On the way to kickoff for Saturdays Kansas-West Virginia game, the coaches engaged in a bit of gamesmanship when it came to announcing the starting quarterbacks.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
The Jayhawks Charlie Weis and the Mountaineers Dana Holgorsen insist the starters will come from a pool of five candidates.
For the first time this season, Kansas listed Jake Heaps, who started the first nine games, as a co-starter with Montell Cozart, who played the entire second half in last weeks loss to Oklahoma State.
I know whos starting at quarterback, Weis said on Tuesday. But why should I tell them?
Holgorsen took the same approach during his weekly radio show on Thursday. Clint Trickett has started the past six games, but didnt play after the first quarter in last weekends game against Texas after taking a blow to the head. Paul Millard took most of the first-team reps in practice this week and Ford Childress has recovered from a chest muscle injury and is cleared to play.
I may start all three of them, Holgorsen said.
The idea is to make the other side spend time preparing for multiple players, and in West Virginias case that means practicing against different styles. Heaps is a pocket threat who has thrown for seven touchdowns. Cozart, a freshman from Bishop Miege, is a dual threat.
Not that were trained killers on offense, but you have to practice, Weis said. Jakes in the game at quarterback. What do they do when Jakes in the game? Montells in at quarterback. What do they do when Montells in?
The Jayhawks are forced into the same guessing game predicament with the West Virginia trio, and theres plenty of this going around in the Big 12 this season. Seven teams have started more than one quarterback this season, and two of three that have started one Kansas and Kansas State play two during the game.
Only Baylors Bryce Petty has held the starting role and dominated his position this season.
Big 12 quarterback starts
• Baylor: Bryce Petty (9)
• Iowa State: Sam Richardson (8), Grant Rohach (1)
• Kansas: Jake Heaps (9)
• Kansas State: Jake Waters (9)
• Oklahoma: Blake Bell (7), Trevor Knight (2)
• Oklahoma State: J.W. Walsh (5), Clint Chelf (4)
• Texas: Case McCoy (6), David Ash (3)
• TCU: Trevone Boykin (6), Casey Pachall (4)
• Texas Tech: Baker Mayfield (5), Davis Webb (5)
Other story lines
• MORE OFFENSE? This begins a two-game stretch for Kansas facing statistically weaker defensive teams. If the Jayhawks are ever going to reach 20 in a league game, its Saturday and next weekend at Iowa State.
• BOWLING? West Virginia is thinking bowl game. The Mountaineers, 4-6, need to win out to clinch postseason eligibility, and thats a motivation Kansas doesnt have.
• FEEL THE BREEZE: Weather could be a factor. The forecast calls for 25 mph winds. Punters Trevor Pardula of Kansas and West Virginias Nick OToole are among the Big 12s best, but the Mountaineers place kicking has been more consistent. It may come down who has the wind at their back in the fourth quarter.
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.