Big 12 loaded with talented quarterbacks in 2012
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 13:08
The league’s teams have started throwing the ball more than ever in the last few years. Five of the Big 12’s 10 teams were ranked in the top 25 in passing attempts per game and five were in the top 10 in passing yards.
There were already plenty of talented signal callers in the Big 12 anyway, but with the addition of West Virginia’s Geno Smith and TCU’s Casey Pachall, the conference has become arguably the nation’s premier league for quarterback play.
"It’s going to be really competitive between all the quarterbacks out here this year," said Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege. "We all want to be the best, and you’re judged by winning and losing. When me and (West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith) get to compete, we know it’s all about who wins the game and not who has the better stats.
"That’s what makes the group of quarterbacks in this league so special is that we all know that it’s about being the guy who can lead their team to a win."
There are five quarterbacks in the Big 12 who are on the preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, which honors the nation’s best quarterback every year. Doege and Smith join Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Kansas State’s Collin Klein and TCU’s Casey Pachall as the five Big 12 representatives on the list.
With that much star power at one position, it’s difficult for teams to prepare to try to stop the high-powered offenses the Big 12 has to offer.
"You have to minimize it," said Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads. "There is all kinds of offensive talent in this league, and they’re going to get their points, especially with the rules and with these offensive schemes."
Of all the talented quarterbacks in the conference, it’s been Smith who has garnered the most attention this offseason. West Virginia is entering its first year in the Big 12 with high expectations to live up to, and so is the Mountaineers’ senior quarterback.
The Miami native was named the conference’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year and was voted by the media as the preseason first team all-Big 12 quarterback.
"I’m honored to be among the names like Landry Jones, Collin Klein and (Baylor quarterback) Nick Florence," Smith said. "I don’t know what to say about it. I haven’t thought about it in any way. I don’t walk around and boast that like it’s some major accomplishment. The only thing I’m worried about is winning games."
Smith earned those honors over Jones, the person who many people considered as the favorite for those titles. Jones threw for 4,463 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior.
He considered leaving Oklahoma to go into the NFL draft, but in the end decided he still had plenty of work left to do before his Sooner career comes to a close.
"I don’t want to be someone who just has a lot of good stats," Jones said. "I want to be looked at as the guy who got to go play in the National Title Game and was able to win one."
With that much talent, there are lots of common things the Big 12 quarterbacks all share.
"Quarterback is a position that requires so many different things," Klein said. "You can’t just have a strong arm. You have to have a multitude of different things that are honed in and worked on constantly that you have to bring to the table in order to be successful."
They all said it takes a lot of hard work to get to the point where they’re at now. But getting to be a successful quarterback in one of the best conferences in the country is a dream come true for a lot of these players.
"It’s something every quarterback thinks about when they’re growing up," Doege said. "You get to be on the video games and see all the people walking around wearing your jersey.
"It’s just something that’s kind of surreal."