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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Toledo’s two-headed quarterback leads the Rockets into Arizona

Charles Trainor Jr.
FIU's Jose Cheeseborough tackles Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens in the first quarter. The Toledo Rockets faced the Florida International Golden Panthers during the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday, December 26, 2010. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT)

Austin Dantin was named Toledo’s starting quarterback for the last two years. Terrance Owens has lost the starting job to Dantin two years in a row.

In those two years, Dantin has thrown for 2,658 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions on 380 passing attempts. As the “backup”, Owens went for 3,266 yards, 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 393 pass attempts.

In short, statistically Owens has outperformed Dantin the last two seasons. Interestingly enough, Rockets head coach Matt Campbell didn’t consider stats when he announced who would be starting against Arizona on Saturday.

He flipped a coin.

Toledo coaches flipped a coin, per the Toledo Blade, that landed on an “A”, meaning Dantin will be the starter for the third straight year.

Based on the way the Rockets’ offense is run, though, if Dantin is No. 1 on the depth chart, Owens is 1A. On paper, Dantin is the starting quarterback, but in reality Owens might even see the field more in the Rockets dual-quarterback system.

“I think they’ll run (Owens) more than Dantin,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said at a Monday press conference. “I don’t think it really matters because they’re both going to play. They don’t really change their offense whether No. 2 (Owens) or No. 4 (Dantin) is in there.

“(Owens) is probably a little more dangerous running it and doing some of those things. Dantin is probably a little more dangerous in the pocket.”

Dantin’s injury history has allowed Owens to get even more opportunities, and Campbell has been impressed with the way he’s capitalized on that playing opportunity.

“Fortunately for Terrence, with Austin getting hurt last year, he got a lot of reps in the last 3-4 weeks of the season and did a really good job,” Campbell said in a phone interview with the Daily Wildcat. “He’s a young man that’s got great ability. He’s got a big arm, he’s a tremendous athlete. He’s gotten better every year he’s been here.”

Even though Campbell exudes confidence in both quarterbacks, and Owens in particular, the dual-quarterback system is often criticized for its lack of continuity between signal callers.

Mike Leach, Washington State’s head coach, had a quarterback competition of his own going on between Jeff Tuel and Conner Halliday throughout spring and fall camp. He waited right up until the Cougars Thursday night game against BYU to announce Tuel would be his starter. Leach, who was hired in November after 10 seasons at Texas Tech, is adamantly against running a multi-quarterback offense.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea, never have,” Leach said in Tuesday’s Pac-12 coaches conference call. “It’s not the QB as much as you’re asking your team to adjust to two different things, two different people … I can’t think of many people who have done a very good job with that. I can’t think — with rare exception — of any teams any good at it.”

Toledo might be one of those rare exceptions. With the combination of Owens and Dantin at the helm the last two seasons, the Rockets had a 17-9 overall record and two bowl game appearances — one win — to show for their duality. In 2011, Toledo went 9-3 and had the eighth-highest scoring offense in the country at 42.2 points per game.

“I think one of the great things about both of our quarterbacks is they’re both great competitors,” said Campbell, who was named Toledo’s head coach in December. “They’re both unselfish young men who know how to lead. They fortunately have won some very big football games for us here.”

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