Buckeyes Preparing for Wildcat Two QB System
By Rob Ogden
Photo by Jim Davidson
For the third-consecutive week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was fielding questions about a two-quarterback system.
Though this week the questions were about how to defend it, not about how to employ it.
Seeking a 5-0 start for the first time since 1904, Northwestern has used the combined talents of senior Kain Colter and junior Trevor Siemian to reach a No. 15 ranking in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll.
Meyer knows a thing or two about two-quarterback systems. He used one at Florida in 2006 and at Bowling Green in 2001 - both with success.
Northwestern has been successful, too. Using the combination of Colter and Siemian last season, the Wildcats won their first postseason game since 1949.
"The only reason this two quarterback system works if because of our young men. The credit goes to Cain and Trevor," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
"They want what everyone in our program wants, and that's what's best for the team.
"Would Kain like to have the ball every play? Yeah, but that's why football is the ultimate team game. You've got to suppress your personal wants for the greater good."
Through four games this season, the pair has combined to throw for 935 yards and seven touchdowns. 671 of those yards have come via Siemian, who played almost the entire game against California on Aug. 31 after Colter suffered a concussion on the game's opening drive.
Colter is considered to be more of a dual-threat guy, and has totaled 237 rushing yards on three touchdowns in limited action this season.
Because of a four-year hiatus, no one on the Ohio State roster has ever faced Northwestern, but defensive tackle Michael Bennett said preparing for the Wildcats' pair of quarterbacks won't be any more difficult than preparing for any other team.
"If anything it's easier, because you know if one quarterback comes in they're probably better at one thing, and when the other quarterback comes in they're better at something else," he said.
"So you know what to expect more."
For the most part, Bennett is right. In 13 games for each last season, Colter rushed 170 times, while Siemian ran only 21 times. Siemian recorded 218 passing attempts while Kolter had 149.
But just because Kolter doesn't throw as often doesn't mean he can't. Kotler has completed more than 77 percent of his passes so far this season and has thrown for three touchdowns. In 2012, Kotler completed 68 percent of his passes and threw for eight touchdowns.
Because both guys are capable throwers and runners, the Buckeyes won't prepare for the two differently, Meyer said.
"The problem is (Kolter) is a very good thrower, as well. And (Siemien) is an athletic guy that can get out of trouble," he said.
"I don't think we're gonna play them much different. Of course, the one's a little more run heavy and you have to be aware of that and the other's more pass-heavy, but it's not drastically different as far as there ability."
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