Big 12 trying to sharpen its next batch of QB slingers

Aug 28, 2018
Kyler Murray, right, is assigned the task of replacing Baker Mayfield (6) as Oklahoma quarterback. And if Murray falters, Austin Kendall, left, will get a chance. CREDIT: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

For years, Big 12 football has earned its keep because of a long line of veteran, polished quarterbacks who put up ridiculous numbers.

This season is a whole new ballgame at the most important position on the field.

West Virginia’s Will Grier is the one shining star, a plausible Heisman Trophy candidate and the main reason the media voted the Mountaineers No. 2 to Oklahoma in the preseason poll. And Iowa State’s Kyle Kempt helped direct the Cyclones to an improbable breakout season in 2017.

Outside of those two, the rest of the league either has new quarterbacks or ones who haven’t fully earned their keep. First, a look at the rookie starters:

Other Big 12 teams are still rather unsettled at the position:

Lincoln Riley and Mike Gundy point out that nobody is asking Murray or Cornelius to be Baker Mayfield or Rudolph.

“Kyler, as a transfer, has had time to step back, settle in mentally and become more a student of the game,” Riley said. “He’s grown in a lot of areas and more ready for this moment.”

Gundy said Cornelius, from tiny Bushland (population: 1,092) west of Amarillo, is a rare breed.

“He’s a dinosaur,” Gundy said. “I don’t think you’ll see a lot of QBs in the future of college football sticking around like he did.

“We’re comfortable with him. We also need to be patient. He’s not going to step in and do all that Mason did.”

Kingsbury expects Carter to keep the conga line going in Lubbock even though he was shaky in a win over Texas that got the Raiders to a bowl game last year. Yet Kingsbury also hinted that Carter might have a short leash.

“I’m excited about all three guys,” the coach said. “They have talent, athleticism and just need experience and game reps. With our offensive line back, a stronger running game and better receivers, that will make their job easier.

“With the long-standing tradition we have on offense, we don’t expect that to change, no matter who’s throwing it.”