Years ago during the opening of an NFL telecast, color commentator Phil Simms, talking about one of the teams which had two potential starting quarterbacks, said, “When you have two quarterbacks, you have none.”
NFL history would seem to prove Simms’ point.
While most teams are grateful to have one quarterback who can produce and are ecstatic if they have another who can also play, the idea is the second QB would play if the first was unable to, not alternate or platoon at the position.
Before the Dallas Cowboys became America’s Team, Tom Landry platooned diminutive veteran Eddie LeBaron and rookie Don Meredith on every play. Since the Cowboys had very few good players anywhere, it didn’t work.
Two decades later, another legendary NFL coach, Don Shula, took the Miami Dolphins to the Super Bowl with platooning quarterbacks. David Woodley generally started and Don Strock came out of the bullpen when needed, which was often. But since the strength of the Dolphins was their Killer B’s defense, the instability at QB was overcome.
The arrival of gunslinger Dan Marino the following year signaled the end of the Woodstrock era.
On the eve of Cumberland’s return to football in 1990, I asked coach Nick Coutras who his starting quarterback would be. I don’t remember his precise answer, but he indicated there would be more than one QB. Like Landry, his Bulldogs were essentially an expansion team.
I do remember him telling me, “Quarterback is just another position.”
Coutras was a legendary high school coach who laid the groundwork at Cumberland for the success Herschel Moore enjoyed later. But few NFL people would agree with his assessment, especially today as just about every pro football observer will tell you “quarterback is the most important position on the field”.
Then there is the current situation at Cumberland which proves Coutras’ point and throws mud on Simms’.
Reed Gurchiek had started every game he was healthy for since arriving at Cumberland from Mt. Juliet High School coming into this season. But injuries had given backup Broc Loveless plenty of opportunities to take snaps.
Donnie Suber told me before this season both quarterbacks would play. And he, or rather offensive coordinator Ryan Locke, has kept his word. Gurchiek has stared most of the games, though Loveless has taken the first snap in at least one.
Often, the guy coming off the bench has seemed to have given Cumberland a needed spark, especially during the Bulldogs’ four-game winning streak. But statistically, both have produced.
Gurchiek is a bit taller and has a stronger arm while Loveless, also a fourth-year junior from Spring Hill, is the better runner, at least that’s the generally accepted line.
But Gurchiek can and will run and Loveless is a more-than-capable thrower.
Both have even been in the game on the same plays with one taking a snap and throwing to the other. Or one will take a snap, pitch to the other, who will flip it back to the starter and, well, whatever will work to confuse the defense.
Though the hotter hand may end up getting the snaps as a game wears on, there hasn’t been a situation where one has played well while the other was ineffective.
Gurchless or Lovechiek. It’s a two-headed monster in shotgun for CU.
If Phil Simms was broadcasting in the Mid-South Conference, I wonder what he would say about that.