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Is Pat Fitzgerald’s Two QB System Really Best For Northwestern?

Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

It seems that Pat Fitzgerald plans on using both of his quarterbacks this season for Northwestern. Like last year, Kain Colter will be the “starter”, but be as much of a runner as a passer. Meanwhile, Trevor Siemian will back Colter up and be the primary passer. This use of his quarterbacks is something Fitzgerald is highly unlikely to change. But is this really the best strategy for the Wildcats?

When a team plays two QBs, it almost always means that neither one is as good as the coaches wish they are. If they had a QB they loved, he would never leave the field. Braxton Miller won’t be coming off the field for any snaps, because he is too valuable and well rounded, so it would be stupid to take such a talent off the field.

One of the rare examples of a two-QB system working well in college was the 2006 Florida Gators, where Chris Leak was the primary passer and Tim Tebow (sorry to include that name) as a dominant rusher out of the shotgun. That team won a national championship because the two QBs complimented each other so well. Leak was an above-average passer, with next to no mobility and Tebow couldn’t throw a football in the forward direction, but could run. Together, they made a super QB.

So, can Colter and Siemian compliment each other to create the ultimate QB pair in 2013?

The obvious problem here is that neither Northwestern quarterback was a very good passer last season. Siemian, the supposed passer of the two, completed under 60% of his passes and averaged just 6 yards per attempt last season. The rushing half of the duo, Colter, did run for 891 yards and an impressive 12 TDs, however. Last year, Northwestern had half of a successful combination.

If they are to become a complete QB tandem, they have to pass more efficiently in 2013 and that means Siemian has to be better.

Northwestern has aspirations to win the Legends Division this season. If they are to have any shot at that, they need better production from the QB position. And if Fitzgerald is going to keep up the two-QB system, Siemian, the passer, has to improve a lot. If not, maybe it is time for Fitzgerald to think about sticking with just Colter as a full time quarterback.

You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter @alexdaleCFB.