Big 12 facing lack of household names at quarterback

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DALLAS Among the quarterbacks in the Big 12 last year were the conference’s all-time leading passer in Landry Jones, a Heisman Trophy finalist in Collin Klein, someone currently battling for a starting job in the NFL in Geno Smith, the nation’s leader in total offense in Nick Florence and a gunslinger in Lubbock that turned in his second straight 4,000-yard season.

They’re all gone, leaving behind a group of talented but inexperienced signal-callers to fill the void.

“In these offenses, it seems like the next guy plugged in has done a great job,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “That always goes in cycles, where everyone is growing them up or they’re older. I think it bodes well for everybody if they’re always growing them up at the same time, at least for defensive guys.”

Only two quarterbacks are representing their team at Big 12 Media Days this week Texas’ David Ash and Kansas’ Jake Heaps, who has yet to take snap for the Jayhawks since transferring from BYU. The majority of teams in the conference have yet to name a starter behind center, although Baylor’s Bryce Petty, Oklahoma State’s Clint Chelf, Texas Tech’s Michael Brewer, TCU’s Casey Pachall and Kansas State’s Jake Waters are the odds-on favorites to win their respective jobs.

“It’s an unusual year in that we don’t have a really dominant quarterback, somebody that everybody looks at and says that team can ride on that player's back and have a great year,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

The Big 12 may once again have several of the nation’s most productive quarterbacks but, this year, they will have to make a name for themselves as they go.