Yesterday, I took a look at the top quarterbacks so far this season in the Big 12. Those five are no doubt having great seasons, but that doesn’t mean all is well in the land of quarterbacks. Three teams are going through a midseason quarterback shuffle, one due to performance and the other two out of necessity because of injury.
In Lawrence, all signs point to Kansas starting junior college transfer Quinn Mecham at quarterback Saturday at Iowa State. Starting quarterback Jordan Webb left Saturday’s game against Texas A&M with a shoulder injury and did not return. He is listed as questionable this week and is currently listed as the back up on this week’s depth chart. Back up Kale Pick suffered a concussion after replacing Webb and also did not return. Mecham saw his only action of the season Saturday after replacing Pick and was 0-1 passing. And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for a team that is looking for anything to go its way.
On top of that, running backs D.J. Beshears and DeShaun Sands will miss Saturday’s game serving one game suspensions for violating team rules. It was Beshears who initially replaced Pick at quarterback while running out of the Wildcat formation against the Aggies.
Mecham came to Kansas after playing two years at Snow Junior College. He enrolled in December and did participate in spring drills with the Jayhawks so he has that going for him. Mecham will have his work cut out of him working behind an offensive line that has given up 21 sacks on the year while missing Beshears and Sands in the backfield.
There is never a good time, but the injures/suspensions come at a terrible time for Kansas with Iowa State and Colorado on the schedule the next two weeks. ISU and Colorado represent the two most likely chances for Jayhawks to pull out a win the rest of the season. It's going without saying, things are ugly in Lawrence at the moment.
In Boulder, senior quarterback Cody Hawkins takes over the Tyler Hansen who ruptured his spleen Saturday against Texas Tech and will miss the rest of the regular season. Unlike the Kansas situation, Hawkins has a wealth of experience having started 28 games in his Buffalo career. Hawkins is 11-17 as a starter at CU and will try and help break Colorado’s three game losing streak.
And at Texas A&M, preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Jerrod Johnson, is now in a battle for his starting job. Saturday night in Lawrence, Johnson rotated every other quarter with back up Ryan Tannehill. Johnson finished 12-20 for 139 yards while Tannehill finished 12-16 for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson has struggled through the better part of the year and now that Tannehill has gotten his chance, and looked good while doing it, one can't help but think Tannehill starts this weekend against Texas Tech.
The Aggies currently sit at 4-3 and gaining bowl eligibility is far from a foregone conclusion. They finish with the toughest part of their schedule having Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska still ahead. If Johnson continues to struggle, each week that passes by is a missed opportunity if Tannehill is standing on the sideline. But whoever is the quarterback, it still doesn’t change the fact they’ll be working behind a young offensive line that has given up a league worst 25 sacks on the year.