Tettleton named starting QB
Bates to move to WR, get some time as wildcat QB
By Lonnie McMillan / Contributor
Sunday, August 14, 2011
ATHENS – For the first time in several years, the Ohio football team has its starting quarterback determined weeks before the start of the season.
|Lonnie McMillan Photo|
|Ohio coach Frank Solich talks to the media Friday, and announced Tyler Tettleton as the starting quarterback for this season.|
Ohio coach Frank Solich announced Saturday that redshirt sophomore Tyler Tettleton has been named the starter.
“Tyler Tettleton will be our starting quarterback,” Solich said. “…Coming out of spring, he really had earned the starting quarterback position, but we wanted to carry it into the fall at least a week, and nothing has changed.”
Tettleton is small for a Division I quarterback at 5-11 and 198 pounds, but he had an impressive spring that included an 11-of-21 performance for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the Spring Game.
“It means a lot,” Tettleton said. “It means the coaches and everybody has a lot of trust in me. I felt like I did my part to show them and everybody else that I can get his done.”
Redshirt freshman Kyle Snyder and redshirt senior Phil Bates also were in competition for the starting quarterback job. Snyder was 5 of 12 for 65 yards in the Spring Game. Bates sat out while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Solich said Bates still will see plenty of time on the field both as a wide receiver and as a wildcat quarterback.
“We want Phil on the field,” Solich said. “He has great hands. He’s got excellent speed, and he’s got a big body. He can catch the ball. … He has the ability to become a great wide receiver.”
With Bates added to the mix at wide receiver, Tettleton will have plenty of receiving options, led by fifth-year seniors LaVon Brazill and Riley Dunlop at wide receiver an All-Mid American Conference tight end Jordan Thompson.
“Having LaVon, Riley, Dante and of course all those linemen up there with all that experience, and even Dante behind me, it’s going to help a lot this year,” Tettleton said. “I’m excited.”
And Tettleton’s targets have confidence him and each other, Brazill said.
“Tyler, he’s growing every day in practice,” he said. “I feel like he’s getting comfortable in the pocket, and we are on the same page, me and him and Riley, we’re all the same page.”
Forced into action because of injuries as a freshman in 2009, Tettleton struggled and went just 9 of 2e for 128 yards and two interceptions.
He redshirted last year and has Tettleton said he has grown a lot since his brined experience two years ago.
“I feel like I’ve progressed a lot, just being able to be more mature and be more of a leader,” Tettleton said. “Being around the guys has helped me a lot. I am able to be more comfortable back there and go through my reads and know where to throw the ball. Especially with (Quarterbacks coach) Coach (Gerry) Gdowski, he’s helped so much and allowed me to progress into the player I am now.”
Solich said he thinks Tettleton has all of the skills necessary to run the Bobcat’s new up-tempo no-huddle offense.
“Tyler does everything well,” Solich said. “He’s a bright quarterback. He’s got some experience. He’s taken a number of snaps.
He knows our offense. He will get to the right side in the passing game. He will go through his reads. He will find the right receiver.
He can throw the ball really, really well at the point in time. He’s going to be able to give you big play potential as a deep thrower and yet he is able to get off. He’s got great anticipation and that’s key for being a great quarterback. … He has running ability. He can run our offense. Our quarterback is going to have some opportunities to run the ball coming off of some of our zone reads. He’s able to put the whole package together. I don’t think you’ll fluster him. I think he’ll sit in the pocket when we call upon him to sit in the pocket, but he has the ability to escape and find guys running down the field and throw the ball or pick up yards with his feet. We like what we’re seeing.”
Tettleton said he understands the key for him this year is to avoid big mistakes.
“I need to be in control of the offense and just take care of the ball,” he said. “I think that’s the main thing – taking care of the ball this year. I just need to be more of a leader, I feel like, stepping into the role.”
Austen Everson was the last established starting quarterback in 2006, and even he had competition for the spot at the start of the season.
Last year, the Bobcats began the season rotating quarterback reps between Bates and Boo Jackson. In 2008 and 2009, Jackson and Theo Scott were in contention to be the starters early in the year. Scott and Brad Bower split time in 2007.
Solich said he is glad to be able to make an early decision this season.
“I’m hoping that’s telling us something,” Solich said. “I’m a guy who likes to have things clear-cut. I don’t like to have a lot of indecision as to who your No. 1 guy is going into fall camp.
Quarterback is the one spot on offense the Bobcats do not have much experience, and Solich said he believes there is potential to put up big numbers.
“When Phil comes into the game, you’re not really sure if Phil is going to line up as a quarterback or if he’s going to line up at wide receiver,” Solich said. “We have potential at wide receiver with LaVon, Riley and a number of other receivers and now Phil. This is the most talent we’ve had collectively at the wide receiver spot in terms of making you work in terms of the deep ball. … I’m going a little wild here. Usually, I try to be a little reserved. I’m not sure what that all means, other than that I think there’s potential. But it’s going to be more than potential. We’ve got to make that work.”