and that seems to be an accurate depiction of the competition.
Wittek, who got some experience late last season when Matt Barkley was hurt, started the spring game but Kessler made the biggest impression. He completed 15-of-22 attempts for 242 yards and three touchdowns. The Los Angeles Daily News noted Kessler "provided the best performances" throughout spring practices. Wittek was 12-of-17 for 145 yards, with two touchdowns but two interceptions as well. Browne completed 7-of-11 passes for 80 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Although Kessler's strong spring will help his chances of getting the starting job, the competition will be settled in training camp.
“I do feel like all three of (our quarterbacks) are really good college quarterbacks,” Kiffin said, according to FoxSportsWest.com. “I think that’s a great problem to have.”
(NOTE: Part one of this week's Doc Five was delayed to this morning due to the tragedy in Boston yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims. We will have part two of the countdown this afternoon.)