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Southpaw Jesus or St. Patrick?

We can see some weary discussions about some kind quarterback controversy brewing in the Bruins Nation over who is going to start our bowl game. Honestly I don't think this is all that big of a deal. Bruins are right now in a pretty solid situation. We have two damn good quarterbacks to chose from over who is going to lead us in the short and long term future:

Photos: SPJ (Daily News), St. Patrick (AP)

I think before reaching any conclusions (and we have put up a QB poll on the right side) we have to consider few factors.

First the stats. Here they are:

Bruin Quarterbacks

Att. Comp. Comp. % Yards YPC TD Int. Rating
Ben Olson 79 124 63.71 822 10.41 5 5 124.64
Patrick Cowan 130 240 54.17 1542 11.86 9 7 114.69

Of course while taking notes from these stats we should keep in mind Cowan faced tougher opponents.

From the stats. SPJ is more accurate. Sure his stats slipped a little from his first game. However, I will chalk that up to the inadequate offensive game planning/scheming which shook his confidence starting in the Rice game and then unraveling in the Washington game. But I think the coaches can bring SPJ back in a comfort zone, if they put together an offensive package that fits his physical abilities.

I think SPJ has the stronger arm. Before leaving with his injury SPJ threw some perfect bombs that his receivers dropped. I don?t think I have seen Cowan throw any bombs like Olson except for those two connections he made with Breazell against ASU.

Now in Cowan, I love this kid?s moxy. He has the leadership ability which you can sense in the way he operates at the LOS. He checks off with confidence and swagger. He wasn?t spectacular against Southern Cal by any means, but he made the right decisions at the right time against a stout pro caliber defense.

Cowan has the stats and that performance against Southern Cal to tip the balance in his favor a bit. However, SPJ also showed some speed in his starts. I think SPJ has more straight line speed, and better at roll outs, but Cowan has far better overall feet, quickness, and acceleration. He has the kind of pocket presence that reminds me a little bit of Number 18. In terms of rushing.

I don?t know folks. I love both of these kids. However, I do think what Dorrell said leading up to his announcement of the starter for our last game is operative in this case. Dorrell said (emphasis mine):

"It is possible that Ben could start," Dorrell said. "I want to make sure he's ready. He's feeling close to 100 percent, so physically, he's feeling a lot better. Mentally, I've got to make sure he's ready to go in this kind of game. Pat knows as well that the plans are if Ben is ready to go and is 100 percent, (Olson) will get the opportunity to be the starter. Pat knows if that's not the case, he's going to be the guy, just like the last six weeks. They're both on the same page."
I think if SPJ is healthy, 100 percent, and looking better in practice, he should get the start against Florida State, and show us what he can do. I wanted Cowan to start against Southern Cal because I didn?t think it was worth it to start SPJ who was still getting back to full 100 percent. Given that he should be by all account totally healthy by the bowl game, I think this time SPJ should get the nod.

I am open to the idea of rewarding Cowan with a start against Florida State, and then bring in SPJ in the second quarter, and have them alternate to see who can get us the win, leading to an open competition in spring.

However, I do think given Dorrell specifically took the position that SPJ should be the starter when he is 100 percent, he owes Olson the start. There is a credibility issue here. SPJ is the most hyped, sought after recruit in Dorrell?s career-to-date. I think lot of recruits in Southern California and around the country will keep a close eye on how Dorrell handles this.

In any event, right now I like both of our QBs. I will take any of them over other QBs in the Pac-10. My vote goes for starting SPJ in the Emerald Bowl. I am interested in hearing in what everyone else thinks.