Editors Note: This is our second part of our football spring preview, we plan on looking at more positions down the line as we see fit. I know that we're in the most exciting time of the basketball season but we try to be diverse here at FOVS
Coming off a season where Villanova's football team made it to the second round of the FCS playoffs; hopes are high for next season. The only issue is the starter at Quarterback next season. Chris Whitney, a rising junior is the incumbent starter but Antwon Young who struggled at the Beginning of last season when he was the starter is a hell of a player. There is an old saying in football that "if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks." Andy Talley, the head coach of the Wildcats prefers a wide open passing attack where Quarterbacks and receivers put up gaudy numbers. To longtime observers of Villanova football, the last season and a half was somewhat bizarre because the 'Cats were driven by their defense and running game. We used to be driven by the passing game that would heavily compensate for a mediocre defense. Both of Villanova's quarterbacks have their strengths, but both of them have areas that they can improve on as well.
Antwon Young has protopical size for a quarterback (6'4 215 lbs) and packs an arm that can make any throw on the field. When he's in a rhythm, he's as accurate as anybody, but he has a tendency to make poor decisions. Along with his arm, Antwon is an impressive athlete who can run the Zone-Read option play with good success. Another thing Antwon has going for him is the fact that he's very difficult to bring down in the backfield because he moves around well to extend plays and breaks arm tackles with ease. With his impressive skillset comes a price however. Last season he almost cost Villanova a win against an inferior UPenn team by throwing several interceptions on plays that he should have either thrown the ball away or pulled down the ball and ran.
Chris Whitney is not as physically gifted as Young, but simply stated, he's a winner. When Young tore his ACL in the middle of the 2007 season, Whitney came in as a true freshman and led the 'Cats to the Brink of the playoffs. I don't want to say he's as good as possibly the greatest college football player ever, but if I had to compare Whitney's skillset to anyone on earth the best comparison I can think of is Tim Tebow because he's built like a fullback and runs like one too. In the Richmond game last year after converting a long first down on a broken play by reversing direction and running across the field toward the opposite sideline that the play originated, he lowered his shoulder and absolutely trucked a defender instead of sliding or running out of bounds.. things that a normal minded Quarterback would do. When handing the ball off to a running back, Whitney doesn't just stay in the backfield; he runs up field and tries to cutblock the nearest defender to the ballcarrier. From examples like this it can be stated with a good degree of certainty that Chris Whitney is not just a Quarterback, but a football player and a very good one at that matter. The only problem with Whitney is that he isn't nearly the passer that Antwon is and that can be an issue in games that we may have to come from behind in and he doesn't have as much experience in the offense.
Now to my opinion as to who should start..
While both of these Quarterbacks are very capable players and can win, I personally believe that Young Should be the starting Quarterback next year. The reason isn't because I think he's the better player.. I think he should start because if he does, Whitney could use a redshirt this season and have two more years of eligibility starting in the 2010 season. While taking a redshirt season, Whitney can further learn the offense and it gives the coaches more time to develop him with the guarantee that he'll have two more seasons after this one to lead the 'Cats on their quest to that elusive championship. In the meantime, I think Antwon is more than capable to run the offense and win football games. Whichever guy starts next season, we can be confident that the football team is in good hands for the future because both of these guys are very talented signal callers who bring a unique skillset that lends itself to winning football games.